A Hiker Stumbled Upon A WWII Base Deep In The Jungle, And The Soldiers Were Still There
Brian Freeman and his guides have struggled for hours through the Papua New Guinea jungle. Then, as they wilt in the tropical heat, the men emerge onto a plateau. And what they find there astonishes and humbles them. Piles of discarded weapons, spent ammunition, and tin helmets litter the ground. Clearly, at one point, there were soldiers too — but are they still here, lurking among the leaves?
The man who found them
If you dared to follow in Freeman’s footsteps, you may have seen them, too. But then Freeman’s better cut out for the trek than most. He’s an ex-military man who served two decades with the Australian special forces. That meant he may have known the horrors that were awaiting him.
More than just jungle
First, Freeman and his guides had to tackle the Kokoda Track, which meanders through 60 miles of thick jungle. The path runs through the mountains of the Owen Stanley Range and is trekked by many Australians each year. But they’re attracted by more than just the majestic beauty of the rugged landscapes and the challenge the track offers. They, too, know the area’s grim history.
A grim history
You see, the track runs through land bitterly fought over by Japanese and Australian troops during WWII. Over 600 Australians lost their lives in this remote jungle, and their compatriots come to pay their respects and learn more about the sacrifices their countrymen made. Safe to say, though, that none of them saw what Freeman witnessed.
And when the Japanese and Australian forces fought each other for dominance of this remote jungle territory, battle conditions were tough. As well as facing off against enemy attacks, the Australians had to suffer extreme heat during the day — sometimes torrential rainstorms, too.