Sarawak/ Mulu Trip (Part II) - Day 6-8: The Garden of Eden trek
Right after the Pinnacles Trek, our muscles were pretty much slaughtered. People in their right minds would normally take the rest of the week off recuperating in some quiet corner while sipping wine. But we, on the other hand, still had a whole list of programs lined up for the remaining four days, all requiring muscle flexing of some sorts. God help us.
The next day, after the climb, we had to make our way back to the Mulu Park HQ via the way we came - an 8.8 km jungle trek. Despite the flat terrain, we did not look forward to it.
We took it slow and easy, yet that did not stop me from twisting my ankles FOUR times along the trek. Just minor twists, but that added up to one twist every 2.2 km, which is quite a feat, me thinks. They must have loosened after being twisted twice during the Pinnacles climb. Anyway, it was also during this trek that I got my virgin leech bite. haha. Alright, so the leech wasn't exactly as huge as I pictured it to be, but still.
We finally reached the HQ in the late afternoon and checked into our dingy hostel room (which was the only one left because they messed up our booking, but it's alright). We then spent the rest of the evening cabbaging around, washing an obscene amount of mud-smeared clothings, and eating junk for dinner because we couldn't be arsed to find proper stuff to eat. We had a very early night, but was woken up a few times in the middle of the night because every time we tossed or turned, our aching muscles were screaming bloody murder and intruding into our dreams.
The next day, bright and early, we checked out of the dorms and checked into the deluxe longhouse, before going to the airport to pick Wayne up. Being the gungho backpackers that keiko and I normally are, the rather high-end longhouse was such an indulgence. A very worthwhile splurge though, because NO MOSQUITOES YAY! And we had soft pillows, comfy comforters, air-con (OMG!), plus it was en suite with really good-looking toilets. But just a tad too romantic for the three of us, with dim lights and all. haha.
Anyway, that day was also the day we were scheduled to do the Garden of Eden trek together with Wayne the soonest he arrived. We spent the whole morning attempting to chant our muscles back to recovery. But even by the time we sat in the airport waiting for Wayne, we were still pretty much moving around like grandmothers, wincing and limping away, much to the amusement of the security guards standing near us. Anyway so we waited for Wayne to arrive. And waited. And waited. We stood around, ate, drank, got bitten by another hundred mosquitoes, and waited some more. Turned out that his flight was delayed, and he only appeared two hours later. Needless to say, we didn't manage to make it back in time for the Garden of Eden trek. It was postponed til the next day, but keiko and I were secretly a little relieved. Hurrah!
Ended up doing a canopy walk, which is supposed to be the longest canopy walk in southeast asia or something. It was alright, but no big deal.
The first thing Wayne did the moment he had a bit of idle time, was look for beer. So we walked a few kilometres to a dingy little bar away from the HQ, and lo and behold, got caught in a heavy rain on the way back. But the 7 cans of Tiger beer that we were happily lugging back despite the rain, made up for it. After the half a year that passed ever since I last saw Wayne in Gold Coast, I couldn't help but think that there was something very peculiar about us sitting in a longhouse, in the wilderness of Mulu, allll the way in Sarawak, catching up over Tiger Beer while looking at photographs. Yet, in the words of Wayne, It doesn't feel awkward. It doesn't feel like you left, maybe just went away for a while.
And that was exactly how I felt. The memory of that life in Australia was so intense and still so alive, that it was just too easy to pick it up from where I left.
Anyway! The next day was the Garden of Eden trek. It was a trek through the massive Deer cave where we leave the regular boardwalk and then climb down into underground river, past all the bat poo-covered rocks, and to a glowing pool of water which was supposedly the Garden of Eden.
We had to do a lot of climbing up and down with ropes. That was also where I slipped and did an acrobatic act of being suspended mid air. If not for the rope (thank the heavens), I would have tumbled and rolled into the river, and knocked my head on some rocks. Wayne, on the other hand, made it look like a piece of cake. Many of the rocks were covered with guano (bat poo), like a disgusting frosting on top of a cake. According to keiko, when you put your hand on it, it literally sinks in. Thank GOODNESS I was spared that experience.
The water in the underground river was incredibly clear. So very beautiful!
The Garden of Eden Pool.
Because we opted for the River walk as well, from there we got to venture through some walking trails that first involved climbing some rocks to get to the other side of the pool. However, knowing how unsavvy we are when in comes to climbing, keiko and I opted to swim across instead. WAY better. But wetter.
After we got to the other side, the next part involved walking across a stretch of shallow rivers. It was a lot harder than I expected because it was so darn slippery and balancing on precarious surfaces isn't exactly my forte. Keiko had to yell pointers at me from a few metres in front. DON'T STEP ON THAT ROCK! Go that way! Keep LEFT!After that, we made our way back, visited Langs Cave (2nd time for keiko and I), and then waited for the Bat Exodus at the bat observatory, still in our wet clothes, soaked to the bone.
The moment we were out of water, we had to trek along extremely muddy terrain which was FULL OF LEECH (thanks to the heavy rain the night before). It was insane. The leeches were everywhere. Our guide kenneth was constantly pulling out leeches from various parts under his shirt. At one time, he digged into his pants and we thought he was just mucking around but he REALLY did pull a leech out from his groin. I was SO paranoid because strangely, I didn't get any.
Anyway, this trail led us to a really beautiful waterfall and rock pools where we had our lunches and swam and spent probably an hour frolicking in the waters. Didn't take pictures there because we were too busy wading, floating and swimming around :) For some strange reasons, our muscle aches momentarily ceased to exist during this trek.
Even as we were getting ready to go back, there were leeches hiding in our shoes, in Wayne's bag, stealthily sneaking around waiting for the chance to pounce on us. It was disgusting. Keiko was particularly unfortunate, and I had to periodically come to her rescue, armed with leaves, twigs, and an assortment of objects to get them off.
A little toad we found nestled in the hollow of a trail marker. Couldn't resist a shot, but didn't manage to take a better one because just nearby, keiko was already jumping around battling another leech. "FEL! LEECH!!!"
Those dots are actually millions of bats that came pouring out of the cave entrance. Not exactly in an explosive manner like I visualised, but batch by batch. Still quite an eye-opener nonetheless. Headed back to our comfortable longhouse after that, and we got caught in the rain on our way back. AGAIN!
Labels: Malaysia, South east Asia, travel