Gunnedah woman Casey Hatch completes Kokoda Chicks Challenge in Papua New Guinea | Video & Photos

Gunnedah’s Casey Hatch has returned from the Kokoda Chicks Challenge ready to take it on again.

“I’m still up on that high – just the experience,” she said.

“I’d love to do it again.”

Ms Hatch took on a 96-kilometre trek over nine days on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea and was one of 15 women who raised more than $45,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. She contributed $3,350.60 to the total with the support of the local community and Mackellar Care Services.

“It was a really great opportunity to meet new people,” she said.

“They were a great bunch. Everyone got on really well.”

First-hand perspective: Casey Hatch shares some GoPro footage of the Kokoda Chicks Challenge.

Ms Hatch said the weather left much to be desired, with rain falling most day, often about an hour out from camp. The rain would persist overnight, leaving the terrain wet and sticky.

“The first day was a downpour,” she said.

“It rained every afternoon except for the last day we walked and the day we went to the airport.

“Trying to keep things dry was hard.”

The early rise at 5am was difficult for Ms Hatch but she didn’t struggle with the steep terrain because she had done many months of training around Gunnedah to build up her leg muscles.

Ms Hatch said their porters were from nearby villages and gave them an “insight into the caring nature” of the “Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels” – Papua New Guinea people who helped the Australians during World War Two.

“Meeting all friendly locals in the villages along the way showed us all how happy and content people can be with very little,” she said.

During the nine days, the group took part in memorial services at the battle sites of Brigade Hill and Isurava.

“I will be forever grateful of being able to have this experience,” Ms Hatch said.

The local said the group also saw ammunition pits with old explosives in them.

“It makes it real when you actually come across those when you see the Australian pits,” she said.

“I am proud and honoured to have walked in the footsteps of the courageous diggers of Kokoda with a great bunch of ladies and inspirational guide.

“Along the way we learnt about the history of the war campaign on the Kokoda Trail and in doing so, about the meaning of the words that defined the Anzac spirit – courage, endurance, mateship and sacrifice.

“Walking Kokoda is an empowering, life-changing experience. It is something that each individual should experience for themselves to fully understand.”

This is the second time Ms Hatch has completed the Kokoda Trail and she hopes to do it again in 2018 or 2019. She will also look into doing the Borneo Death March.


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