We wake up early in the morning for a dawn service at Isurava Memorial. In the slowly lightening sky, we read poems and sing the Australian and Papua New Guinean national anthems. It’s a surreal moment, standing together in the dawn light and thinking about what the track means.
As we get closer to the end, the track starts to go downhill, and my knees are in agony, every step bringing pain. I grit my teeth and continue on as we walk to Deniki. The group has spread out over the track, and we re-group at Hoi, beside a beautiful creek.
Thankfully, the rest of the way to Kovelo is fairly flat. Before we continue the walk, the boys appear with leaves and flowers woven into crowns, and proceed to decorate us.
We walk as a group, in high spirits, the flat ground a welcome respite after the downhill track. My knees are just about to thank me before I stumble and slam my right knee into the ground.
That night, many of the boys’ families come to join us at our camp at Kovelo, and we are surrounded by wives and children who have walked here to meet us. It’s a special time as we get to meet the families of the boys who have helped us through this journey, and who we feel we now know so well.