Something About Don't Stray from the Trail?

Trip Start Sep 15, 2012
Trip End May 01, 2013

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Flag of Malaysia  , Sabah,
Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Woke up at 8.30 and had a breakfast that even Cath would have been proud of! Muesli with freshly cut pineapple and banana and wanky soya milk. The breakfast of champions which we took on the veranda overlooking the rainforest and with the Gillian McKeith stool of approval we walked to reception to deposit a few other valuables.

When we arrived it was clear that nobody had been arsed to turn up for work - lazy bastards - and we had a sudden realisation that not being scientists or Malaysian we might as well get used to being way down on the priority list...With no map and with no one duly informed of our hiking plans (we had been warned not to go into the virgin rainforest without a guide) we headed into the virgin rainforest without a guide.

With our amateur clothing (no leech socks or waterproofs) and our basic navigational skills we wondered if we might get wet or lost. We did however, have a hasty photo taken on a camera phone of a vaguely carved wooden route map and armed with this we felt confident to embark on a not so well defined trail into the wilderness in search of orang-utans.

After about an hour it became painfully obvious that these routes were the ones where it was compulsory to have a tracker and, boy, did we need one! As we crunched, climbed and skidded through the dense forest we dodged spider webs, more spiders underfoot, jumping spiders, swimming spiders, mosquitos, bees and beasties - not to mention the glorious new acquaintance we had with leeches.......

Paula became flustered and distressed by the continuing discovery of the bloodsuckers on her legs, stomach and neck...

Vikki commented that they were just 'worms with a thirst for blood' (we were to see just how much blood in a few hours time) and so that made it all better...

After hiking along a network of trails that all seemed to end abruptly in deep crevasses with huge uprooted trees lying on their sides, and more leeches, we became disheartened with these continual impassable ravines and decided to retrace our footsteps if we had any hope of getting back alive or before nightfall.

Back at an observation deck overlooking the river we began the unsavoury task of stripping off our footwear to rid ourselves of our little leech friends. Helping Paula, Vikki peeled off a horrendously smelly rugby sock and took great pleasure in turning the juicy specimens into hard-cooked twigs using the lighter she'd bought Paula for Christmas. Paula examined the back of her right ankle, aghast, there were three gaping love bites oozing with her blood. After a long winded and slightly panicky exorcism we rebooted and headed to reception to once again try booking a tracker for tomorrows hikes, and this time, thankfully, a member of staff was there.

After booking a guided hike to Timbaling Waterfall for tomorrow we enquired about leech socks - there was no way Paula was going to survive another day without additional protection. We also booked a night drive in the hope of seeing wild cats and flying skirrels.

Walking back to the bunk house Paula spotted a monitor lizard floating like drift wood in the river and then, as if hitting the wildlife lottery, we saw a majestic deer off in the distance. It was at this point that we spotted the entrance to the 'self-guided' nature trail that we thought we were on this morning and with it's simple boarded walks, looping route and informative flora and fauna boards we couldn't understand how we had got it so wrong and ended up in unchartered territory. We decided to have a little ramble along it to see what would unfold but halfway through it started bucketing down and when the leeches became unbearable we called it a day and headed back to the bunkhouse.

As we rounded the corner we heard Nate shout down to us from a small observation lodge "seen any orang-utans yet?" and swiftly followed his question by pointing to the tree top before us. Lo and behold, there nestled a large male just chilling out in the treetops and we sat watching him moving high above, overjoyed that we had got to experience one of these amazing creatures living wild in their natural habitat.

We decided to join the pair for a dusk wildlife viewing and were lucky enough to see a large wild pig snuffling around and a family of deer grazing in the soon to be moonlight.

We had dinner at sundown and, taking the lead from Mr Orang-utan, settled into our dorm for a chill out and to pick at our bum and eat what was on our finger.
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annewardell on

DON'T go into the scary forest again without a guide, naughty girls!!

PS: wheere are the photos of Paula's pet leeches? xxxxx

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