CONQUERING the Kokoda Track in five days was quite a relief and achievement for paralympian Michael Milton who had embarked on the feat a week ago.
Milton had come on an earlier trip where he had walked the track in eight days, this time the feat included the coast-to-coast cycling from Buna to Kokoda in the Oro province and the 96km track to Owers’ Corner.
He then continued with the final leg of cycling from Owers’ Corner to the yacht club in Port Moresby.
“It was really tough, I’m feeling really tired but it feels good,” Milton said.
“The track was a wonderful experience starting from the north coast, it was an amazing feat for five days,” he added, whilst passing through the Sogeri turn off.
Losing his left leg at the age of nine did not stop Milton from reaching out for his dreams, which he has done for the last 30 years.
Milton has competed in four winter Paralympics and the Beijing summer Paralympics where he won gold as a cyclist.
Accompanying him where two of Milton’s friends and tour company, Kokoda Spirit, owner Wayne Wetherall, they were later joined by Wetherall’s 15-year-old son Blake for the cycle from Owers’ Corner to Port Moresby; Blake has walked the track seven times.
The coast-to-coast mountain biking is the new part of the Kokoda experience that was included in the package, with the first expedition in 2006.
“To expand tourism, we must make people realise that it is not only the Kokoda section that consists of the track, but the coast as well,” Wetherall said.
However, Wetherall was disappointed with the work of conservation that took place along the Efogi section of the track, “the building of wooden staircases and supports are taking the look away from the track, this is not an Australian track, tourists come here for the PNG experience, the track must be maintained in its original state,” he said.