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Federated States of Micronesia: Sokehs ridge

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Sokehs ridge | Federated States of Micronesia | Oceania

[Visited: February 2016]

After climbing Sokehs rock, I still wanted to also get to the top of Sokehs ridge a little to the south, not for the challenge (there is none), but for the historic sights on top. So I walk to Sokehs island again, and take the road straight ahead. The asphalt turns into a rocky and steep track built by the Japanese, and with one switchback from where I have good viewed over Kolonia and the surrounding area, I arrive at the nahs, or meeting houses, that have been constructed here fairly recently. First, I continue the track towards the north - it is apparently rarely used, because parts of it are overgrown by vegetation. It has been raining in the morning, and my legs and shoes are soaked once I arrive at the searchlight platform on top. There is a tomb of the unknown soldier, and besides the modern telecommunication mast, it offers views towards the east. I can also see Sokehs rock from here, which is some 60 metres lower than the 276 metres of Sokehs mountain.

Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Looking northeast from the top of Sokehs mountain with Sokehs rock on the left and the airport on the right

Backtracking towards the south, I now take to exploring the area where most historic sights are located. The Japanese built a command post here, with plenty of defensive installations. A loop takes me past several anti-aircraft batteries, where the guns are slowly rusting away in circular pits which are covered by tall trees. This is fertile soil: the ground is covered in grass and ferns everywhere. Apart from the guns, there are shelters, there is a command post with a tower, and a tunnel. Despite their deadly appearance, the guns actually only managed to shoot down one American bomber plane. After walking around the loop, I come back to the nahs and the huge bamboo again, where I find foundations of the barracks where the army personnel lived during the war.

Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Battery of anti-aircraft guns at the south side of Sokehs ridge

Not much is left of the barracks: you can just see the outline of the foundations, and some of the stairs remain, too. There are remains of stoves and water tanks. I am, however, looking for a coastal gun, but here, the going gets tricky. Despite the well-prepared leaflet of the visitor centre, I just cannot find the right trail, and finally, conclude that it is not visible anymore - overgrown by ferns. There are several big bomb craters here - the command post obviously was a target of American bombing. After some trial and error, I finally find the British Armstrong-Whitworth naval gun lying next to a steel bunker. It was intended to be used against an invasion from the sea - an invasion that never came. My tine on Sokehs ridge is up, and I walk down the steep track again for a good lunch in town.

Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Steel bunker with British Armstrong-Whitworth naval gun at the south side of Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Trail to the top of Sokehs mountain right over Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Lookout tower near Japanese command post at the top of Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Forest with remains of foundations of barracks on top of Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Vegetation taking over the trails on top of Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Looking west from close to the top of Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Japanese bunker on Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): The foundation of the barracks can still be seen on top of Sokehs ridge
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Stairs on top of Sokehs ridge once leading to the barracks
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Vegetation taking over the barracks
Picture of Sokehs ridge (Federated States of Micronesia): Searchlight platform with tomb of the unknown soldier on top of Sokehs mountain

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