Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jungle Trek

Entry point to Taman Negara National Park

I went on a two day jungle trek yesterday and the day before, sleeping the night in a cave. I got to Taman Negara by boat (really just a big canoe) and for the trek we went further upstream by boat and then walked back towards the park headquarters. It was pretty hard going. The jungle is steamy and I was dripping with sweat within minutes of walking and remained wet for the rest of the day and the next. I was with four Germans and we were lead by two local guides. We didn't see any animals on the trek which was disappointing but I had read that it was unlikely. The cave was amazing. It was huge with many stalactites. Deeper in were many bats and we saw a giant frog. During the night some kind of wild cat came sniffing around the camp. I awoke with a start to see it standing close by where I was sleeping.

The next day we continued walking and I was really struggling. The guide set a cracking pace, ridiculously fast really, it was no wonder we didn't see much. Plus I have to get better footwear. We stopped to bathe in a shallow stream which was great. And we also stopped at a local Asri (the name of the indigenous people here) village. The people were very shy but I entertained the children making drawings in the sand.

Even though the pace of the trek was tiring, tackling the jungle itself was not too difficult. There was a trail though certainly not a well-trodden one. I grew up from the ages of 0-12 spending much time in the bush in Birkdale in Auckland and nothing in the jungle was more difficult than what I remember from my youth: logs to climb over, streams to cross, and so on. There were no leeches in Birkdale though! I removed about a dozen from me over the two days.

Now I'm back at the main settlement, recovering for a day. I'll take another walk this afternoon but it is a short one along a tree canopy walkway.

I don't have any photos because my camera stopped working but hopefully the Germans are going to email me some of theirs.

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