I’ve been chewing on this one for roughly 24 hours now. I arrived back in Kuching last night. Shoes still squeaking wet across the hotel lobby, sand and salt blasted hair from the beach and the South China Sea… a deep sunburn scorched across my aching body, yet smiling as if I’d won the damn lottery.
Dawn of that day I set out for Bako National Park. Which the trails into the rainforest I was destined for are only reachable by boat. (That’s how you know you’re headed into the shit).
I waited around the boat terminal for 30 min or so as I didn’t hire a guide, I simply bought the ticket, and took the ride, to the tune of about 14$ US for park admission and two one way boat taxi trips.
There is something about ripping across the water, taking the occasional spray with the few “oh shit” moments before a big wave that truly get your blood pumping, and the day started.
Once in the park, most folks have a solid idea what they are up to…I was not that prepared, I thought tagging along with a duo of Swedish girls would be fine, until they turned out to be possible marathon trainees. They selected one of the more difficult trail options and promptly vanished. So much for my Ikea jokes.
So what was I to do? Climb. Climb some more. Keep climbing.
A regular companion who made a few appearances to mock my efforts is shown above. The “bearded pig”. I was super stoked to capture a picture of one of them on the beach.
Now that my team had abandoned me, the sun was peaking and it was becoming hot. Higher I climbed, and the more sweat poured out. The doubt demon begin to take hold. “What the fuck are you doing?! YOU don’t hike mountains.”‘
“Just had to go to Borneo didn’t you”
“Ummm, hey genius, who hikes up a mountain…in the rainforest…during the wet season”
“We are lost, bearded pigs will eat our bones”
“Local news head line “dipshit dies in far away forest”
I’m thinking I might die, when a small group comes crashing around another path that runs into mine. A tall Hollander, a Swede, and a brit. All backpackers who invite me to join them. Well, I’m here to tell you, team work makes the fucking dream work. Our merry band finished the ascent, slowly but surely, and even enjoyed lunch atop old volcanic flow looking down over the beach. I’ve never been that hot in my entire life. Your heart beat coming fast right behind your eyes, sweat forcing them into slits…not enough steam-turned-air getting where it needs desperately to go. But then, there it was. One of the absolute majestic views I’ve ever been lucky enough to absorb.
My companions shared their water, and even their biscuits (cookies) with me. We joked about cultural differences, and what a miserable bag of smashed assholes currently sits in the White House.
There are certain moments which seem
To stretch out and play over and over again in ones mind. Sitting atop that mountain with new found friends watching the water crash on an untainted beach after heavy exertion is one such moment.
By the time we came down, the hour was late, a boat came for beach pickup, I wandered out into the surf, pushing and hopping in for the journey back to the city. Coming around a bend and discovering a pack of otters enjoying a late meal. I remembered a freshly posted sign warning visitors not to swim at any nearby beaches as a spate of crocodile attacks had happened recently.
That jungle is still with me. My shoes are still a bit wet. The socks and boxer briefs from that day didn’t make it back. I’m once again nestled in this crazy metropolis of Singapore and yet my mind keeps drifting back to the jungle. How absolutley alive it is. The hum and pulse of this living thing enveloping you, finally disconnected without even 3g service, just wandering through this multi thousand year being…this process…and remembering what a small place you occupy within it.
This is the first installment…as I am in desperate need of sleep 🙂
Thanks for reading. There will be on Borneo soon I’m sure
Please comment and share your thoughts/feedback.