Madlen on Canopy Walk

Madlen on river crossing

Kumbung Hide


My next stop was Taman Negara National Park, which claims to be the oldest rainforest in the world – no impact from the ice ages and no volcanic activity. Just prior to Taman I met Madlen, from Switzerland, and we teamed up to seek out adventure. The three hour river boat ride into the park was the perfect introduction to the rainforest.

From Nusa Camp, we hiked to mountain tops, waterfalls and swimming holes. The Canopy Walk is special. It is nine narrow bridges totaling 500 meters in length. The highest one is 30 meter off the ground. Each bridge is anchored to the top of a tree, where you connect to the next bridge. I felt like I was in a jungle movie.

After one of our hikes, I took off my sandals at a swimming hole and saw blood running down my foot. From the stories, I knew what it was right away. I looked at my sandal and saw the culprit was still there… a leech. The big fat boy, from my blood, slipped between the loops of the velcro on my sandals, while he was skinny. I poured salt (removes leeches) on him and… you really don’t want to know the rest of the gory details. I told one of the guides back at camp about the leech. He said I had three on me, because they only bite once. The other two escaped. He said his record is 73 on one foot, yuck!

I brought the next one on myself. We were swimming at a waterfall and Madlen, being a nurse, noticed how big my veins are. I told her about a nurse who called them ropes one time, when he took blood from me, and then I started pumping them up. The leeches’ eyes were probably bulging out when they saw it. Sure enough, a baby one leeched onto my forearm when we were leaving the waterfall.

Our final adventure at Taman was spending the night in the Kumbung Hide, a tower overlooking a salt lick in a grassy clearing, to watch for wild animals. The guys at camp teased us about coming out with more leech bites. On the way to the hide, Madlen had two on her sock, and then I saw one on the trail reaching out for me. Madlen saw two more and then we were practically running like little school girls. We managed the obstacle course of ropes and mud in 40 minutes. Six other people joined us at the hide.

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