Saturday, the weather was hot, clear skies and bright.. Nice for some jungle and mountain trekking. The destination was, Mount Gading, with a height of 900m. It is a popular spot for sighting the blooming Raffesia, jungle trekking and the waterfall is quite nice as well. The largest flower in the world, Rafflesia, bloom infrequently and have brief flowering period. Visitors are advised to check with the Park Headquarters at Gunung Gading National Park or the National Park Booking Office to find out if any flowers are about to bloom or already in full bloom.
Normally I’d be trekking alone, but this time since my colleagues from the office was organizing a trip here, I might as well join the party and have a nice fun happy walk with them. 🙂 Plus, I think it would make a nice blog entry too…
The rest of the team members was already there when we arrived, me and my friend J, (identity hidden for privacy..) on one car took off a bit late because we stopped to get some breakfast and supplies on the way. Funny thing is, when I am on the steering wheel, I always get sarcastic remarks for being a fast, careless, dangerous, or what ever words you can think of, but when J was on the wheels, she was no different and just the same as I was. (..pitty that poor uncle on the motorbike J.? __ 😉 ).
After a nice pleasant drive, we arrived at the entrance, and waited for another friend to show up, well at least we were not the last. A group was already on their way up because they didn’t wanted to wait too long. So the second group, which included me, after completing our registration fees and all.. started our walk.
For most of them it was the first time here and with high spirits and motivation we took off. After walking about 10 minutes, the sweat was coming, breath was getting heavy and the body seems to be heavier and heavier… well, it’s normal as the body is still warming up and adapting from the comfort life we usually have. I followed as the last person and normally that would to be the “sweeper”. Being the last person on line, I can see the pace and frequency that we were moving, some were fast, some was slow and stopped frequently and some couldn’t keep up. It was at the 200m mark, that one of us was really out of breath, P, (identity hidden for privacy) could not barely stand and speak, pale faced, and puffing for air, I advised P, to return back and take it easy. Most of them was high spirited and physically fit. Those who are not that fit, lagged a bit, but occasionally, some motivating and “kick in the-ass” is all that is needed to keep them going. The normal whimpering and whining is counter measured with, “we are almost there” repeatedly again and again I think every 10-20 feet of climbing and stop. 😥
I didn’t plan to go the whole way up to the summit this time but to go to waterfall 7 only. Reaching waterfall 7, there was a group of students, quite a number of them there from the zoology studies of the faculty of science and technology UNIMAS, doing some practical assignment for their studies. They were merrily swinging and flapping their butterfly catcher, catching insect, butterfly and sampling them in their small triangle shaped boxes.
The waterfall was nice. Most of us was already in the water enjoying the cool fresh stream. Having a great time with family and friends. Meanwhile, since I was equipped with my speedlight, I thought maybe I would get some interesting images of wildlife first. Searching around the rock and, crevasse, saw some frogs (nope, got that already ), butterfly (also got that too), Ahh.. a water slider, that might be interesting.!
I had to manual focus, stay still at a fixed position and with some patience and after 20-30 shot and a few swearing…. finally got that.! What next.? well splashing in the water seems so nice at this moment, plus the fact that my friends are in the water. I didn’t plan bathing for this trip, but the seducing reflection and splashing just overcame me, so without any a due, blatantly asked N( identity hidden for privacy), if he had any extra shorts, borrowed it, change behind one of the boulders (had no towels… ) and jumped in.. woohooo..!
Most of my experience, when ever I go outing like this. Most of them don’t know how to swim/afraid of the water, so they would just stick to the rock, waddle in the shallow parts, splash water around and act like a fish about to die.. Which such a nice place, It’s just not justified.! So, as always, I’d teach some basics “moves” in the water and how to swim. A couple even asked me to teach them how I did my head jump. So with some advise and encouragement they made it with success and so much fun…
What comes up must go down. After all the fun and jokes, it’s time for the descend. Not as tiring as climbing was but still take care not to fumble and slip as that can be dangerous. Personally, I have fallen when on descend more than when I am climbing, luckily just scratches and strained ankles.
On the way down, my friend said that he got bitten by a leach earlier when climbing to the summit… strangely, he’s the only one who got it. What a lucky guy. It was nothing serious and he survived btw. They sprayed the blood sucker with a repellent and it fell off just like that. The trip was fun and very enjoyable, lots of fun, jokes, noise and splashes. If there is another grouping like this, I’ll surely do it again.