Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Phase 1: Alpha 8's 12 day trek diary

Phase 1's Alpha 8 kept a diary of their 12 day trek in the region of Long Pasia. This area is one of the richest sites of plant diversity in Borneo in particular for orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants.  In addition the people of the area have an interesting history as fierce head hunters.  There are many ancient legends passed down through the generations which make this a fascinating place to spend some time as well as being thick and untouched jungle

Alpha 8 in the jungle
Day 1: Arriving at Long Pasia after an 8 hour journey we saw spectacular views of hills and rainforest from the 4x4's. We met our guide Noor 'the Legend' and our guides Roy and Jackson - they were all related.

PM's Refat, Kris and Beth with guide Noor 'The Legend'

Day 2: We left the village and soon got our first leech attack (the non-Malaysians). Noor gave us all a king wood necklace to 'protect' us from the jungle spirits and nightmares. They put it on for us all and we were so touched.

Day 3: We heard and saw a pack of beautiful wild dogs running around and they really amazed us.

Day 4: We climbed the steepest and highest point of our trek - up at 2.5hr slope. Exhausting but rewarding, everyone was very supportive of each other. Even though some of us had our down moments we made it through thanks to our lovely team mates and PMs. We also had our first overnight rain experience in the rainforest.

Day 5: Due to the overnight rain the slopes were muddy and difficult to desend slowly and carefully. Everyone was falling down so much (and funnily) so thankfully someone decided to slide down by sitting down and everyone followed - under our guides' guidance of course. It was so much fun! We arrived at Bamboo Camp - what a stunning view! We showered in the river with everyone and it started to rain so that was nice as well. Later on we realised that it's called a rainforest because it rains so often (probably).

Carlijn, Sabrina, Emily, Erwin, Catriona, Charlie, Dan and Dan at camp

Day 6: During our first trek break Noor showed us a rock formation on the ground which looked like a crocodile and he told us an amazing myth regarding Borneo's strongest warrior Upaya Semarin and his two most beautiful partners (PMs Kris, Refat and Beth). A few hours later we saw a monkey swinging from tree to tree above us.

Day 7: Rest day. It started off with Noor teaching us how to make traps and some jungle skills which really amazed us. his jungle knowledge is just incredible. That night we gathered around the guides' campfire and the cooked us a wonderful dinner of rice, mushroom, local chillis. After dinner we all stayed on to chill out and play some games. Everyone sang and danced and due to the diversity of our group we had a variety of performances. The best night so far and more to come.

Dan learning how to use a Perang
Day 8: We trekked to Maga Fall. This was our longest trek at 7hrs in duration. We started with a tai chi warm up from Zino and soon we were trekking. The grasses were as tall as our shortest team mate (Sabrina from KK) and it got in our way with every step we took, but we got through it eventually. Back into the steep rainforest. Once in a while when we got on top of a hill we would look down at a scenic view of Long Pasia. We crossed many rivers, some shallow and some knee deep, but the one we all remember was the last one as it was huge, long and waist deep (for Sabrina). It seemed impossible but with the help of our guides and our knowledge of safe river crossings from our training we made it across. We embraced each other with a hug upon arrival because we were so happy and proud that we had done it. That night we slept so soundly and so early to the sounds of falling waters called Maga Falls.

At the falls
Day 9: Noor took us on a tour of a cave where the 'great warrior' lived and told us his story. he told us that he tried to live in a cave but failed and finally built a house in the jungle. He then showed us a bat cave by dropping a head torch down to see the bats. Finally we went to a nearby waterfall. It was very slippery and we were the first Raleigh group to ever trek there as it was challenging to access so we were really pleased. We headed back to our camp and had lunch and relaxed and Noor made us some grass made clothes and used mud to give us jungle tattoos. He then taught us a local dance for warriors and this was a really great way to learn about his culture. We ended the day making bracelets from wood sticks.

Alpha 8 getting into the jungle spirit

Day 10: We left Maga Falls on what was supposed to be a 4hr trek but we finished it in 2hrs. Noor said it was because we were such a strong group.

Catriona, Erwin and Sabrina
Day 11: With Long Pasia only one day away we were in jolly spirits on day 11 and again took only 2hrs to reach our camp where we spent our last night in the jungle with our three guides who had been an inspiration to us during this trek and did some things none of us had thought possible.

Day 12: We packed up our bash and tarps one last time before trekking the 2hrs to Long Pasia. We finally arrived after 12 days in the jungle despite being hot and sweaty and probably not smelling too fresh (although none of us seemed to notice) we arrived in Long Pasia together as a team. during the 12 days we had become a great team and bonded so much. The satisfaction of completing the trek was topped off by an amazing home stay, doughnuts, a shower, a good meal and a party at Noor's house and we all left Long Pasia the next day wishing we could stay there a little longer. Such a lovely village and villagers!

Farewell to lovely Long Pasia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Naveed,
Hope all is well with you. This is a small note to say Navruz mubarak to you from everyone in Milton Keynes and wish you all the best on this New Years day.
Hope everything goes well for you this year.
Lots of love from Bapa, Maa, nazir masa and family and lastly everyone from my family. XXX