Jungle Trekking and Lots of Sweating!

Trip Start Sep 05, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Ekotan Chalets

Flag of Malaysia  ,
Monday, January 23, 2006

Had a busy day planned today but decided after all the travelling yesterday that it would be a good idea to have a bit of a lie in. So at 11am, after a couple of gorgeous roti's we took the river taxi to the other side to start the days activities.

Walked about 2km's through the jungle until we reached the rooftop canopy walk. The canopy walk is a major focal point of the Malaysia "Truly Asia" advertising campaign and rightfully so. An Indian Jones style rope bridge suspended 25 metres above ground and I couldn't wait so was straight up! It was great fun and wasn't scary at all even though it was high up and very wobbly. The others didn't like it much though, especially when I wobbled it on purpose. Worth the trouble of getting to Taman Negara alone!

Next we carried on walking another couple of kilometres through the jungle until we reached Teresek Hill and started to climb up. By now we couldn't stop sweating and couldn't be bothered to climb to the top, Lars did make it though. The rest of us sat around at a view point being constantly attacked by annoying little flies that just wanted to fly into you eyes and ears. All the time there were these really weird dinosaur like noise that I thought were coming from the big lizards but were actually from a huge bird called a hornbill. Pesky things would sit still long enough to allow me a decent picture.

When Lars returned from the summit we walked back to the bottom and carried on walking a further 4km's or so to a swimming area in the river called Lombok Simpon. Wiesje went swimming but we decided not to. Looked very appealing but couldn't be bothered and I was worried about leach attacks. I had totally sprayed my shoes in 100% DEET and it seemed to be doing a good job although it hadn't rained in a while so there weren't many around.

We finally arrived back at the hotel about 3 hours later in time for lunch. Settled on a delicious veggie Indian set in one of the restaurants and 2 litres of water to try and retain some water after the amount I had sweat out so far. It really was stupidly hot, maybe even as hot as the day in Kyoto!

After lunch the girls went for a rest but we still had loads of energy so jumped back in a boat and started trekking again. Started walking and it was far more difficult this time as it was uphill for ages, and I mean really uphill! It was also harder to follow the trail as it wasn't as well defined as the one from this morning. Saw loads of huge 1 inch ants along the way and some absolutely enormous trees. They tell you to cover up in the jungle as much as possible. By this time we were walking around in just shorts as it was far too hot to wear a shirt!

Reached our target sight Gua Telling, henceforth known as the Guano Cave. It was pitch black in the cave and my torch wasn't exactly the best. We basically had to crawl around following the blue rope through the length of the cave and we had no idea how far that was! It was cold and slippery but great fun, until we shone the torch into one of the large open areas and saw bats! Not just a few but thousands of the bastards! We had to crawl under them, with them flying all around our heads and getting covered in guano! You may have thought it would be scary but we found it hilarious. We couldn't stop laughing the whole way. The LP mentions nothing about bats but I should have expected them. My shoes were so useless at one stage that I just had to crouch down and slide down the hill. I was loving every minute of it. We reached an incredibly difficult bit when it got really small and wet. We had to wade through the stream and squeeze through a gap barely big enough for us to fit through and we were back outside. It had been brilliant and well worth the walk.

We headed towards Bumbun Belau hide, a place where you can spend the night and watch the animals, but we planned to get a boat back from the nearby dock. Well that was the plan anyway! We sat around at the dock for an hour before deciding that nothing was going to turn up. It was 7pm by then and we needed to get back before it got dark!

So we had to run the 5km's back to base and the heat was still unbelievable! It took another hour of non stop running, startling the odd monitor lizard on the way, before finally getting back and catching a boat to the other side. By this time it was pitch black and the Cicadas (demon bugs) were starting to come out to play.

They really are the most stupid creatures I have ever seen. They have huge bodies and small wings so they are unable to fly in a straight line and if they land on their back they can't get back up again. When we were sitting in the restaurant they kept flying straight into the tin roof, knocking themselves out and drowning in the river. It's a massacre every night! This forest is 130 million years old and this is the best evolution could offer them? Still they must be doing something right as there are thousands of new victims every night.

When we got back to the chalet I was able to wring out my t-shirt and at least 1/2 pint of sweat came out! By far the hottest day on the trip and one of the best by far, made all the better by the fact that I hadn't spent a penny on tours and saved RM200+ (31) as a result.
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