Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hike to the waterfall

This past Saturday, 11 of us left the station at 0530 and made our way to nearby Kurumul to see some Birds of Paradise and then to hike up to a waterfall.  The Mt. Vernon team had done the waterfall hike a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it, so I was excited about the chance to go.  We are still in the middle of rainy season and have had a lot of rain recently, so the ground was pretty muddy and slippery, but we made it.

You can't go on any hike without Papua New Guineans going with you, so our group of 11 quickly turned into a group of 25 or more in no time.  We drove to Kurumul church where we waited for some of our escort to come.  Of the 4 men who went with us, one was the leader of the area, who was allowing us to going through the land to see the fall, and then 3 other men who were our guides.   But they weren't the only ones who wanted to go, so did a number of the kids and young people.  The men said a number of times that little kids can't go, it was too dangerous for them with the water being as high as it was, but it didn't stop many from trying to come as far as they could.  Along with the men, we had 4 teenage girls (16ish) and then about 4 or 5 smaller boys/girls (10-12ish) who didn't want to be left out.  We were thankful for all of them by the time we were done.

For part of the hike we were going up a hill, someone said it was like at a 70 degree angle.  I don't know what the angle was, but I know it wasn't flat.  It would have been fine if it wasn't for the slippery conditions.  Going up wasn't so hard, but coming down was more difficult.  I had a girl Rita with me who was helping me on my way down, this is definitely not a time to be proud.  The PNGers have somehow developed sure footedness like none I have seen before.  It doesn't matter how slippery things are, they are able to go up and down mountains with ease, all barefoot.  So Rita was helping me by trying to stop me from killing myself as I slid down the hill.  She did a very good job, as I didn't get injured at all, but I fell and slipped numerous times.  She did a great job of keeping me on my feet, but I also did a good job of taking her out with me.  Thankfully, she would just laugh with me as we would get up.

Despite all the slipping and sliding, we made it to the waterfall, which was a good sight to see.  We don't know how tall it is, someone said 40 meters, I would say definitely above 100ft, but can't say other than that.  The mist from the fall reached quite a distance and we were all pretty soaked just standing and looking at it, but it was sure worth it.