Taman Negara:… The Mighty Jungle

Kuala Tahan

We left the Cameron Highlands by bus & headed to Taman Negara. This gigantic ecosystem is a mountainous rainforest rich with rare wildlife, & is actually one of the oldest rainforests in the world.We arrived late to Kuala Tahan, the park headquarters, & struggled to find a hostel in the small village. After dragging ourselves round town for 45 minutes, all the while carrying our now humongous backpacks, we heard of a few wooden chalets out in the sticks that were probably not full. A dark road, a borrowed torch, a few cuss words & 10 minutes later we found Rock Chalets, overjoyed that we could finally drop those damn bags!! The next morning we woke up 2 hours later than planned, but well refreshed for the physical day ahead. The temperature was unreal & the humidity was indescribable… perfect for jungle trekking!?! 

River crossing

 We made our way down to the pier & onto the long-tail boat that would take us across the 20 yards of water to the National Park where all the trails begin. They could of course build a bridge quite easily but that would cost the locals several jobs so they continue with the minute & farcical river traverse… it almost made me want to swim across!! Devious gits! But the price was pretty insignificant so I bit my lip & hopped aboard.

 

 

In amongst the canopy

 We headed straight for the ‘Canopy Walk’, the highest wooden suspension bridge in the world! It was a slightly nerve-racking experience, especially with the fairly violent swaying, which prompted Nicky to make me wait for a VERY long time until she was an ample distance ahead. The views were awesome. Looking down into the thick undergrowth sprawl through the gaps in the rainforest canopy. We could hear monkeys all around us, swinging nonchalantly from branch to branch, screeching every now & then. We didn’t see any though!… but it was a great experience all the same. 

Green carpet

We continued at ground level for the remainder of the day, though the description of ‘ground level’ should be taken lightly as we trekked up Bukit Teresek… Which of course meant a ridiculously steep incline to overcome before gawking at the breathtaking views. After an inexplicable amount of sweat & energy expended we reached the lookout point. It was worth every bead of sweat. A stunning landscape lay beneath us. Dense, verdant jungle carpeted every inch the eye could see, stretching from directly below our feet right the way to the horizon. One could only attempt to envision the wildlife it holds, almost certainly falling far short of the mark.  

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We bounded back down into the jungle, a significantly easier descent than the corresponding climb, & stopped off at the river for a dip. That was the intention, but we were so worn out we just lay & ate our long over due lunch in the form of some now crushed sandwiches, & tried to replenish the copious amounts of water we had just exhausted. Back to our cabin in the woods for a shower & change of clothes before shooting back into town for a heartier meal than squashed sandwich!… needless to say we had a bloody good munch!! Nicky & I both annihilated dinner & headed home soar & sorry for ourselves. Onward to the next challenge tomorrow!
 

~ Rhys ~

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