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Australian Link Directory  - Article Details

Imagine Trekking on One of the World's Most Difficult Mountain Trails

Date Added: November 15, 2011 07:06:10 PM
Author: Narelle
Category: Travel and Tourism: Tours

It is ranked as one of the world's most challenging walking and hiking trails and attracts lovers of adventure travel worldwide. The Kokoda trail treks 96 km over the forbidding Owen Stanley Ranges of Papua New Guinea and is so severe on the body and spirit that this year alone, it has claimed 4 lives.

Yet it was recently beaten by a man with no legs. He was walking on his hands! Here is his story of incredible courage and endurance.

Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley is no stranger to challenges. Just a week after winning his fourth consecutive New York wheelchair marathon, he tackled and beat his biggest challenge. The notorious Kokoda trail.

To do so, he had to endure the dense jungle, heat, humidity, mud and steep climbs to the top of the mountain range. The descent was just as challenging and was a test for more able bodied climbers.

A close friend of mine trained for months on other hiking trails before tackling the Kokoda Trail. At the end of his trek through these unforgiving mountain trails, he was drained physically and emotionally. "Graeme, it almost killed me," he said.

Fearnley, aged 28, finished his 10 day trek with emotional and weary celebrations. He had crawled and dragged himself by his hands along the arduous trail with support from 15 family members plus his team of porters and guides.

His only plans were to get to a bar, then lie on a beach to recuperate. Trail veteran and Kokoda Spirit team leader Wayne Weatherall was high in his praise for Kurt's tenacity and determination. "I've never seen a man suffer so much and continue to keep going," he said.

The Kokoda Trail in World War 2.

The Kokoda Trail has special significance for Australians. In 1942 and 1943, it was the scene of some of the some of the fiercest and bloodiest land battles of World War 2, as Australian soldiers struggled to hold Japanese soldiers advancing across the Owen Stanley Ranges towards Port Moresby.

The Japanese had planned to use Port Moresby as a base to launch an assault on Australia, but were thwarted by the United States Navy. They defeated the Japanese Navy in 2 major sea battles, the Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Midway. So the Japanese decided to attack Port Moresby from the north, using the Kokoda Trail.

Fierce battles on the Kokoda Trail.

Over 10 000 troops assembled on the north coast and marched south. But when they reached Kokoda, they met fierce resistance from Australian soldiers and although outnumbered 5 to 1, managed to stop the advancing Japanese army on the ridges overlooking Port Moresby. The death toll for both armies was enormous and in addition to the heat, mud and steep terrain, they had the additional problems of malaria and dysentery.

The Kokoda Trail today.

In recent years, walking the track has become a magnet for trekkers seeking adventure travel and the challenge of some of the most difficult hiking trails in the world. It is also a pilgrimage for Australians of all ages. Many of these walkers had relatives who fought and died in arguably Australia's most significant campaign of the Second World War.

YOUR FREE GIFTS! Graeme Lanham is a member of YHA Australia and an internationally recognised Australian travel writer. He has a passion for and intimate knowledge of his homeland and wants to share this valuable information with you. In his books and travel blog, he reveals his best insider tips for a memorable Aussie holiday. For a limited time, he is offering with each purchase of his brand new ebook, a FREE copy of his best selling ebook "TravelTips Australia" (valued at $69) plus FREE ACCESS to his popular travelblog. Don't miss out. Claim your copy and FREE GIFTS now at:

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