Friday, July 5, 2013

Black Cat Trek Post Script

It’s been almost 3 weeks since we returned as I write (but 8  til this will post) & I’m still processing the trip; remembering things I didn't consciously note at the time & remembering things I’d forgotten.  

It's taken me this long to finish typing up my journal.  

I can tell you I was frustrated at times at going slower than I'd have liked (while trekking) & that this was born out of my new found fitness & strength, giving me the freedom to tackle the physical challenge with relative ease!!!  And probably a bit of adrenalin!  Who’d have thought I would enjoy that sort of rush!! 
 I do know that all the training I did paid off & I truly did not find the trekking difficult.  I would have happily gotten up the morning after we arrived in Salamaua & done it all over again!  K told Plumbing Boy it was the hardest thing she has ever done in her life.  PB tells me it was physically hard & I have heard him recount this to many people even though he appeared to do it all fairly easily himself.  My trainer told me we need to find a bigger mountain/challenge for me to climb.  I'm usually (historically) the weakest link in physical challenges struggling to make it to days end, so it was a pleasure to not be in that position for a change.

I do know that it was important that we all achieved the end goal no matter how slowly & that my impetuous nature still needs work in the patience area!
 I do know the enormity of what we did has not yet sunk in.  I suspect that that may not come for a number of years, until I have more perspective or faced more adversity. 

I don’t see the physical nature of what we did as that huge; I do see the act of visiting Tom’s grave on behalf of our extended family the pinnacle of our achievement. Maybe I’m not done with PNG & would like to go back & walk the Black Cat Track proper, & get closer to where Blue was wounded, if that’s ever an option: although our trip is advertised as the Black Cat Track, you actually walk more of the Busival track than the Black Cat proper.  I have also considered giving Kokoda a go.  My niece has expressed interested in doing the Black Cat after seeing the pictures, so who know's, maybe I'll go back with her in a couple of years. Financially I have other things to focus on, like a house, but I think it is important to do things of a physical nature while you are able.  I guess it is now that the pride in what my Dad has achieved wells up in me.  At the age of 67, while finding it challenging, he was able to achieve the end goal!  So that kind of makes my earlier statement of doing physical stuff while you are able a little moot, but I guess you know what I mean.
 None of us know what will happen to us in terms of injury &/or illness & Dad was lucky he was in good enough health to give it a crack. 

I guess trekking is not for everyone, as some of you have already pointed out to me, & that what I was doing was kinda your worst nightmare (LOL).  I'm kinda feeling a little smug with myself for having set such a lofty goal & then achieving it though. I've already been bought back to earth firstly in Port Douglas – did a 45 minute ab class with my cousin.  There was a 15 year old boy, myself & 4 other participants all in the 45 – 55 year old bracket.  They smashed me.  I was the weakest link.  I have a lot of work to do yet!!! Then I came home & got straight back into my training – didn't want to lose momentum, scheduling my regular 2 x PT sessions for my first week back & running weekday mornings.  I was sorer after 30 minutes with said PT than the whole trek!!! Help!!!

On the 3rd morning back running, after lacing up my shoes I flopped back onto the couch where I sit to tie my laces (usually with my cat complaining about me disrupting her or failing to get her breakfast), thinking what’s the point?  I have no reason to be up at 4.45am to run around a big suburban block in the dark.  What am I – crazy??? My trainer was right; I needed to choose a new challenge & fast.
 I have signed up for a 10km run mid-July, but I have to admit I’m feeling a little melancholy about going solo.  While I trained for the trek on my own, there was something really special about doing it with a group of people.  Those memories will be shared forever.
 While I’ll be running that 10km with thousands of other runners on the streets of Melbourne town, I have no-one to run with & no-one to share those memories.  I guess that means I need to get out of my comfort zone & find me some running buddies at some point.
  I've since received G's photo's in the post & will put a few below better showing some of the terrain we clambered up & over also received a lovely phone call for him to say G'day & thanking us for the photo's we'd sent him.  He really is a good bloke.

PB & I are planning on doing some more trekking, probably around Tasmania to start with.  K said her trekking days are over, but she’ll consider some half day hikes, next spring/summer!!!

Thus ends our amazing adventure.  

Unless I think of something else I forgot!!!

 the last 10th? of the hills we climbed the first day between the plane & the jungle

A log to clamber over  

 & more..

 a rope where it got steep.......

 some logs we went under

 More land slips

 over & through streams over the side of the mountains

 I'm about to abseil (sort of) down the only rock face where I actually had to use the rope

usually a big drop off on one side

 & some very rocky faces of the mountain to navigate

We found this sign towards the end of the trek - it should have been at the beginning!!! 


Memphis Steve said...

I'm not surprised that you weren't anywhere close to the weakest link, because your 5K times are strong. But I know exactly what you mean about it being hard to go back to running alone. In high school I trained with an entire team. When something happened that made it hard for me to run with that team anymore I tried to run alone. I just couldn't do it. It felt so empty. Now I'm older and have no one else to train with and it's just too easy to skip a workout. One of the things I like about having a regular gym is that if I go at the same time every workout I will eventually get to know some of the people and then it becomes less like a loner workout and more like a team thing, even though we're not necessarily doing the same exercises or even spotting each other. Does that make sense? Anyway, my only point is, I know what you mean about it being hard to go back to running alone. And also I am not surprised that you were so strong on that trek. Your race times are better than mine. You've gotten pretty strong, Cat.

AlleyCat said...

Awww thanks Steve, you almost bought a tear to my eye with your compliments.

I do like being in a (not too busy) gym myself too - seeing other people working out motivates me & my competitive streak comes out.

I'm sure you'll be whippin' my race times sometime soon - I'm hopeful your recovery isn't that far away!!!!