Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 8

Day 8:As we were near enough to back on schedule by now Reg didn't set revaly this morning & we go up & packed up as we pleased although we were all ready to go by 7.30 – 8am.  

We had one more 3/4 day hike tomorrow; & a full day today to get us up to mount Tambu.  There was no chance of getting any closer to where Blue was wounded as we’d been way to slow.  I was a tad frustrated, but realized that without Kez & Dad (they were moving slower than the rest of us being ill) the trip wouldn't have gotten off the ground & that we’d done the best we could do as a group.

Farewelled the village & children & made our way further up the river til around 2.30pm crisscrossing as we went.  Boots & feet water logged the whole day, but OK.  At least they were cool!  

Magnificent scenery & most crossings much easier than the previous day, although we now had larger rocks to climb up & over along the side of the river in-between crossings.  K was over the rocks by 10am.  

 Dad had recovered from his gurgly guts now & blazed on ahead with John & Paul & was 25 – 30 minutes ahead of us for most of the day at each stop!!  At one point, Paul who was leading they way had pointed out to Dave an alternate 

track to Mt Tambu, Dave said lets go & took off up it!

Paul did not understand Dave’s sense of humor & struggled greatly to communicate with him that this was not a good idea.  John was very unhappy about the unscheduled & un-communicated change of plan & took Dad back down the track to where we’d stopped for a brief smoko.  Paul felt he had to go on with Dave (being the owner of the company) & had reluctantly done so.  Reg decided we should now stop here for lunch while Kerry went to retrieve Dave.

While the boys made a fire & put the pot on to boil, PB decided it would be a good opportunity to wash his shirt out in the river.  I decided to join him & having a proper sports crop on whipped of my shirt & got washing!!!  I poured wilderness wash all over me & pretty much had a bath while doing my laundry in the river including shampooing my hair.  No point putting a dirty cap back on so that got a wash which Dad decided was a good idea & I gave his the once over too.  Reg followed suit & washed out his shirt as well.

The rain started when we left the river not long after lunch to climb towards the side of Mount Tambu.  We stopped briefly under a metal structure where Reg had planned on pointing out where Blue had been wounded but we couldn't see a thing due to the rain & cloud cover & considered our options. 

We had planned on climbing Tambu that afternoon while Dad, K & the majority of the porters went ahead to Komiatum where we’d planned to stay the night.  Considering the conditions & the fact that we wouldn't be able to see anything from the top Kerry suggested we stop an hour ahead at new Camp (Daniel’s) for the night & attempt Tambu in the morning.  Plus it would be another 3 – 4 hours to Komiatum for the slowest team members on a steep downhill which would be very slippery & difficult going in this heavy rain.  And the reason we’d come on the trip was about to climax with being so close to where Blue was wounded, that we should give ourselves the best possible opportunity to see the most we could, with Kerry confident the weather would be clear in the morning.

 We waited 15 minutes hoping the rain would stop – Ha Ha – it eased a bit & we took off, but then it just got heavier & heavier!  Made it to Daniels soaked through & I was starting to get cold like some of the boys – they laughed at me shivering like them!!!  

The last porter to arrive was the one with the big blue tarp, Dad, Zac & I helped hold the tarp up over the boys while they went about laying banana leaves under, then setting the tents up atop the banana leaves & digging trenches around each tent to help keep us dry.  It must have been a funny sight, especially as we finished one tent & shuffled as one to the next location with lots of laughter!!!

By the time the tents were set up I was very cold & shivering & both hands had lost blood to all fingers.  I could barely manage to get my wet clothes off & dry thermals on in order to get into my sleeping bag & warm up!!!!  I’d left my boots socks & gaiters out in the rain not caring if they got any wetter & had certainly found respect for the locals who live like this every day (but without the socks & boots – they mainly go barefoot!).  I also got a feel for Blue who’d written in his diary during the war “no hot tea & slept in the rain”.

After I’d warmed up a little Reg came around with dinner instructions.  I clambered out of my sleeping bag & out of my tent to rescue my boots & socks which had mysteriously disappeared, planning to sit them undercover on the other side of my fly not housing my pack. PB had rescued them & asked the boys if they could attempt to dry them out overnight by their fire.  PB had also given his clothes to Daniel’s family, giving his kids life savers in exchange for them drying them out!  We went & asked if they could dry mine & Dad’s too – K was ensconced in her tent by now & was not planning on coming out for anyone or anything!

We wandered up to Daniel’s brothers hut (100 metres away) where Reg & Dave were sleeping, to the hot water with my bag of milo.  I’d never been so happy to be slurping down a hot cup of milo, without milk, EVER!!!!  It had been a precarious trip to the hot water in thongs & the rain was still lightly falling.  After a second cup of deliciously hot milo, I decided to brave a trip back in thongs to K’s tent with a cup of hot water for her to make herself soup or tea, as she really had chosen to stay in her tent & even forgo the hot evening meal.  I knew a hot drink would lift her spirits & warm her up, even if I did have to get wetter & muddier myself.

Dinner arrived (Daniel's wife had agreed to do the duties) & was eaten while the rain got heavier & heavier.  Again more mixed slop in a pot, Reg I think only had Teriyaki beef meals!  The rain continued to fall & eventually I had to pee – couldn't wait any longer.  I found a tree close by which did little to keep the rain off me close to the hut & then slowly squelched my way back through the mud to my tent.  Quite damp I wiped the mud off my feet with the only dry item of clothing I had left (other than knickers) not being worn & snuggled down into my sleeping bag pulling my hood up around my wet head & went pretty much straight to sleep praying my tent wouldn't leak!  

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