Much like last year, we were all dressed and ready to go well before our plane was. I was in the first group to depart and we were at the airport playing the waiting game by 7.30am. After weighing in both our bags (no official weight recorded) and ourselves (67.8kg this year, down from 79.8 last year) it was time to sit around and wait and wait for our plane to be ready to depart.
PNG seems to work on a schedule all of its own, one where time is completely irrelevant. We were checked in before the pilots even arrived at the airport. Oh and speaking of pilots, I am sure some of the students we were travelling with were older than our pilots!
Despite my misgivings about the size and perhaps the quality of the plane (we watched the seats be fitted to the plane before we could board!) the flight was beautiful. It seemed much longer than the anticipated 30 minute flight, that may because we circled over the bay before heading over the mountains, either way, the scenery was amazing and the flight surprisingly comfortable.
It was great to land at Kokoda airfield and be greeted by dozens of locals cheering and waving. There is a fair chance they were thinking we were insane and they probably weren’t too far from the truth! We wandered up from the airfield through the village to the museum. I had to smile when everyone took a wide berth around the water features on this small section of the track. Little did they realise that having dry feet would be a luxury that would not last.
We stopped by the Kokoda Museum and met some of the porters that would be joining us. We also met some of their families who were there to bid us a safe journey.
Before long the second and third flights were landing nearby at Kokoda Airfield so it was time for us to head off and begin the trek.
We had a quick break at Hoi, an hour or two along the track and then again at Deniki for some lunch. All was well in the world of trekking. I was having a great time, enjoying the company of the small group I was walking with. The second group of trekkers caught up with us at Deniki and our small group was not so small but just as enjoyable to walk with. What wasn’t so enjoyable was the rain that had steadily increased all afternoon. The trekking guide declared it the wettest day on the track she has ever experienced!
Not long after leaving Deniki, I rolled my ankle. It hurt like hell and I limped along, determined not to give in. Eventually, when I could feel the swelling make my shoe too tight and uncomfortable, I had to stop and have my ankle strapped before I could walk any further. The fun pretty much went out of my day when the pain kicked in but I was still surrounded by fun and supportive people so their chatter and excitement was a great distraction from the ouch.
Despite being injured, we made decent time and arrived in at Isurava before nightfall. To be honest, I didn’t recognise it in the daylight! As per medics orders, I couldn’t do much around camp other than sit. It was cold and wet so I really wasn’t that displeased to sit in the hut in the dry, huddled in a sleeping bag to keep warm.