Realising how hard it would have been – day 3
I’m ready for another day on the track today I begin to really understand the pressures of this track and what our Australian soldiers were up against.
One of many steep inclines
Although today begins with a short but taxing descent it’s the contradiction of the terrain that is mystifying. Before we know it our descent has changed into a long, gradual ascent to the Eora Creek Village battle site. This is deep in a green jungle ravine. The paths are narrow and we are climbing over rocks and higher streams with only rickety logs keep us from falling in. In what is complete wilderness the trees have taken on a life of their own forcing us to scramble over their roots that take up most of the path.
Negotiating trees along the path
After assuring us our packs are safe, we divert off the main trail and into the Japanese forest fort (referred to as ‘The Lost Battlefield’). This fort overlooks the wartime village of Eora creek. In its depths there is a large rifle pit. Ammunition and the remains of helmets mark a sacred site where many Australian soldiers lost their lives before the Japanese fled.
Off the track remains of ammunition, helmuts and rifle pits
The rest of today’s trek is mostly uphill fortunately the stunning scenery is enough to divert my attention away from what lays ahead – another ascend of 275 metres before we set up camp at Templeton’s Crossing 2. For us the trek is made easier by calm weather, having porters to carry our packs, to hold our hand if we are struggling and to guide us along the constantly evolving terrain. I think of our soldiers who never knew what lay ahead, who were downsizing constantly and the hampering weather conditions they faced.
Entering tonight’s camp Templeton’s Crossing 2
At camp we race for a freezing cold wash in the clearness of the nearby river. After 5 hours and 40 minutes of walking and the emotion of the Lost Battlefield we laze by the river in the sun. I’m not quite sure what day it is and I am surprised to find out its Tuesday. I’m starting to cramp in the legs and my knees are a little sore but nothing will stop me from enduring another day in the wilderness.