Friday, May 8, 2009

Jungle Trekking in Danum Valley

Staying at BRL is no walk in the park – it's a trek through the jungle in the mud with hungry leeches ready to suck your blood at any chance they get!
Of course, I purchased the obligatory leech socks – they look sort of like a christmas stocking and go up to just under your knees and you put them over your socks and pants to protect from the tiny brown leeches lurking in the mud.
Then there are the bigger tiger leeches that sit on leaves and branches ready to take a ride and a meal from you, if you get close enough – and those little suckers can strectch quite far!
I am happy to report I did not donate any blood, however I did have a couple of close calls, but I got them off before they had a chance to bite. They are of course, completely harmless and unlike mosquitos they do not carry any diseases, so it's more the the "gross" factor than anything that make it such a big deal!
After lunch we went for the first jungle walk with our guide Fred – who turned out to know nothing about birds!
Since birds are my special favorites, I was not pleased with that and later in the evening I managed to secure a private birding guide for the next day. Otherwise we had a nice walk through the jungle on some of the trails close to the lodge, and we saw a mother and baby Orangutan, so that was quite exciting! We also saw a group of Redleaf Monkeys and I got a few good photos of them.
We heard a lot "jungle sounds" and birds, but only saw a glimpse of a few, and as mentioned our guide could only point out that it was a "green" bird – not good enough for me!
Did I mention it was hot and humid??
When we returned I took a rest at my lovely chalet before I was scheduled for a night drive in the jungle.
We were about 8 people on the back of a truck, and we drove around with a guide shining a big flashlight into the jungle trying to spot nocturnal creatures.
We saw a flying squirrel crawl up a tree, and a green insect landed on my knee, other than that it was pretty uneventful!

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