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papua new guinea 2007:

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Papua New Guinea 2007
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2007 was a pretty significant year. My job put me under enormous pressure, there were projects which kept me away from home for almost the entire year. One particularly stressful project was due to finish in the first week of December and I took the opportunity to resign from my job at the same time and was looking confidently into a less stressful future. To give this one a good start my friend and then workmate Otty and me, we decided to head out somewhere where mobile phones dont work, away from computers and traffic and right into the bush. 

When living in Australia you hear lots about the Kokoda Track, a 90km track across the main island of Papua New Guinea. This track earned its reputation of being 'hellish' during WW2 when the Japanese Army used it to advance South towards the Papua New Guinea (=PNG) capital Port Moresby against the resistance of a far outnumbered and unexperienced group of Australians. The progress of the Japanese was slowed down to a point where, within sight of Port Moresby, Australian reinforcements started pushing the Japanese back. Back along the same track towards it's northern end - the little township of Kokoda. Many lives were lost on both sides during the continuous battles in dense bushland, terribly steep terrain, tropical wet climate and surrounded by Malaria bearing mosquitoes.

In the meantime the battle has ended but the track is still the same. A narrow footpath over the Owen Stanley Range, through dense rainforest only interrupted by a very few small mountain villages.

It was the perfect plan and so we booked our flights to spend three weeks in PNG and walk the Kokoda Track. 

And then, just before we were ready to go - PNG was hit by cyclone Guba. The worst hit area was the Oro Province which is the Northern end of the Kokoda Track - the area where we would arrive after walking many days and where we thought we could relax and enjoy tropical PNG. The cyclone destroyed all bridges and the town of Kokoda was cut off and would be cut off for many months.

So this was the situation: two mates would fly to PNG, go on a track by themselves where everyone else said it's only possible to go with a well organised group, walk 90km into a disaster area with all infrastructure destroyed and a great uncertainty of how to get any further from there with the possibility that the only way out would be walking back on the Kokoda Track - just that time without supplies. 

So we went anyway - and it was a great adventure. These are our pictures...


The first few steps into the Kokoda Track

Camping along the way

PNG rainforest

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(c) 2011    marco hoffmann