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Michael’s Kokoda Trek

I landed in Port Moresby knowing this was going to be a very special experience to have with my four sons but one look at the ragged, rugged ranges had me questioning my decision to trek the Kokoda Track.

We were scheduled for a nine day trek and by lunchtime on day three I was exhausted. It became clear that at 71 years of age I was not going to be able to maintain the pace of group. The day had been extremely hot and humid so I found a spot under a Banana tree and spent a whole hour resting and wondering how I could possibly finish.

My sons came to the rescue and relieved me of all my baggage, except my water and essentials, allowing me to get through the day. My boys stayed back with me for the next 6 days of trekking and we were never too far behind the main party.

I found the going very tough and had to concentrate on every step for fear of falling. This meant I couldn’t participate in much of the conversation around me but the banter between my sons flowed freely and there were times along the track when my thoughts went longingly to home and the blessing of my wife and extended family. I was only there for a short time and no one was shooting at me, so one can only speculate on the emotions of the soldiers who fought along this unforgiving track 75 years ago.

When we arrived back at Port Moresby I asked my boys to gather and talk with me. Having spent nine days listening to their conversation it was evident that they were fine young men. I had enjoyed their company immensely and I felt privileged to be their father. I became quite emotional as I thanked them all for looking after me so well. My sons were gracious and we gave each other hugs. I’ve not long been in the business of hugging so this felt a very fitting and gratifying end to such an amazing life experience.

I took many valuable life lessons from the Kokoda Track, and the people and porters living there and it certainly makes you wonder how much ‘stuff’ you really need to be happy.

Michael Cruice – 2017

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