Lake Pindaunde

So standing here at Lake Pindaunde, I was standing close to the top of the world, or as high up as one can get in Papua New Guinea. This is 'base camp' for Mt Wilhelm. Here we stood at 3,600mASL in Chimbu and I had officially ticked off a visit to every Province in PNG.

It was never my intent to climb Mt Wilhelm, I had a friend who was a keen fellow bushwalker, but he liked to climb mountains too and Wilhelm was one of them, but he also left Wilhelm and walked down to the coast, which is the trek I was interested in. A photo of my friend appears earlier this year and we travelled together on occasion throughout PNG. He was murdered in his compound and deciding to walk from Wilhelm to Madang was in tribute to him and his adventurous approach to PNG, where others fear the unknown and the raskols and just aim to survive Port Moresby, he embraced this beautiful country.

Betty's Lodge at 2,600mASL was far below, my GF and I started walking with Dominic as our guide through heavy Jungle, wet from the world perspiring and humidity through the roof. The air was thin and we rested frequently. As we reached a height of around 3,200m, the Jungle stopped and the world opened up to craggy aggressive rocks, hugged by clouds and mist. Small ferns and mosses grew low to the ground and towering tree ferns grew upwards to the sky. Small Wrens and Grassbirds flittered around the ground covering plants chewing seeds and sipping nectar. Small tiny plants displayed teeny tiny flowers of pink and yellows, little daisies damp with dew and the cool misty air.

The only sounds came from the dripping of water, the sound of the clouds hugging the rocky cliffs above and the small peep of the tiny birds.

As we walked further up into the clouds, the sound of a waterfall appeared, and then the vision of the waterfall appeared, we climbed up the cold wet rocks alongside the falls and at the top we rested and looked back down at the valley of tree ferns below. We continued on higher up and then in front of us, this lake appeared, cold and quiet, and still. The sounds of the watefalls on the other side was being soaked up by the clouds and occasionally the clouds would break and reveal massive rocks rising high up into the sky, and then the clouds would return and hide the rocks once again.

After spending months and months of hot humid weather of coastal equatorial tropics, it was amazing to be so cold, so clean, so pure. Dominic lit a small fire and we boiled some water and made tea. We unpacked some bread, broke up some smoked trout, and sat quietly.

Nothing.

The tea was warm in my belly, my nose and ears were cold. I found a moment.

In front of me was this lake, the clouds pillowed like a curtain of silk. The occasional rock was angry. Behind me, a long exposed series of steps, of tree ferns, of grass wrens, of dampness. Beyond that lay only Jungle, and Birds of Paradise, and Betty's Trout Farm, and Kegsugl, and the boys who sold us timber to cross the bridges, and Kundiawa and Hagen and Goroka and Tari and the Highland men and meris of New Guinea, the Huli Wig Men, the pigs, the shells used in buying a bride. Beyond that was the Kokoda Track, the coast, the Koiari people, the Motuans, the sea, the salt, the blue water and the fish. Beyond that, the islands, the volcanos, the Tolais with their blonde hair, the smell of ash and sulphur and beyond that was Bougainville, the violence, the reef, the mine that was, the good times, the fun times, the time I nearly drowned on that reef, the good times... the good times.

We put out our little fire, cleaned our cups, packed away our smoked trout and started a slow walk back down the mountain. Well it started off a slow walk, and became a sprint, we ran down the steps, we flew over the rocks, we soared through those jungle paths, our feet barely touching the slippery mossy wet muddy track, our hearts were racing, our eyes wide open, filling our lungs with pure mountain air and filling our hearts with joy.

This photo is dedicated to David, may you rest in peace brother.
A beautiful peaceful scene and a lovely remembrance.
posted November 18th, 2012  
@tigerdreamer - Thanks Karen :)
posted November 18th, 2012  
Great photo Jason such a beautiful scene
posted November 18th, 2012  
Incredible shot and touching reflection on your friend and experiences.
posted November 18th, 2012  
Amazing story and image Jason. feeling quite choked up right now!
posted November 18th, 2012  
You descriptions are so lovely and your photos are even lovelier. :-)
posted November 18th, 2012  
A great photo, wonderful trek, touching tribute to David, and your descriptions add much life to this already beautiful photo.
posted November 18th, 2012  
Beautiful misty shot!!
posted November 18th, 2012  
stunning
posted November 18th, 2012  
You are such a good writer, Jason, I love reading your stories! Frightful about David - sounds a bit like South Africa! The picture comes to life!
posted November 18th, 2012  
wow that is a such a great pic, love fog, it justs adds some elegance into the picture
posted November 18th, 2012  
beautiful misty shot, great words too.
posted November 18th, 2012  
I get comfy when you I read your narrative.. I become absorbed, lost in your words.. You have a wonderful descriptive discourse.. In your moments, I too become lost in a moment. Amazing!!!
posted November 18th, 2012  
This story is such a fabulous recap of all the photos you have shown us this last year bringing to mind many of your experiences that you shared with us! The photo is amazeballs and the tribute is touching! Nicely done, Jason!
posted November 18th, 2012  
You really are amongst the clouds. This is your best narrative Jase, so easy to imagine taking that walk with you.
RIP David, a fine tribute for your friend.
posted November 18th, 2012  
Brilliant. You have wonderfully conveyed all the beauty, danger, and chaos that is PNG. Agree with Leonie, a wonderful tribute to your friend.
posted November 19th, 2012  
Such welcomed beauty I bet. Gorgeous shot, really fits your narration.
posted November 19th, 2012  
Your writing moods match your photos. Well done.
posted November 19th, 2012  
This shot looks gorgeous. It's a beautiful tribute. Wonderful narrative too.
posted November 19th, 2012  
Wow. That fog really gives this shot some mystery.
posted November 19th, 2012  
Love your commentary, Jason! This is a beautiful scene! That fog is fantastic!
posted November 19th, 2012  
I love this scene, it makes me feel happy and at peace, the shot, the tale and the walk are all fabulous tributes to him.
I'm interested in the occasional angry rocks.
posted November 19th, 2012  
wow what a contrast to the previous photos
posted November 19th, 2012  
Amazing scene - love the mist. Great tribute to your friend too.
posted November 19th, 2012  
@gerry @archaeofrog @pennymilner - thank you Gerry and Katie and Penny, I too was misting up whilst typing that story. :(

@lorihiro - Thank you Ms Lorihiro!

@dauber - Thank you Mr Anderson, the real trek starts on Wednesday...

@tamsg4 @helenw2 - Thank you ladies :)

@maggiemae - Thanks Maggiemae, life in Moresby can be ugly at times.

@cwebb - Thank you Cupcake!

@kandernob - Thank you Karen!

@michelleyoung - oh thank you so much Michelle, I have always appreciated your comments, it means so much to me.

@grammyn - Oh thank you Katy, I was hoping to scribe a mini history of the year so far, and I am glad you got the gist! :)

@onie @asutherland1964 - Thank you Leonie and Andrew, I now find it hard to re-read these words... I was tired at 3am this morning when the inspiration flowed.... ;)

@tthompsonca @rvwalker @myautofocuslife - Thanks Terri, Ross and Livia!

@webfoot - It moved in an amazing way!

@orangecrush - thanks Jerry!

@lbmcshutter - Some rocks to come.

@houdiniem - Isn't it just... That lake was just so surreal, to feel so alone up there, was blissful!

@alia_801 - Thanks Alia, thank you.
posted November 19th, 2012  
Beautiful tribute to David. I got so caught up in that story, I wanted it to keep going. The photo is great.
posted November 19th, 2012  
A wonderful poignant story & a beautiful picture
posted November 19th, 2012  
I'm very moved by both you words and your tribute. Beautiful!
posted November 19th, 2012  
Beautiful and peaceful shot.
posted November 20th, 2012  
Beautiful photo, fabulous words and a wonderful tribute.
posted November 20th, 2012  
@kenteroo @fjh @rwhite @daisy @kjarn - Thank you Lacy, thank you Francesca, thank you Rosie, thank you Kathryn and Kathy A. Thank you all for your wonderfully supportive comments. It was easy but hard for me to write those words. I mean, the words came easy, they flowed in a moment of inspiration, but I had to keep blowing my nose and wiping my eyes... must have been some dust in the air or something.

Thank you.
posted November 20th, 2012  
Looks like a magical spot!
posted November 22nd, 2012  
@worldbiking - You could ride up to Betty's Lodge but the track up to the lake would be hard work.... ;)
posted November 22nd, 2012  
What a stunning capture! You are blessed to have seen this beauty!
posted November 23rd, 2012  
@angelamartel - It was such a pretty place!
posted November 23rd, 2012  
This is breathtaking. A stunning tribute to David, may he rest in peace!
posted November 24th, 2012  
@gemtumble - thank you Gemma, thanks.
posted November 24th, 2012  
Lovely shot. The place looks absolutely stunning.
posted November 25th, 2012  
@kareen - It was so tranquil and peaceful yet Mother Nature had the mountains full of noise!
posted November 26th, 2012  
A beautiful shot, a wonderful adventure and a lovely tribute. :)
posted November 29th, 2012  
@geocacheking - Thank you Cameron.
posted November 29th, 2012  
Beautiful. I've faved this as much for your wonderful prose as for the tranquil scene which is so evident from the shot and enhanced by your words. I can almost hear the waterfall which is just peeping through, it's a lovely shot and I'd certainly give a 10 for the text and tribute :)
posted November 30th, 2012  
@filsie65 - thank you Phil. Thank you.
posted November 30th, 2012  
I had to fav... this is such a fantastic photo... and I agree, lovely tribute.
posted December 2nd, 2012  
@hellcat - Thanks Hellcat :)
posted December 3rd, 2012  
@l2lumom - thought you'd appreciate this shot....
posted May 15th, 2013  
@bobfoto Absolutely stunning!
What a tribute and story. I'm sorry you lost your friend in such a horrible manner. Thank you very much for tagging me in this.
posted May 15th, 2013  
@l2lumom - you're welcome... your comment regarding your upcoming vacation made me think of the isolation of this shot.
posted May 15th, 2013  
@bobfoto There are definitely some places nearby where I will be that look quite similar to this. I wish I could manage to haul 1 or 2 of our kayaks along.
posted May 15th, 2013  
@l2lumom - oh a kayak here would be pretty spesh.
posted May 16th, 2013  
WOW! Awesome nature. Love your writing too :)
What a wonderful dedication to your lost friend, David!
posted July 24th, 2014  
@stimuloog - Thanks Marloes... I have just re-read what I posted and well... I impressed myself a little...
posted July 26th, 2014  
@bobfoto Haha
posted July 26th, 2014  
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