Why did the lion get lost?


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August 31st 2010
Published: August 31st 2010
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Welcome to part 7 of the blog!

So after a week in Kota Bharu reuben had recovered and we could finally head into the jungle. We left Voice Of Travellers (our hostel) @ 06:30 to catch the 07:15 train from Wakah Bharu station. I had been looking forward to the jungle railway for a long time and it didn't disappoint. It takes around 7 hours to reach Jerantut and the route, as the name suggests, cuts right through the middle of the jungle. Despite signs at either end of each carriage warning about the dangers of leaving the side doors open, this is exactly what the train workers did, allowing an awesome and sometimes scary view of the jungle as we wound our way up and down mountains, over bridges and across narrow old river crossings with huge drops on both sides. You have to hold on tight as its a bumpy ride and it wouldn't be too hard to go flying out of the door, down into the jungle.

We spent a night in Jerantut and in the morning caught a bus to Tembeling jetty, from there we got on a wooden narrow boat for a very scenic 3 hour trip down the river Tembeling. The boat only sat about 4" out of the water and was a little cramped but it was an enjoyable trip watching monkeys swing in the trees on the riverbank and passing a few Orang Asli (original people) settlements.

After 3 hours we arrived at Kuala Tahan, the village is situated across the river from the entrance to Taman Negara national park. Kuala Tahan is a collection of small budget hostels near the river, more expensive resorts further back into the jungle and a number of floating restaurants on the river itself. We booked into a dorm at the Tembeling River View Hostel and after dinner had an early night. The following day we caught a river taxi across to the park proper, we had a map of trails and treks which included the 40ft canopy walkway.

We found the walkway easily enough and after 5 minutes of steeling myself (to overcome my fear of heights) we paid the entrance fee and climbed the tower to the start. The walkway itself is constructed of ladders, laid flat and tied together, planks of wood are laid on top of these and the whole lot is suspended 40ft up in the tree tops by ropes and cables attached to various branches. There were 5 or 6 of these sections, in between each section is a narrow wooden platform around a tree which acts as a slightly more solid place to catch your breath before moving on. The whole walkway bounces up and down, swings to and fro whilst creaking loudly. There is a rope at either side at about nipple height and the sides of the walkway are netting. In England we have similar walkways you can go on, the difference being you are harnessed and roped in! The most difficult section for me was the descent at the end, here the ladders stop lying flat and horizontal, instead they slope down at a very steep angle for about 30ft, there are no planks to walk on here and the side ropes and netting are only about knee height. Despite all of this i managed to complete the walkway without crapping myself and felt pretty good about it afterwards!

After the walkway we intended to follow a trail on the map, a 2 hour walk over a hill called Bukit Terserek and past the swimming point in the river where we would stop for a while before catching a boat back to the village. The trek through the jungle started off well, it was little more than a gentle walk along a clear path which followed the curve of the river. About half hour into the walk the going started to get a little tougher, we hadn't seen any trek signs for a while and were now having to scramble over fallen trees and cross small streams. We stopped to check the map and were sure the path we wanted was a little further ahead, so we pushed on. The path became harder still, we had to rope ourselves up and over rock formations, then climbed muddy banks until we reached a point about 80ft above the river, overlooking some big drops, here there was a signpost that confirmed something we had both known for over an hour, we were lost!

The view from this spot, called Bukit Indah, was actually quite spectaculor but we were more concerned with the fact we were both very hot and tired, also it was getting on for 3 o'clock and we didn't fancy getting stuck in the jungle overnight on our own. We decided to turn back, about 5 mins after we had climbed back down to river level, we heard a noise i can only describe as a cross between a dogs bark, and a sort of growl/grunt but very loud, deep and resonant. i immediately jumped onto a fallen log and reuben grabbed a big stick whilst we scanned the area looking for whatever beast was capable of making such a noise. And then i saw it, the fearsome WILD PIG, silver grey in colour, much bigger than the wild boar we get in the UK. It was running to our right, parallel to the path we were on and following it were 3 piglets about the size of a young female staffy. The noise had been a clear warning to stay away so we stopped for a few mins before carrying on.

Maybe an hour after this we passed the sign for the path we should of taken to Bukit Terserek! We reached the swimming spot about 5 o'clock and stopped there for a half hour before heading back to the village. The day turned out to be quite an adventure, albeit one that left us both hot and exhausted, reuben especially as he elected to go into the jungle wearing pyjama bottoms and a fairly thick, long sleeved top (to keep the bugs away) which as he will tell you is not the most adequate trekking gear. I had a great time and this just gave me a taste for some more trekking!

To be continued ....

Ive just added another 40 pics on facebook so check them out there!



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just so u can see how high/steep it is
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11th September 2010

great blog
enjoyed reading it very much, must have had good times

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