Alex Rama was my guide on my first trek across the Kokoda Trail in 1991. At the time I had no idea what lay ahead. Alex’s English was unintelligible and my Pidgin was non-existent. Our only map was an old sketch of the trail and there were no signs. There was no chance of resupply so everything we needed, plus stuff we might have needed, were loaded into our army A-frame backpacks which hit the scales around 35 kg.
It called for a large measure of trust between two blokes who couldn’t understand each other.
The jungle swallowed us up in seconds and we obviously disturbed the spirits because rain soon pelted down which turned the track into a slithering mudslope. Within the first half-hour I passed Alex at least three times on my back looking helplessly up at him. It set the tone for the next few days as we were enveloped by our surroundings. [Read more…]