One fine afternoon I was smoking a cigarette in our garden kiosk In about 2 weeks I was supposed to set off, together with my daughter, to Papua New Guinea. Mount Giluwe was waiting for us. Our fifth volcano from the 7 Volcanoes Circuit. Situated in the middle of Papua New Guinea, land of the unexpected.
I was considering things and day dreaming, trying to see beyond and above. And all of a sudden it hit me. So hard, that I got almost dizzy. This peak, this volcano was not marked. I mean it had no inscription on top of it, no land mark, no cross to show the tired climber that he made it.
So, let’s land mark it! I quickly went into the house and told my daughter about this. I was so excited.
Let’s mark it. I know how frustrating it may be once you get on top of a mountain and there is nothing to prove you did it.
I had this feeling of emptiness when we climbed Mont Blanc in France and Kazbek in Georgia and we had to ask for diplomas from our guides in order to prove we did it.
Well, this time we were not going to ask anybody anymore for diplomas. We were going to mark it.
Almost 3 weeks later we set off for Mount Gilluwe from the village of Alkena, a village situated at the foothill of the mountain.
We were a large team. Alexandra, my daughter, I and 12 boys from the Mondika tribe. Our contact on Papua New Guinea, a Mondika man by the name of Peter Kinjap, had made this arrangement as he was very concerned about our safety. Apparently there were some tensions with a tribe nearby and he did not want to take any chances.
We began by following the main road toward the village of Kiripia, situated at about one hour walk away from our location. Of course that, as usually, we were accompanied also by a crowd that was more than happy to walk along and talk to us. Happy people. Smiles everywhere.
After a while, just after a bridge we took a trail that was sneaking through the hills. The walk was getting harder by the minute. We were walking uphill on wet grass and clay. Also our guides and porters were climbing very fast.
I tried to talk them into slowing down as our acclimatization was down to earth but to no avail. Every now and then one of them would come to us and say: Faster, faster! Boys, it’s not about faster, faster, it’s about Pole, Pole, you know.
NO, they did not know. So we carry on, trying to keep us with them.
The boys had no idea about acclimatization and walking at a slow pace. They were just bouncing uphill.
Any way, you do not have to worry my friend reader of our blog. Once we came back to the village and I had time to catch my breath I explained to them every thing about how to climb high mountains and acclimatization and I am sure that next time if you go there and take the services of http://pnghtours.blogspot.ro/ they will know better. After all this was my part. Give suggestions and take pictures. Also climb a mountain.
We hit the jungle. All of a sudden the temperature dropped by several degrees. And the gradient of the slope increased by several ones too. Uphill, down hill, uphill, downhill. And all done at this killing pace. I was stopping every now and then in order to catch my breath. Alexandra also was having difficulties but we managed somehow.
Finally some hours later we got out of the jungle. I was so relieved. I never liked going through the jungle and every time I did it, in Mexico or Tanzania, I had the same feeling of something weighting heavy on my shoulders.
Clouds were gathering above us. Faster, faster!
One hour later we finally made it to the final point of our first day.
We climbed over a ridge and then went downhill toward 2 caves situated on the bank of a beautiful stream. The boys proceeded to light the fire inside while we were pegging our tent and collapsed inside too.
We waked up only hours later and had lunch in the tent. We were feeling much better as I was expecting. Our bodies had remembered how to react at high altitudes and things were improving fast for us. Around 6 am we set off again. The boys were happy, the inscription was coming along and we were finally keeping up with them without any problems.
We reached the plateau, and went toward the peak. A huge stone, looming over us, composed by 2 impressive towers.
My friend, Bobby the carver, the one that actually carved the boards cut 2 poles from the bush. Now we were having all the ingredients for land marking the peak: 2 Romanian climbers, 12 Mondika boys, 4 boards and 2 poles. Hammer and nails also.
We started climbing the steep rock. Some of the boys refused to come along but our trusted friends, Bobby and Junior the Warrior were among the ones that were accompanying us.
We made it to the top. As soon as we reach it, Bobby the Carver and Junior the Warrior start working on fixing it in the ground. And here it is. We came all this way, from the other side of the planet, me and my daughter, 16 years old, to set foot on top of this volcano and plant this land marking inscription.
Thank you, God.
This is our fifth volcano from the 7 Volcano Circuit. Here, at the end of the world there is an inscription now reading: Mount Giluwe highest volcano of Oceania, Australia.
I stare at my daughter, at the boys, at the inscription. So many efforts, so much training, money raising, people convincing. So much preparation. And now here we are. On top of Mount Giluwe. With an inscription wearing the name of the youngest mountain climber involved in the 7 Volcano Circuit, Alexandra Marcu, and the name of the country that gave birth to her: Romania.
I am one heck of a privileged guy. And is a privilege to be here. In amazing Papua New Guinea.
Alexandra, Bobby and Junior smile at me. Young people. Each one of them did his part. Coming from different parts of the world, they met here and did this. Marked the peak of a volcano from the 7 Volcanoes Circuit . And also left there the name of their roots. Mondika tribe. Romania. Papua New Guinea.
All this was made possible with the help of the wonderful people of the Mondika tribe. Peter, Bobby, Junior, Stanley are all Mondika men. So in case you, our blog reader, feel the need of going there to climb this beautiful volcano and have a fantastic adventure please contact http://pnghtours.blogspot.ro/
Because the money will go down toward these people and help them improve a little bit the standard of living of their community.
We had the opportunity of living 7 days with them in a hut in the village and then 2 on the mountain. They are welcoming people and made us feel welcome at every possible moment. But this will come in another article.