Long Bagun and the jungle

Trip Start Jul 02, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Took the ferry to Long Bagun at 9am which would take us another 13 1/2 hours up the Makaham into the middle of Kalimantan/Borneo. On the way Lexi let me use her Kindle (an eBook reader) and I started to read a translation of the Qu'ran out of personal interest since we're in a very islamic part of Indonesia here. And also in Ramadan.
At 22:30pm we eventually arrived in Long Bagun. After checking into the local Dayak guesthouse everything was closed up, so we went to bed straight away. Not to mention that my bum is hurting from all the sitting around on planks over the last 3 days!! :)

After a quick breakfast - mie (noodles) yet again, we organized the 3 day jungle trip with Mr Usman, the guy that runs the guesthouse and is coincidentally the Dayak Bahun medicine man.
In the late morning we headed off to find a Dayak village and a small river to bathe in, since the mandi of the guesthouse got washed away by the Mahakam. We didn't really find the village, but went cross country into the jungle and discovered a couple of houses of some local workers. Then we headed through the jungle again to find the river, but got stuck in dead ends, so we went back onto the main track and finally found a little stream just off the track. Wonderfull feeling to have a bath after the long journey on the boat and through the searing humid jungle!
When we got back to the guesthouse, Mr Usman showed us some Dayak masks and machetas which were really great. We managed to talk him into selling a macheta each to Lexi and me. After a lot of strenuous bargaining, he sold me one for 1 million rupiah, which he would also fix up till we get back from our jungle-trekking. Also met Bernadette again, who had just arrived back from a 1 night tour to the jungle.
In the evening we just had some chicken sate again and then went to bed early to be fit for the trekking.

Got up and ready to leave by 8:30am. Our guides - Thomas and Balthasar - wrapped up our rucksacks in plastic sheets on a long-boat and off we went up the Mahakam and after about an hour turned left into on of the side arms. First there were still lots of signs of civilization, especially the logging sites, but after some time the river got smaller and the current stronger and the jungle took over. We had lunch with some locals on a rocky beach with some friends of Thomas. They had been hunting and fishing and invited us to eat with them. Since I don't like fish, they offered me something else: stewed monkey, which was really good. After some socializing we got on our way and arrived at our first campsite at around 13:30pm. On the way up the river was becoming more and more a strong mountain stream and we had to get out of the boat a few times to get it across some rocky passage.
The site was really messed up, so Lexi and me started to collect all the rubbish first. Then we hieved the boat up of the shore and started to build the camp, which basically consisted of a few sticks to hold the plastic sheet for the roof. Since the sticks for the bedding were missing, we decided to create the bedding on the floor. The bedding consisted of a plasic sheet of about 2x4m.
After work was done we jumped into the jungle river to cool down and have a wash. The guides got out their fishing net and caught some small fishes for dinner.
After the fun, they prepared the fish, always 2 on a stick and roasted them over the fireplace. With the fish we had mie and I got out my can of corned-beef which we shared between us. Afterwards we got ready for bed.

The night was all a bit cramped, because they put logs on all edges of the small plastic sheet, so the sleeping was not really comfortable.
After a breakfast of mie soup, we broke up camp and headed off into the jungle. The track led us along the riverside, under trees, across little streams up- and downhill until we got to our next campsite. Here, the camp was cleaner and also the branches for the bedding were complete. So we set up the camp again and then took course for Bata Ayu, a mountain which marks the border between central and east Kalimantan. The track led us up and up and further up along trails which were hardly a foot's width, covered in slippery mud, and with drop-offs of about 30-50m, picking of the leeches as we walked along. We hangled ourselves along from rock to rock and root to root always going up. On the way we saw some carnivorous plants, the rest (spines) of a porcupine and an unidentifiable baby snake. The last few meters we climbed up a couple of very dodgy shaking ladders, the last of which led us right to the summit. What a view from up there!
From the summit we walked a short way to a few friends of Thomas' the guide balancing over a log of murky water. Drank a tea with them and watched them fish tiny fishes in the murky water. After tea we headed back to the summit and back the way we came.
At the camp we went straight into the jungle stream and enjoyed the massaging little waterfalls :)
We had the usual mie for dinner and then headed for bed. I was just 'picking up a flower' (in other words: having a pee) and came back to the camp when I trod in a highway of red jungle ants which sting like a bee and burn like hell for about 20 minutes - and about 20 of them got me.
Then we noticed that they were trying to invade the camp, making their way up on every corner-pole! In fact you can die if too many get you, you get unconscious and could die of shock and poisoning. So the guides were saying 'Problem, problem' and washing the ants down the poles and bedding-branches with water. Then we lit a fire on both sides putting loads of wet leaves on them to scare them off with smoke. After about 1 1/2 hours we were finally rid of them. Just lucky I brought the moskito net though!

After a fairly good nights sleep, we had the mie-breakfast and broke up camp to head back to the first campsite where our boat was lying.
At the stream, we quickly did some washing, putting it to dry on the hot rocks, and jumped into the cooling wet!f
Stayed there and watched the beautiful butterflies and dragonflies. Since the water had fallen, they took the boat a little downstream past the rocks, so we had to cross the rushing stream until we finally skippered back to Long Bagun.
At Long Bagun, we got some refreshing drinks, shopped for the long journey back to Samarinda and had at least something other than mie - chicken sate.

Got up at 6am to get the ferry at 6:45am. Had some time to update my dairy and get some sleep.

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