Trekking the primary jungle in Kalimantan (Part 2)

(continued from the previous blog entry)

Stage Two

After a good night of sleep on the warm jungle floor we get ready for the day. We put on our wet cloth and wait for the coffee to be served :-). A little later, we get our breakfast of rice with salted fish.

At 6am it is already day. Sunrise is shortly after 5am. The haze is still present.

Ready for the day.

The cloth are still wet, but at least it's warm.

The smell of our cloth has evolved from fresh over sweaty to mildewed. Especially the climbing over wet trees has left traces of fungus that produce "that certain smell". But as we all smell the same...

Then, the trekking continues. This day will be remembered by both of us, as the most exhausting trekking we have ever done! We follow the summits of a small ridge for the next 6h. And by following I mean "no detour". It is always straight up of straight down. Why take it easy, if you can do it the hard way!

Going up.

Always following the guides.

There are leeches in the jungle.

You can not avoid leeches in the jungle. At least they are not poisonous or otherwise dangerous. They are just nasty little creeps.

Twisted wood.

Roadsign for the next trip.

There is something growing everywhere.

A big tree at one of our rest.

Beautifully twisted liana.

At lunch, our guide Edo (best guide of all) surprises us with - a watermelon! We are already getting tired when he pulls out a big watermelon and cuts it into pieces. This is pure luxury. Being out there in the middle of nowhere but with a tasty melon.

Enjoying the watermelon

After lunch it is another two hours trekking to our camp. The last hour we just try not to fall as we walk up and down the hills or wade through small streams. Then, suddenly we have arrived :-)

The jungle at our camp.

Beautiful light as the sun gets lower.

A beautiful place

The fire is inside the tent. Bad for the smell, good for the picture.

Preparing dinner in the stream.

Our guide Edo is washing the carrots.

Our camp for the night.

Hanging cloth for drying :-)

One of our guides making firewood.

Now we know, why they were faster than us. No fat, just muscles.

A well deserved coffee

Edo cooking dinner.

Nightfall 1

Nightfall 2.

An interesting fact for us: our guides always left the light on during the night. When we asked, they would say that they wanted to hunt. But we newer heard or saw anyone going hunting. We don't know why the do it, but if you ever do the same trip, take something to shade your eyes.

Stage Three

As always, the starts with rice and salted fish. The guides hurry to be ready by 8:30 am.

Morning light (with haze)

Like a postcard from the jungle.

Remains of our breakfast.

The trekking today is not as hard as the day before. It is more wet than dry trekking and water doesn't flow uphill :-).

Birdsnest with three little eggs inside.

After 4h the vegetation changes abruptly. What was jungle 10m before, is now gras and bush. We walk past an ancient rice field and another 10min later we are at the main river. Trekking stops here. We are a little surprised. So is Edo. Apparently our local guides have decided that we are too slow and would make it to the planned pick-up point in time.

Checking for leeches at the river bank.

A soaked up leech.

This is how it looks, when you pull it off. It bleeds for another 30min to 1h. Looks much more gross than it really is.

Happy after the trip.

I go fishing with the guides

A butterly on a rucksack.

Throwing the net

Coming back, only a handfull of fish caught.

Back in Nanga Howath. We have washed our cloth. Notice the little sun. But haze is still strong.

Arak and Paracetamol

Back in Nanga Howath, our guides join their families for dinner. We have ours prepared by Edo, after each of us had a bath in the river. After dinner, the guides arrive together with their wifes to get paid. The men hand out the money to their women. The we sit around and talk. The women ask, if we have medicine to spare. They ask for malaria medicine, insect bite relief or Paracetamol. Luckily we have brought some extra pain relief. We pimp our gifts with the rest of our Paracetamol. Once the gifts are exchanged, the women go back to the village. I pay the Arak and our local guide comes back with 2 liters for 6 persons!

We drink it all :-)

Our local guide

Our local guide

Our local guide

and Edo.

During our conversation, we are told, that years ago (1969 to 1971) a swiss researcher named "Bucher" visited the village to learn the differen Dayak dialects. The village teached them four. He promised to write it all down in a book. He left the village in 1971 and send a letter in 1971. Since then they never heard of him again. But they speak of him, as if it had been yesterday. He had done a lot for the village and they are still proud, that he choose them to learn the Dayak dialects.

In the dark we make a promise to ourselves, to look up this Mr. Buher and maybe get in touch with him and tell him about our adventure.

So long for our trekking in Kalimantan. Cu out there somewhere,