Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hiking to Saut

As we left Kesengen we started the most difficult of all the hikes we were to make on this trip. It was difficult because we would be climbing to an elevation that was over 1,000ft. above Kesengen, but in the middle was a river that we would have to cross. So that meant that we had to first hike down to the river crossing, and then back up the other side to a higher elevation than we started at. This hike was not for the faint of heart. Often we would hike along ridge lines where there were drop offs on either side of your foot-wide trail and there are no hand rails or warning signs telling you to be careful. However, you do feel a bit guilty when you are hiking with just the clothes on your back and some woman passes by with a large bilum bag full of food or other heavy item and she thinks it is just the most normal thing.

The hike took us three hours (however, Ryan did inform us that it only takes about 3 minutes in a helicopter), but we were rewarded again with beautiful views of the backcountry of PNG. There is one thing that PNG never seems to be lacking and that is the awesome beauty that accompanies such harsh terrain.

This is what we would be hiking through. You can't see it well in the photo, but Saut is on the ridge on the left side of the picture.

Here are our porters coming up the trail behind us. We left about ten minutes ahead of them, but they caught up to us at the top of the hill.

Here we are at the top of the hill above Kesengen trying the cell phone antenna again. Once again it did not work.

Leaving Kesengen we were walking on a newly bulldozed road which was nice for hiking. However, we came to the end of that and then we started our descent to the river below.

Finally we came to the water crossing. This is the bridge that the people have built to get across. It is made of bamboo and logs lashed together with vines. Very Indiana Jones looking!

Here I am crossing the river. Needless to say that it was one at a time going across.

Once I was across this old women with her big bag of goods is walking right across like it is no big deal.

Every time we came to a water crossing it was time to waswas. Let me remind you that we are high in the mountains and even though we are on a tropical south pacific island this water was quite cold.

I felt it was important to add this photo of my near death experience on the trip. The pool that we are swimming in looks fairly tame, but the current was strong and while I was trying to swim across I got swept down stream onto that rock in the middle of the photo. I was able to barely get across to the branches on the other side and pull myself back up the river. Below this point were many large boulders and the rapids were much worse.

Finally one last look before we headed back up the mountain to Saut.

When I said up I meant UP!

Just before you reach Saut there is this beautiful water fall.

Finally we have made it to Saut. This the view from the area just outside Ryan's house.

What is long hike without a cool refreshing shower to end it with.

1 comment:

Shannon said...

Wow! What an adventure. Did your parents have you in swimming lessons at the Stayton pool? I can't remember if you were there with us all those summers ago. Either way, glad you made it home safe, and were able to have such an exciting time.