Once I finished Easter Island I immediately started the Conqueror’s Kokoda Trail, in Papua New Guinea.
And yes that means I’m putting my daily steps toward a bunch of the shorter challenges while I pedal my way (virtually) along the Great Barrier Reef. (Attempting to see the Great Barrier Reef via a bike is not recommended any other way except virtually.)
Anyway, here along the Kokoda Trail, four postcards have arrived so far. Here’s two:
The email portion (of which I’ll share only a tiny portion) of this first postcard explains:
Located north of Australia’s mainland is the third largest island country in the world, Papua New Guinea. Its capital, Port Moresby, is on the island’s south-eastern coast. With a population of eight million people, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has 851 known languages making it the most linguistically diverse country in the world. The majority of its people live in remote villages with only 13% of its population located in urban areas. Administered by Australia from the early 1900s, Papua New Guinea gained its independence in 1975.
The postcard tells a lot more about the history of the island before closing with:
From here I will be heading up the mountain for nearly 50% of the trip and descending for the remainder of the trek to Owers’ Corner. Steep elevation changes, numerous river crossings, deep vegetation and plenty of bogginess awaits.
Without further ado, I headed into the jungle.
The next postcard after that one (not shared) is covered in vines, and the email portion is written in the first person, describing the hike, the weather and climate, clearings and villages en route.
The third postcard shifts gears, as we reach sites more directly touched by PNG wartime history:
Taking a small portion of the email as a sample:
A short distance after Isurava was a rest house where the Aussie troops took a defensive position. Slightly to the south of the house was a sizable flat-topped rock, just big enough to lay down a soldier with his feet protruding, that is now referred to as Con’s Rock or Surgeon’s Rock. Under minimal light, it is on this rock that Medical Orderly Con Vapp performed an emergency amputation on an Aussie soldier. The wounded soldier’s name and if he survived remains unknown. Many wounded soldiers had to travel over 44mi (70km) under their own strength to get medical assistance in Port Moresby. The seriously wounded were moved by local native carriers. It would take eight carriers to carry one soldier the full distance.
The emails are like that. They tell you something about the area in the postcard – the area, the history, what something is known for or how it got its name. In the case of the artillery, they tell us:
Nearby was a neatly piled collection of rusty live ammunition - hand grenades and mortars – along with helmets, water flasks and a coil of signal wire. The ‘Do not touch’ advice from the guides seemed rightfully good advice.
So that’s my little update on another Conqueror challenge. I’m more than halfway done as I write this and I hope in a few days when this posts I’ll be close to or at the end and preparing to start a new one!