Day 2 – Owens Corner to Ua-Ule Creek

March 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Forbes to Kokoda & Back

Up at 6.30am to get the gear loaded.  Store our bags at hotel and last breakfast.  

Wheatbix, two fried eggs toast and coffee. What a breakfast, last good one for a week. Very excited let’s go I thought. The two trucks arrived eventually, did I mention New Guinea time yep. One truck was empty for us and the second one had 20 porters hang out of it. No sooner had it stopped and out they poured out grabbing our gear and loading straight on. The trip out to Owens Corner took about two and half hours I think. The road started ok but then fell away to a rough track. Scotty was sitting next to me and spotted a LPG bottle hanging from a tree like a punching bag. He reckons they must be tough up here. We passed McDonalds corner where B Company had to walk passed. The photo is in the book Peter has with him. Passed a cattle station although it many not be used for that anymore hard to tell.  Arrived at Owens about 10.00 am I think. Unloaded and walked down a small track 200 yards to the start. A small flat ¼ acre block before you fall into the abyss. Final gear check, and introduced to all the porters. We were all given a porter here if you wanted to have one carry some of your gear.  Then we went along and were introduced to each porter by name. At this time a group came over the lip of the cliff just finishing their trek. They had Lots of high fives amongst themselves

And then they gave a little insight into what the track was like. After a group photo with the porters in front of the Owens Corner sign, the porters sang us a song. I thought that’s nice I had seen that sort of thing on my net searches. Little did I know it was their theme song and it would be a big hit on the track.


Loaded up and ready to roll

Loaded up and ready to roll

Loaded up and over the abyss we all went. It was a steady climb down for half hour (I say climb down because you only do two things on the track, climb up or climb down. There is very little flat.) . To our first stop the Goldie Creek. Shoes off and wade through. Goldie Creek was a major staging point and aid post in the war.

We had lunch at the Uberi village. No one lives there anymore. It has a few buildings for the trekkers to lunch and rest at. This was a major place in the war. The Japs never made it this far, so it could be used by the diggers for first aid and supply dumps. Viv had found a small pocket knife when crossing Goldie Creek so Peter and I carved names in our stick. Peter put his dads, nickname (Stingar) on his and I put the initials A.B. &  L. T. for dad and mums two brothers Laurie and Trevor who both fought on the track.

Then before I realised it we were on the Golden Stairs. It seemed strange because all I had read and the pictures I have seen show a log stair case up the hill. There is none of that there now, just a long winding vertical hill going up 450 metres high to the top of Imita Ridge. The climb was hard because we all got excited and went a bit hard at it and it was our first climb. A very narrow winding snake of a track up to the top.  A lot of clay in the soil so it made good foot holes, but just so many of them. It was this first hill that the hiking order was unofficially formed with the young guys up front and us forty year olds in the middle followed by Norm and Tractor. We thought this is how it would be and it just fell into place with no words said. Just the way it was. We waited for Norm and Tractor to get to the top, with the porters giving them a big welcome with the word oro oro (pronounced OR-O  OR-O eg, welcome or hello depends who you ask). Norms, now famous words don’t break the golden rule no drinking the night before you start. We hear this all week. 

Rested up we head down the ridge to our night camp at Ua-Ule creek. The trip down was ok, very dry which made it like slippery gravel under foot. We all made it ok only Viv right in front of me slipped with his sticks and slid over the edge and down the hill. Viv slid about 5 feet but jumped back up quick as a wink and he was good as gold. 

The overnight stay was good. We had a swim in the creek washed clothes and relaxed. I pumped up a footy and the young boys had a pass around with some of the porters. We bought some coke and the village people brought out some beers (SP the local drop) for sale, well they didn’t last long. There was only a few. All in bed by 7.30 pm. My first restless sleep, the first of seven straight.

Story written by Ian Bown of Forbes

For more pictures visit the Kokoda Gallery


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