Glenn Azar and daughter Alyssa, 7, are training to walk the Kokoda Trail. Picture: NEVILLE MADSEN
Glenn Azar and daughter Alyssa, 7, are training to walk the Kokoda Trail. Picture: NEVILLE MADSEN

Alyssa, 7, champing to set out on Kokoda Trail trek


IT'S 100 kilometres through some of the wildest country in the world, but seven-year-old Alyssa Azar isn't daunted at the prospect of a two-week jungle trek.

Alyssa will become the youngest girl to walk the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea when she accompanies her father, Glenn, on the rugged expedition next year.

"It's quite a challenge for me, but I've seen my dad do it and I really want to," said Alyssa, who is in Year 3 at The Glennie School.

Glenn Azar, a fitness trainer who has been in the Army since 1991, said Alyssa had been pestering him to go on the Kokoda Trail for two years.

"I kept telling her she is too young and she threw it back at me and said, 'Well, you told us to believe you can do anything if you try' ? You sort of get trapped by your words."

Elder daughter Brooklyn, 9, and wife Therese have no desire to walk the Trail.

Mr Azar said he expected to receive some criticism over taking Alyssa, but said she was an energetic child who seldom sat still and regularly climbed Tabletop Mountain with him.

"Some people might think that as a personal trainer you are pushing your child to do things. We're not that kind of parents,'' he said. "But I don't like to limit my daughters into thinking there are things they can't do because they are a girl, or small or for any reason."

Mr Azar, who has walked the track twice before, studied the landscape on his most recent trip to assess whether Alyssa would be able to make it.

Along with a couple of experienced walkers, he hoped to take 14 days and nights to complete the trip and had set aside three weeks in case it took longer.

The plan involved no more than four hours treking a day, with Alyssa undertaking a four-month training program, including tough walks.

"If friends sleep over, Alyssa thinks it is a good idea to take them up Tabletop," he added.

Mr Azar said the Kokoda Trail was so demanding because there were no flat points with the land either straight up or straight down.

"There are peaks higher than Mt Kosciuszko," he said.



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