Creek crossings can be hazardous after heavy rain over the Owen Stanley Ranges. Different rivers and different crossings have different characteristics. The Brown River for example looks quiet and calm but it has a very swift and dangerous current and a deep channel in the wet. Eora Creek, which we cross on a number of occasions, can contain thundering white-water.
Most of the bridges get swept away during the wet season and have to be rebuilt by our PNG guides.
Our trek protocols require that you do not attempt to cross any creek or river crossing until you receive the all-clear from our lead PNG Guide. If the crossing looks hazardous he will advise you to wait until your trek leader arrives and makes an assessment of the situation. He will either wait until the water subsides or instruct our PNG guides to prepare a safe crossing.
This will be covered in more detail at your trek briefing on arrival.
Snakes, leeches and creepy crawlies
The jungle is home to a wide range of snakes, leeches, ticks and other creepy crawlies. Whilst our PNG guides have keen eyes and a great sense of their environment we trekkers rarely get to see these creatures as we pass through their habitats. Snakes will generally get out of our way and only become aggressive if cornered.
Leeches do not present any threat to our health – unfortunately there is something about them that can reduce even the most tranquil nature lover to a state of near hysteria! Leeches on the trail are only a couple of centimetres long and look like very thin black worms. But after they have attached themselves to trekkers for a while they swell up and look like black blobs. They will eventually drop off you if left alone but most trekkers usually want to remove them before they have had their fill.
The best preventative measures for leeches are:
- check all over your body when you bathe each day
- use mosquito repellent on exposed skin – they hate anything with DEET in it!
- wear long pants and tuck them into your socks or gaiters to prevent them dropping into your boots - yum!
Bullets, Grenades and things that go Bang!
Along the trail you might find bullets, grenades, mortars and other items with explosives.
These should not be handled as they have been lying in the jungle for more than 70 years and are unstable.
This means they could explode if knocked or tampered with – the blast radius for a 36M hand grenade is 35 metres – for a mortar it is 50 metres - so please look, photograph – but do not disturb!
Do not try to souvenir any items from along the track no matter how small. It is an offence to remove them and we have been advised by Australian customs that they are identifying items of small arms ammunition in the backpacks of some trekkers returning from the track – and the last thing you want to happen is to be held up for questioning while your family and friends are waiting for you on the other side of the customs clearance area.
So please allow these items to ‘rust-in-peace’ on the trail.