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Preparing For Kokoda - The Average Joe


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#46 Pedler

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Posted 10 August 2009 - 05:35 PM

I have just returned from trekking Kokoda.  What a fantastic experience.  Having turned 60 this year I was apprehensive as to how fit I needed to be.  Well I took Dan Towler's advice and found it to be very informative and helpful and felt I coped fine.  I can not stress enough to anyone contemplating this trek to follow what Dan has to say and you should have no problems.  Thanks Dan. Through being fit enough it was good to actually enjoy every day rather than just to survive it.  Kokoda Trekking was a very organised company which was a joy to deal with.  I also recommend them to anyone.  You can see  that Gail is really trying to help the PNG people.  Well, the porters - what can I say about them - we just loved everyone of them and if I ever went back again I would love to have all the same porters - I am sure though from what I have read they are all wonderful.  The fuzzy wuzzy angel is still very much alive.  Terry.

#47 Eve

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 04:24 PM

Just a note on Visas.....you can't get one in Victoria. Frustrating, but true. I was told I'd need to send my passport to Brisbane, or Canberra, but I wasn't prepared to do that. The turn around for people in my group who did was three days - very fast! It cost them $35 in Australia. My visa cost me 100 kina ($50) and 90 minutes waiting in line at the airport in PNG.

I exchanged my money at Brisbane airport, at the top of the stairs, before you go down into the customs area - and actually got a better rate than other places I noted. The exchange rate was better here than at the airport in PNG.

The kids carrying machetes to school were amusing...laptops here, machetes there...

What raised our eyebrows was the two policemen with bullet proof vests and machine guns who closed off the main street in Popondetta while guards cleared the bank vaults.  blink.gif

#48 Kokoda

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Posted 17 September 2009 - 10:38 AM

Couple of things to remember before booking with a Tour Operator.

1. Check for personal liability insurance. A lot of operators do not think this is important.
2. Check that the trek will go ahead no matter how many trekkers are booked. It would be a shame to have to replan your holidays, because the trek didn't attract 12 trekkers in the group forcing the operator to cancel the trek.
3 Check that your operator provides satellite phones along with radios, in the case of medivac.
4. Check that your operator has 24 hour monitoring of treks.
5. Check what you will be eating along the trail. Food supplied by the different operators varies a lot.
6. Check the quality of your accommodation in Kokoda. Orohaven.com is the best campsite in Kokoda and has the only flushing toilet on the trail. smile.gif
7. Read the testimonials on the Tour Operators sites.
8. Last of all try and support the operators that put the most back into the Kokoda community.

#49 dan

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Posted 21 September 2009 - 08:23 PM

Gday Efrat & Pedler.

I'm delighted that my prep' notes provided some assistance. Having originally written these notes for my eldest brother, who was to join me on my 2nd trek of the Kokoda Track, they are a very candid account of what needs to be done to prepare well.

I remain in debt to Gail and her KTL crew for the wonderful job they did and continue to do. You cannot find a better company than KTL to trek the track with. I continually get updates and emails from trekkers who have experienced the highs and lows of The Track thanks to KTL - and never a bad word is written. All credit to Gail.

For a life-changing experience, it's quite a simple formula: KTL + Prepare well.  It doesn't make it "easy" but it makes the experience one that can be appreciated in context of our wonderful diggers. They and the Fuzzy Wuzzy angels are the true hero's.  We must never forget this.

On a personal note:
Gail - I again wish to forward my deepest sympathy to Rusty and his family for the recent loss of their brother and legend. I spoke with the Barai family the evening prior to the funeral - having had their mobile phone tower just activated in Kokoda for the very first time. Sylvester was at Rusty's family block at the time of my call. I felt their deep sense of loss of a pillar in the KTL & Kokoda communities. Please pass on my best regards to the family and that all of we "two-time trekkers" who have stayed at Rusty's block pass on our sympathies.

Best regards to you Gail & Rusty
Dan

Note from Gail: Hi Dan, thanks for your kind thoughts as always.  Together with the Kokoda Track Foundation we have now in place the:

Kingsley Eroro Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Scholarship

set up to honour the memory of someone truly missed in Kokoda.


Message from Dr. Genevieve Nelson of the Kokoda Track Authority:

In memory of Kingsley’s life, and in paying respects to the ‘Eroro’ family, the Kokoda Track Foundation is honoured to announce the ‘Kingsley Eroro Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel Scholarship’. This scholarship will be awarded to Orokaivan students from the Kokoda district region who are embarking on secondary studies in 2010. The scholarship will be awarded to students from Grade 9,  who have demonstrated exceptional ability and promise for the future and who are committed to returning to Kokoda after their education to make a living and contribute to their community.

The Foundation will announce recipients of the Kingsley Eroro Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel scholarship in February 2010 when it conducts its annual audit of the 23 schools supported by the Foundation.

Friends and colleagues of the Eroro family can make donations to the Kingsley Eroro Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel scholarship through the Foundation and all donations will be directed towards the education of Orokaiva children from the Kokoda region. Please contact Genevieve Nelson if you are interested in making a donation or would like any more information about the scholarship or the work of the Foundation in PNG.

Alternatively, please click here to make an online donation and write "Kingsley Eroro" in the "Purpose" box.

#50 Boss Meri

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 06:30 PM

Recently we had someone from Sweden walk with us by the name of BO (prenounced BOO) who has trekked heaps of places around the world including being a member of the Swedish rescue team on Mt Everest.  Today I received an email from him and thought I would post it here - hope you do not mind Dan, as its his thoughts based on his experience:

Bo Sunnefeldt wrote:

Hi Gail!   I really would like to thank you again for the VERY PROFESSIONAL arrangements on my Kokoda Trail trekking! And I am speaking from 45 years experience of demanding outdoor activities around the World. I will for sure recommend your company in my coming article!

Some comments:
  • I think personally that the trek is not just a physical, but also a cultural and MENTAL experience. As I told you already in Port Moresby , a 8-day trip should be 8 days. It is not just a matter of getting out of the rain forest as soon as possible! That gives time to enjoy the trek FAR better and it is also with respect for the porters: they have a pretty hard time.
About porters: I do actually think that they should be obligatory:
  • In case of an even minor accident all human resources will be needed
  • Unless the party is homogeneous and fit, a backpack on just some, will result in a split of the group, which is not too good in case of an accident
  • Gives the possibility to share thoughts and ideas between locals (porters) and clients it is a cultural dimension in this trek!
  • Will prevent not fit clients to struggle with a backpack they really not should carry. According to my knowledge - and experience even from this trek! - I suppose that some clients collapse or even die because of exhaustion.
  • Gives employment for the locals.
At last but for sure not least: the guides and porters were some of the absolute best I have ever experienced!  

All the best,

Bo

P.S. Before I left for the trek I asked you about a tip. You then said K50.00 per client would be fine. I gave them K100.00 to split and my porter got another K150.00.

Attached Images

  • Bo_2.jpg


#51 travelbug

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 01:25 PM

I read recently about taking Disposable toilet seat covers as well because the toilets are below average. I saw that one Kokoda walker paid $15 for 10. I found them at www.bluelinehygienics.com and paid $2.95 for 10.

#52 Mrs Moo

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:07 PM

Good luck.  All you need to do now is find a toilet seat to put it on!

#53 Eve

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:10 PM

I think the idea of disposable covers is kinda funny...and means one more thing to carry, plus it's rubbish to take out with you. Squat and hover. It's free.  biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

#54 Eve

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Posted 06 November 2009 - 02:15 PM

QUOTE(Mrs Moo @ 6 Nov 2009, 03:07 PM) View Post
Good luck.  All you need to do now is find a toilet seat to put it on!

LOL There are a couple.

The thing that was the 'issue' for me was the tarp doors. You'd get comfy (sitting or squatting) and the wind would pick up and blow the damn things open. Sometimes it paid to go in pairs.  tongue.gif

#55 peterh13

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 12:03 PM

I agree with both Mrs Moo and Eve.
They are not your average bathrooms.
Prepare for the worst and dare the good Lord to dissapoint you.

Non semper erit aestas.

#56 Fluppy

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 01:42 PM

Toilets:  

The first photo is of the 2nd set of toilets I came across.  Doors fell off.  Oh well, at least these ones had doors...
The toilet in here was much like a camping one - a green bucket with a proper toilet seat (but of course, don't actually sit on the seat unless you have wipes laid down first):


2ndsetoftoiletsDoorsfelloffOhwellYo.jpg

This next one was a toilet hut at Brigade Hill (I think):

ToilethutatBrigadeHill.jpg

And these were pretty much what most of the toilets were that we got at the places we stopped to camp:

Yesthisisoneofthetoilets.jpg



#57 Lorna

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 04:12 PM

I had to have a chuckle on the track. For those of you who've trekked Kokoda recently... remember the hole in the ground covers? A piece of wood roughly shaped the same as said hole in the ground with a wooden pole coming out of the middle of it? The first time I spotted one of these I thought " how nice, the local villagers are giving us somehwere out of the dirt to put down our toilet roll".  On mentioning this to one of the other ladies in our group she said she thought it was an aid to help us to our feet again. Then my porter informs me it's actually a cover to put over the hole when you've finished... kinda like putting the seat lid down. It cracked me up.

Disposable loo seats... just a waste of space and something extra to carry. Really - the loos were no big deal.

#58 Brian

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 05:49 PM

Hi

One thing for sure I bet none of us forgets those Kokoda toilets and I bet will be a talking point around many a camp fire when we go hiking and camping with friends here in Aus.

I bet if they and the showers were all Five Star they would not get a mention or for that matter even photographed.

All part of our Kokoda experience and memories.

Do not think anyone was hanging around at all, in and out in a flash and I bet some world records were made doing so.

Brian

#59 crowie

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 06:39 PM

Hi

just adding my thoughts on the Toilet pits....or "Long Drops"....Its par for the course and quite necessary...it would be quite dangerous to quickly duck off into the bush and dig a hole to do your business....my only concern with the pit toilets is that they need to be located away from water courses. I have photo of a pit toilet at Eora Village with a pit toilet located about 6 feet from the water.....This will eventually pollute the water source......In the 1980's I was posted to South East Asia with the Australian Army and it was common to have similar toilets in cafes and bars....with two porcelain feet pedastels for squatting.....Its all a part of the experience

#60 Fluppy

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:25 PM

QUOTE(Lorna @ 8 Nov 2009, 04:12 PM) View Post
For those of you who've trekked Kokoda recently... remember the hole in the ground covers? A piece of wood roughly shaped the same as said hole in the ground with a wooden pole coming out of the middle of it?
... Then my porter informs me it's actually a cover to put over the hole when you've finished... kinda like putting the seat lid down. It cracked me up.


Ohhhh!!  Is that was these were for??!!!!!  I thought they were some sort of decoration thing!!!   blink.gif    laugh.gif




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