55 - 64 Year Old Testimonials
Posted 08 August 2008 - 12:33 AM
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Wherever, possible please state your trek number and date that you walked with Kokoda Trekking Ltd (KTL). Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback.
Kokoda Trekking Ltd (KTL)
Gail Thomas (Boss Meri)
Someone asked me last night what my pen name stands for. The answer: in pidgin Meri translates to 'woman' which makes me the 'Boss Woman'. Russell, my business partner is the 'Boss Man'
Posted 13 August 2008 - 03:04 PM
Posted 21 August 2008 - 12:05 PM
I am a 55 year old female, soon turning 56. For me walking the Kokoda Track was the most fun I've had with my boots on. We were very lucky to have an entirely rain-free trek, which I have to assume made a big difference as our guide, John, said we were fast.
I trained for 18 months before my trek (in the beginning I couldn't walk up a hill), and expected difficult challenges every day. I was very pleasantly surprised that most of the trek was no harder than my usual Sunday outings with the local bushwalking club. There are only four ridges that stick in my memory as pretty testing, the worst being Imita Ridge where I thought I would probably die! However I didn't die, and felt great when I finally reached the top and was still breathing!
Our group would easily have completed the trek in seven days, however we pulled up at Goldie River on day seven at midday and had the afternoon off. That was great as we had a chance to do some washing and even catch a Nanny Nap. On the morning of day eight we just had a 30-40 minute climb up to Ower's Corner. Once we caught sight of the rising sun emblem on top of the archway, we three women broke into a sprint, followed by the men. We all ran up the rest of the hill and through the archway, so that proves the Track certainly didn't beat us.
I think the greatest complement I received was when a 29 year old trekker in our group told me I was doing really well, and "not doing it any tougher than anyone else".
I think age is irrelevant. If you are fit then you will really enjoy your trek. If you do not do the required training, then, like many we passed along the way, you may really struggle. The main thing is to walk up lots of hills, the bigger and steeper the better. In Rockhampton we have a steep track up Mt Archer used by trail bike riders, and this proved to be the perfect training ground. It is a two hour climb to the top, and similar to many climbs along the Track.
At the drop of a hat I would do the trek again. The KTL boys were wonderful and I believe they went above and beyond the call of duty. An example of this is that one of the food porters cleaned my gaiters for me - I didn't ask him to, and there is no way he had to do this. He is just a great guy.
So if you fit into the 55-64 age category, get out, get fit, and get trekking. You will love every minute of it (even the hard ones).
Posted 24 August 2008 - 11:59 PM
The trip was just wonderful and I am still feeling a sense of loss from being parted from the team. The PNG guys were so helpful and supportive and so much fun and we all seemed to get on so well together. I was impressed by their sense of community and sharing. Although the walk was a challenge it was also very enjoyable and I don't think Rich and I hit any walls although we were tired at the end of every day. In some ways it would be nice to do it again but then it may be a disappointment.
Photograph: Daniel Taylor, Sue & Richard Hancock
Posted 11 September 2008 - 11:41 PM
Just a note to say we arrived home last night after our "great adventure", not the least of which was the Kokada trek. Thourougly enjoyed every drop of sweat we left behind - and each screaming muscle. We begain missing the beauty the moment the plane was airborne.
We would like to thank Gail for her untiring efforts, the wonderful dinner surprise and of course the extra effort to get Walt and I to Blamey's "Rabitt" field. Billo rounded the Kokoda trip with a visit to the MacArther headquarters and office in Brisbane.
We left PNG in awe of those Australian and PNG gentlemen whos combined sacrifices, provide us with those freedoms we all enjoy today. They were truly the foundation of our "greatest generation".
Please pass on both Walt and my best regards to Chrisley, Johnny, Bobbie, Davidson and Lauren. Those gentlemen are awesome in all regards. We can assure you, whatever their pay, it is not nearly enough. They represented KTL well in their actions and deeds every step of the way and raised to the occasion repeatedly irregardless of how demanding, or naive, either Walt or my requests may have been. Each of them, in either of our opinions, is equalified to serve as guides. In addition, they worked extremely well as a team.
We cannot visualize a better one! One final point; We need to personally say thank you to Chrisley for turning on a dime and joining us as guide for the trek. Absolutely no one could have faulted him for not commencing this second trip over the Kokoda- immediately upon completing his prior trek at Goldie river - But he did, and his historical knowledge of events, locations, dates, both Japanesse and Australian, added immeasureably to our education. I sincerely hope you will pass along both Walt and my best regards and thanks to him.
On a closing note, the hospilitality of the Eroro families in opening their homes to us, the delicious food and everones friendlyness will long be a treasured memory.
Best regards to all and thanks for the memorable experience
Billo Comola & Walter Davis
Posted 30 August 2009 - 05:38 AM
Posted 26 October 2009 - 02:47 AM
I think it stays with you for life. The second days hike was beauty, we started from dump 66, climbed both Imita and Ioribaiwa ridges, to camp at Ofi creek. What a turkey of a day...I cramped for hours & had to stand in the creek for relief. Boy,was I worried about whether I could survive the Maguli range next day, but survive I did. An experience of a lifetime
Posted 28 October 2009 - 05:51 PM
The guides and porters were some of the absolute best I have ever experienced!
Posted 22 November 2009 - 11:22 AM
Thank you very much for the 4 day fast walk, I enjoyed it very much.
Thanks to Trevor for getting us there in 4 days, and a special thanks to my mate Robert for all his assistance, and a good job done by all the other boys.
I would recommend your company to anyone.
Posted 22 September 2010 - 09:34 AM
The Trek was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I am still talking about all the little adventures, laughs and new experiences.
I particular thank Clive who was my personal porter, carrying my 15 Kgm pack. I followed him every step of the way with occasional assistance from Garni, one of the Food Porters. Where Clive stepped, so did I. He never left my safety to chance. He also makes everyone laugh.
Kingsley my Guide, made me feel very confident that he had everything under control. He always had Plan A, B and sometimes C which was necessary in such a rugged area, and when the weather can change quickly. The last night on the Track we stopped for afternoon tea - billy being boiled by Arnold, one of the Food Porters. While we were sitting there, down came the rain so Kingsley said we would sleep there.
It was fantastic to see Tom waiting for me at Ower's Corner. I was quite emotional. I wanted to ensure he could share my experiences so made sure I kept a detailed diary.
After completing the Trek, Tom & I flew up to the Goroka Show where almost 50 'Sing Sing' groups from the Highlands joined and did their performances. The colours of the head-dresses and other part of their traditional wear was a sight to be seen. It was a great finale following the Trek experience.
For anyone who is mildly thinking of walking the Track, I would highly recommend it...and use Kokoda Trekking as the company of choice.
Posted 22 September 2010 - 12:39 PM
Love reading all these testimonials!
Posted 22 September 2010 - 01:34 PM
Garni was a porter on out trek too (personal) and I got to know the back of his feet pretty well by the end of it! He was great and I would request he be on our trek again when I do come back. We also had Arnold as a food porter and he too was great.
Glad you loved it every bit as much as I did.
I wrote about our trek in the trek 610 thread but I think I'll copy it into the relevant testimonial section to put it in the official spot. :-)
Posted 02 August 2011 - 01:48 PM
Well it has been a few years since my Trek and ever since you created this segment of your magnificent website, I've always wanted to provide a Testimonial for you, Russell, your Staff and your Company KTL - Kokoda Trekking Limited, but really wanted to do it justice and thought, I must compose something first and then go away and forget to do it.
So it is time to finally provide that Testimonial and tell people what a wonderful life changing event this is, but perhaps more importantly it was you Gail and the spirit of caring and thoughtfullness that you and Russell have generated within your Company, through your Office Staff, through your Guides and through your Porters, that enabled me to fulfill a life-long ambition to walk the famous Kokoda Track.
An ambition that perhaps started when my Father showed me and promised me his Medals from the Second World War. Dad lived in Moresby before "B4" the War and was a Member of ANGAU throughout WWII and whilst never actually on the Kokoda Track, spent a fair bit of time on the Bulldog Track, further to the West of Kokoda, something I didn't know until after his Funeral in Moresby in 1977, at the Ela Beach RSL, where he had been President and a Life Member, a number of locals approached me to discuss their time with Taubada Fred on the Bulldog. I wish I could have had more time to spend with them to talk about that time in their lives.
My early life always seemed to have been associated with the RSL Club, ANZAC Day and various other activities and this involvement was the catalyst for my Trek.
Since my early telephone call with you in 2004, I felt that you were going to be the best person to be involved with in making this pilgrimage. The planning, the recepton at Jackson's, the lead-up, the preparation and the organisation were superb Gail and I thank you for that.
Right from day 1, the professionalism and guidance from Justus, our Guide was excellent, we could not have asked for more and should I ever walk Kokoda again, I shall be asking for Justus to again Guide and look after us. His understanding and organisation of all the Personal and Food Porters was second to none. Thank you Justus for a wonderful 9 days.
Similarly to my young 20 year old Personal Porter, Maurice from Isurava, again I can't thank you enough for your help and assistance. Maurice anticipated my every need, not that I had many, but he was always there, I did slip once in a river where the water cascaded over rocks to a bit of a drop and his hand was on my shoulder in an instant. My Hydration Pack was slipped off and refilled every time we stopped for morning or afternoon tea. He was a wonderful asset.
Gail, many thanks for a wonderfully organised trip, it was a trip of a lifetime and yes, I am longing to come back again. I can only recommend for people to talk with Gail or her Sons, Nathan and Shane about taking the option of walking with KTL, as I know you will be well looked after and you will have a safe and enjoyable experience.
The other aspect of what Gail offers or has done is what Gail does for the people or the Oro Province, Gail & Russell of KTL have provided vehicles, mowers, accommodation and a myriad of assistance for these people, not withstanding the opportunities of getting work also.
Good luck for the future and I earnestly look forward to returning.
Posted 02 August 2011 - 06:03 PM
I second your testimonial-it is certainly the experience of a lifetime and KTL were fantastic.
I just wanted to ask about your fathers time on the Bulldog track. My grandfather (Private George William Farrar)was with the 22nd employment company, who were stationed there, building the Wau-Bulldog road. I have an article that appeared in the MUFTI magazine that the RSL put out but that is all I know of what happened up there. Grandpa spoke of the war for the first time not long before he passed in 2009 but outside of that I have very little information.
Do you know any more about this part of the WW2 campaign?
Many thanks, Sally.
Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:19 AM
Thank you for your comments on my Testimonial.
I did answer directly to you and gave you my work email, so we could continue with any discussions on the Bulldog Track.
I recently purchased a good book on the Bulldog and the Wau - Bulldog Road and how and when it was built. There is also another book on the Battle of Wau on ebay at the moment, which might be worth looking at.
I'll do some more research and let you know.
Gail has my contact details if you want to obtain those through her email.
My Daughter also is in Melbourne and has started training for our Trek next April.
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