Sunday, September 15, 2013

Hiking to Lone Tree

See that mountain in the center of the photo—the one with trees on top?  That mountain is what we call “Lone Tree” and I see it every day from our verandah.  But in the six years that we’ve lived here in PNG, I’ve never even gotten close to it.  Until today….


Our hike with friends started in the opposite direction and took us down the road and through the National High School.  We passed this billboard just before we started climbing.  Was it a warning?  Actually, it’s a fairly common advertisement here in PNG.


The road/trail starts to get steeper and we pass hillside gardens and “haus kunai” (houses made with bush materials).


The road (yes, cars drive on it) is rock-hard clay.  Fortunately, it’s dry clay today.  I can imagine the slimy, slippery mess it must be during the wet season.


Impossible to keep the boys from running off ahead and blazing a trail.  They’re happy to reach the first crest before the rest of us.


From the crest we can gaze down in the neighboring valley.  It looks like a plain perfect for gardens or grazing cattle.  A few houses do exist around the edges, but the whole valley is actually one big swamp.  Makes me wonder if it were a lake long, long ago.


Remember those trees at the top of “Lone Tree”?  We ate our lunch among them.  Seeing these giant (6+ feet high) prehistoric-looking ferns made me wonder if dinosaurs might be lurking nearby.


The hike down is breath-taking and the perfect setting for flinging your arms out and singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music!”


Had to stop for a Facebook cover photo.  <cough>  That’s Ukarumpa in the background.  It felt invigorating to be on the outside of the fence.


A closer shot through the smoke of burning grass.  The red arrow points to where we live.

At the bottom of the mountain we had to hike through some gardens, wade across the Ba’e River and stroll through a small coffee plantation.  Coffee plantations are scattered all over our valley and here are some unripe berries.


The whole trek took us about 4 1/2 hours.  That included stopping for lunch and a quick dip in the icy water of the Ba’e.  The boys, not me!  We all made it back with minimal blisters and bruises.  Claire even declared she’d do the hike again the next day…as long as she only had to walk downhill.  <smile>


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