Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 4

DAY 4Revaly (or revelry as I was calling it until Dad set me straight) was at 5am.  Up, packed up gear & into our rations for breaky before loading our packs onto Rick’s ute to be transported to the starting point of the track around 2kms away.  We bid the villagers thank you & farewell & started walking with many of the children joining us until the ute came back for us.  10 minutes later were there.  

The beginning of the trek.  Finally we were able to meet our porters:Kerry – lead guidePaul – 2nd lead & K’s assistantRay – deafJohn – Cat’s porter & Dad’s assistantJerry/ShaddowSowiPaul 2 – black trilby HatMartinNathan – Gary’s porterRoger – Dad’s porterGary

Reg instructed us to take of our boots as we needed to cross our first river which was knee deep & no point getting our feet wet this early on.  On with the thongs & down a hill to the crossing & then a supposed 20 minute walk til the next river crossing, in our thongs.  I made it maybe 5 minutes before my thong middle piece pulled through & ended up walking in bare feet.  Reg decided I should put my boots back on.  K had already decided this having the same difficulty as I further back & had already stopped to lace up.  

The others all had reef walkers or enclosed type sandals which is fine for walking through the muddy grass land.  Thongs just did not cut it.  Of course I should mention our fearless leaders footwear at this point.  Dave had forgotten his sandals.  When Reg was able to borrow some from & when confronted with two color choices of course he chose these.

Lucky Dave is a good sport as those croc’s were the butt of many a joke on the trail! Up & down a few hills, across some muddy boggie bits, boots off, across the river, boots back on, up a steep incline & there was THE PLANE!!!!  A B17 flying fortress well intact & very cool to see. 


Hung about there for ½ hour or so, some of the boys went inside the plane to have a look.  I was happy to stay on the outside.  Munched down my muesli bar for smoko although it was only 9.30am. 

Next was a very steep continuous climb for around 3 hours on grassy slopes til lunch time.  I was walking last out of our group intentionally so as to let Dad & or K set their own pace; I was itching to get going, but as I’d dragged the others along on the trip, I thought the least I could do was walk with them & it was only the first day!  PB & K had gone on ahead at this stage with Dave & most of the porters.  

Reg, Kerry, G, Dad & I were walking together with Dad in the lead.  About 10 minutes from the bomber, Dad started to feel sick & went down on one knee & thought he was going to vomit.  We convinced Dad to take off his day pack to cool down.  He went a very odd shade of grey, was panting & sweating & actually lay down on the grass.  For the first time I wondered what the F#ck I was thinking bringing him along & my second thought was MUM IS GOING TO KILL ME.  After 5 minutes or so his color returned & he started to feel better. Reg sent me on ahead & said that Kerry would carry Dad’s day pack & that Dad had to walk with Reg & Kerry for the rest of the day & drink small amounts often.  Reg said Dad’s reaction was typical behavior for people starting to dehydrate & struggling to acclimatize.  

I should note that Reg worked as a paramedic in Australia (was also in the army reserve) until he retired & still works as a paramedic on trips over to PNG with mining companies.

I went on as instructed with mixed feelings.  I understood that Reg probably wanted to have Dad separated from the rest of us so he could monitor him without Dad feeling under any pressure to walk faster.  I guess my plan to let him set his own pace kind of backfired on me.  

K had stopped to wait for us as PB as going too fast for her as well; we went on together with K in the lead.  Lots of breaks for K who was still suffering from her cold, plus the heat & the hills.  I kept looking back to see if I could see Dad, Reg & Kerry – Kerry was conveniently wearing a red shirt so I was able to spot them between hills.  I found it not to bad & would have been happy to move a bit faster to get into the shade of the jungle sooner.  There was an interesting landslip we could see on the way. Of course we called it "big foot".

We caught up with some porters who’d stopped for a rest on the last hill; they lead on ahead along the side of the jungle til we found the way in.  The porters had taken off on us, or so we thought.  K & I wandered down a steep slope with no sign of a trail & big bamboo!

Then we spotted Paul 1 waiting for us!  Around 10 more minutes of hiking through the much cooler jungle & PB calls down to us “do ya's want a drink?” 2 minutes til the lunch stop!  Yay!!! 

Down with the day packs & PB convinces us to walk 5 more minutes to the creek for a wash.  I was hungry & wanted to eat, but I did need to pee & Kez was keen for a wash, so off we went, Kez armed with a face washer!!  It was nice & cool & refreshing & we refilled out camel packs while we were at it.

30 minutes later Dad & a porter arrived followed by Reg who was 10 minutes behind Dad & was pretty spent having carried his own full pack.  K & I were an hour behind PB.  2 Minute noodles & a tin of Tuna for lunch.  Now Dad tells me he doesn't eat tuna!!!  I made Dad his noodles, which he struggled to eat.  Luckily I’d packed a spare mini snickers for him in my rations for each day! He was able to manage the snickers with a cuppa.

A quick pow wow & a change of plan with Reg determining there was no way we’d make it to our planned destination of Skindewai.  Instead we continued on for another hour or 2 to Banis Donkey & called it a day (arrived around 3.30pm). 

Set up our tents & beds & chilled out til dinner @ 6pm.  We all managed to come up with a chicken tikka masarla trail meal to combine which was served with rice our porters shared with us.  A hot milo with a nip of Reg’s OP followed & then bed by 7.30pm.

First night on the thermarest.  After an hour, I realized why I felt like I was laying on the ground.  I’d forgotten to close the nozzle & had squashed out all the air by laying on it.  Oops!  Out of the sleeping bag & blowing it up like a lilo sorted the problem.  Back into the sleeping bag.  Half an hour or so later I needed to pee.  After much deliberation, I donned my headlamp & braved the dark.  In thongs.  Back to bed & tossed & turned all night as I kept rolling off the thermarest every time I moved as my tent wasn't on flat ground!  Everyone else pretty much had the same experience.  While I didn't sleep very well, I really enjoyed the first day of hiking & was keen to see what day 2 of hiking would bring.

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