Aussie Mum Dies on Kokoda Trek
Having trekked Kokoda myself, I was saddened by the news of Aussie mum Samantha Killen, age 36, having died on the track. Sam leaves behind loving husband Dion and two children, a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 3.
There are no clear reports as to what caused her death, only that she felt dizzy one day into the trek and then passed away. I heard something about dehydration too. We can’t speculate and until there is further news, there is no point.
The Nine MSN source says that Sam was on the trek with her father aged 62, her brother and a family friend. They were trekking Kokoda to honour her grandfather who had fought for Australia during the one of the toughest WWII battles.
The preparation involved before taking on the trek is arduous and then actually being there is even more so. I was completely out of my comfort zone. It was my greatest personal challenge to choose to do this. I’ve said it before that mud and me just don’t mix.
The article I read said that Sam trained every morning for 12 months. My hat goes off to her. I wasn’t that diligent. My training only started 4 months before the due time. It was a sudden decision that I chose to go. However, I did train with my personal trainer and he was the one who arranged the trek for a group of 12 of us. We also had two nurses and our guide David, a fireman in his day job, who had already trekked Kokoda 7 times before leading our group. There was so much experience in medical and first aid which I was tres happy about. Even with all the training, nothing can prepare you for the actual track itself.
Besides the fact that I had to be medivac’d out because I slipped and broke my wrist (and needed surgery) 6 days in, missing the last day and a half of the trek, another member of our group had rolled his ankle on the first day into the trek and managed to walk 4 days on it before he was also medivac’d out, our group were quite fit and made the trek in record times (according to our guide).
Hype about Trekking Kokoda
The thing that upsets me the most is when there is so much hype about trekking Kokoda. Seriously folks. Get a grip on L-I-F-E!
We live in a fast paced world. Crossing the street can cause death. Driving a car can cause death. Stress can cause death. We are born, and one day, we die. Where and when that happens is not up to us. There are incidences where people die in their sleep even and sometimes, not just elderly people. Like Kurek Ashley says, If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.
Trekking Kokoda is perhaps perceived to be more dangerous than crossing the street in your local shopping centre. I slipped and fell many times while on the trek. I climbed the rugged edge of the mountain with only enough room for one at a time. Was I scared? Yes, in fact. Every time I lost concentration and thought about my kids and WHAT WAS I THINKING TREKKING KOKODA, I became weak and filled with emotion. Couldn’t this happen in any circumstance in our everyday lives? While we’re driving our cars maybe?
Life is a Challenge
The point I want to get across is that if we don’t challenge ourselves in life, when it’s time to go, we could be filled with regret at not having taken risks or enough risks while we had the chance to. Hearing people say that no-one should trek Kokoda and leave the local villagers to be invaded by mining company’s in my humble opinion is BS. It’s way too beautiful a landscape and also very historic to be dredged up by mines. When I am asked about the trek, I encourage everyone to do it. If not Kokoda, then another challenge which they will be proud of achieving.
Rest in Peace Samantha Killen and may your children grow to be proud of their mum who chose to take a risk and challenge herself to go and trek Kokoda.