Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fallen off the blogging band wagon a bit of late, so thought i'd better pull my finger out and tell a story. LMS has been a bit sick with a virus and not sleeping so well, so i've got a bit slack..

Last Sunday we went for a hike. It was a 5 hour return trip, mainly uphill, in the searing heat. We needed to leave at about 11am in order to get to our destination and back in time before dark which meant walking in the middle of the day. Oh man, i though i was going to die. It was HOT, HOT, HOT and very humid. Tramping up hill for 2.5 hours sure got the sweat pouring off me. We were hiking to the base of Shaggy Ridge a razorback ridge in the Finisterre mountain range, the main position of defense for the Japanese during WWII. The track we followed was the original road from the war used to access the base of the Ridge. During many parts of the hike you could recognise where the road went, but others were just thick scrub and a single file track.

A few precarious river crossings....
Kooni grass out of control....
After two hours of steady climbing we came to a 'road house' Man was i happy to see it. A small spring gushing, crisp, clear, fresh water, and a couple of rocks to rest my sorry arse and adrenalin filled legs on. When there is a good clean water source, you generally find a little set up like this one...

A few bananas...

Banana and paw paw trees a plenty, although i'd never take a banana from the middle of the bush in PNG, it more than likely belongs to someone. Peoples' gardens are all over the place, mostly hidden about an hour or two walk from their homes. We had lunch and refueled. One of the guys hiking with us is staying the guest house where we live. The guest house provides 3 meals a day. As Cameron wasn't going to be there for lunch he asked them to make him a sandwich. The kitchen staff told him they didn't have much, he replied "peanut butter or vegemite will do" Not really to his surprise but to our amusement he had 2 sandwiches, both with peanut butter AND vegemite. Yummo.

I thought i was done with the hike, but after a rest i was rearing to go. The goal was to get to the base of shaggy ridge and check it out for the future hike when we overnight and climb the actual ridge.

We arrived at the small village at the base of the ridge and were met by a few friendly locals. The village was lovely, clean and tidy with some nice little houses. They had a beautiful new house that had been recently built, it was the biggest house i've seen here in a village, 4 bedrooms and up on stilts. No one was living it it, and from what i could gather this was because when you build a new house here you have to have a big feast and a 'sing-sing' before moving in. Either that or it was purpose built for the hikers that camp there before climbing shaggy ridge.

Esta took us down to the Faria river for a look, where we had another rest and shared a bag of lollypops with the kids who were enjoying a swim and helping out with some washing.

The kids from here walk about 4 hours on a Monday up the river to their school, they camp the week there and walk back on Friday. There is also a small hospital apparently. I'd like to check it out sometime, but leaving the kids overnight is a bit hard. Maybe when the olds visit?! :-p

Esta was keen for us to return and stay the night. She said we could bring the kids. yeah right. She might walk 7 hours to get to the market with 30kg's of food on her head, and her kids on her back, but i am soft and aint carrying my two ratbags 2.5hrs up a mountain!!!

This is a picture of the first part of Shaggy Ridge, as i am no photographer i wasn't really able to capture the incline very well, but let me tell you it is steep, it looks like you'd fall off while hiking up it if you didn't have spikes on. ;)

The hiking crew.....

And the best part of a hard day hiking? Beer of course.......


  1. Holy sh!* if you think I am doing that you are sooooorely mistaken. I'm all for a leisurely stroll (and wish I was fit enough/had the stamina to do something like that) but let's face it I am far too lazy lol. Shaggy Ridge looks pretty bloody steep in that photo and it's usually 4 x steeper in real life! Village and the people look cool though, going overnight would be great.
    I'll just keep the beers chilled :)
    See you soooooooooooon chicky! (Hope LMS is feeling better, poor possum, just wait til I get there to perk her up! Baaaa psycho children!)

  2. Fantastic Ange. Wow!! You are experiencing some wonderful places. Did you have a guide with you? It seems like it could be quite easy to get lost. When are your ma and pa visiting? Have they visited yet or will this be the first time? I am missing my little chickens! My life in Japan is pretty well the opposite of yours. Keep blogging!