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He only went out for some milk A blurb of monstrous proportions - it was only supposed to be a couple of lines and the odd photo.

Taman Negara

MALAYSIA | Tuesday, 3 July 2007 | Views [5445] | Comments [1]

It looks like i want the toilet...maybe i do.  It's not easy taking a photo of yourself.

It looks like i want the toilet...maybe i do. It's not easy taking a photo of yourself.

It's with a particularly slow and cold bus that i crawl my way to Taman Negara National Park.  It's a full day of travelling and I'm glad of the final leg which is by boat - I'm so chilled that i start falling asleep.  This would be nice except my dropping off is the dropping of one of my legs into the water - it's a shocking and wet wake-up call to me and half the boat.  The girl next to me was soaked - i had to laugh even though i was really embarrassed and sorry - i don't think she appreciated that.

Taman Negara is really well set-up - with trails and treks, hides to sleep in and (hopefully) watch animals from, a jungle canopy walkway several meters in the air (I spent most of my time on it desperately wafting the bugs away which kept landing and then dying in my ears - that will make an interesting q-tip session later I muse), and lots of nice tours for the tourists, of which there are many of all shapes and sizes.  Who comes for serious trekking weighing 20 stone and wearing flip flops?!  Luckily there are serious and expensive buffets to attempt.  The headquarters are a dream with wooden huts and landscaped gardens, complete with wild pigs and monitor lizards, which is why i couldn't dream of staying there -far too expensive.  I stayed just across the river and soon regretted my, 'I've just got off the boat and I'm tired first choice'.  There's basic (which i can put up with) and then there's basic crap - mine was definitely the latter.  I changed after 1 night - i feared for my health.

I've come to the park for the trekking, i want to be Mr anti-social and go off in the jungle by myself.  Most of the trails are fairly reasonable and you don't need a guide (never mind what the books and stuff tell you), at least that's what I've convinced myself of.  For my first day i pick a route that takes in a hide, a fishing hut, and a river crossing.  It's only when i get to the river that i remember that i have to cross it (my sandals would have been good).  Going across is fine though, it's only up to my knees.  It's when i get to the other side that i have problems, as i can't find the trail.  I spend a while looking for it, and then spend a while thinking I'm walking on it, becoming worried when i haven't found the fishing hut as expected.  I'd been following deer tracks but i hadn't seen any human ones - it's a light bulb moment when i realise that I'm on a deer trail.  I'm nowhere near the right path, I'm in the middle of the jungle, several hours walk from camp and I can't remember the exact way i came.  I'm in trouble...

Maybe I'm finally starting to learn, after all getting lost is something I'm used to.  I'd left a couple of marks on my way and taken a few compass bearings, and so eventually i got to where i could hear the river and found the correct trail.  Wow, i know - I'm surprised.  I admit i got a little worried.  I've never trekked by myself in Asia before, and this is a very big jungle, with tigers and bears, and nobody knows where i am.  Trekking here is really tough too.  It's very hot and VERY humid.  I look ridiculous as i sweat so much - the worst is in the first 30 mins of walking, before my trousers are completely soaked through.  Before then it looks as though I've p'd myself! 

It's with relief that i decide to turn around and head back - I'm absolutely knackered.  I manage to find the right path to the river and i use their recommended river crossing.  This one goes above my waist, it's OK though as i have Dawn (the day pack) to give me buoyancy, I also have my camera in my teeth.  It now doesn't seem such a good idea to take pics while in the middle of the river...

The trekking is amazing, the forest is a lush, green, vibrant, noisy force that is just teeming with life.  You have to be very careful where you put your feet and hands.  There are millions of ants and some of them are HUGE and very aggressive.  There are also lots of leeches in certain areas.  This one time (in band camp) I'm balanced on one legs desperately trying to get rid of a leech that's half in and half out of one of the air holes of my trainer, and I'm surrounded my leeches that are desperately crawling on the forest floor in a mad, blood frenzy to reach me.  It was like something out of Aliens!  Seriously!  These little buggers are scary.  If you look very carefully you can see them waiting in the middle of the path, standing straight, and waving their head around.  If they detect you they go straight for you and they are fast!  I get rid of dozens on my days in the jungle.  My last day after the rains was the worst.  On getting back to base, I take off my bloody socks to find 2 leeches, 1 beetle and 1 head of an ant (I wondered where that went) and 5 leech bites. 

I'm fairly lucky i think for what i get to see on my day treks and night safaris: wild boar, a family of deer, lots of birds including a huge woodpecker, civet cats, slow loris (which are soooo cute), Orang Asli (the local aboriginal people), leopard cats and various lizards - fortunately no snakes and millions upon billions of insects and bugs.  It's great.  This has been a few very nice and very tiring days.  The jungle is awesome.  Next time I'll camp out and bring a friend and some leech socks....

Tags: trekking, wildlife




lol love to read your blog...shane: because of your comment i re-read my blog, it seems a very long time ago...those bloody leaches still give me nightmares.

  ana May 1, 2008 3:22 AM

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one ruined t-shirt and one ruined pair of trousers.  cool.

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