Rochelle undertook hiking the Kokoda Track after completing 6 months of training with me, during which we completed a number of four-day hikes into the mountainous areas around NSW. Additionally, she would run 5km's 2-3 times a week and complete at least one 4-5 hour pack hike each weekend. In the last month she would do a 5am 'stairs circuit' with me 2-3 times a week. We also competed in a number of NSW Rogaining Championship courses.
I believe her tenacity and joyous spirit throughout 8 days of walking the Kokoda Track inspired most of us during trying moments and steep climbs. She led our group at the start and end of every day, greeting us at the crest of each severe ascent with a cheeky grin and encouraging comment. On every occasion when asked how she was going she would respond with an upbeat "I'm fine!".
Rochelle, I sincerely hope this little adventure will encourage you to strive with self belief for those things in life that will bring you happiness. Thank you for getting so much enjoyment out of the simple things nature offers. You have certainly walked in the footsteps of heroes!
A very proud father!
P.S. I have added a few of my own comments to Rochelle's daily diary entries.
'The track followed a slightly different route to 1942, and the jungle has reclaimed several of the villages; their inhabitants disappeared - some say to escape the evil spirits of war. Isurava and Efogi have relocated. The original Nauro was abandoned in 2002 after a local feud, and a second Nauro established high on a spur. Eora Creek and Ioribaiwa have simpley ceased to exist - and serve as mere camp sites for trekkers. Between the lowest point, at Uberi, and the crest of the range, the Kokoda Track climbs more than 20,000 feet. The altitude at its highest point is 8500 feet. For every 1000 feet gained the track falls 600 feet to the foot of the next ascent. Paul Ham "Kokoda".