Minggu, 11 Mei 2014


A Journey To The Roof of Indonesia

carstensz track
"Men stumble over pebbles, never over mountains."
Marilyn French
In Part 1 Paman told us about how he got along with locals at Sugapa and Swanggama. Now the real expedition to Carstensz pyramid begins !

Day 3 - 6 : JAMBUSIGA - EBAY: Jungle with Wild rivers and swamps


Swanggama - Jambusiga Camp, July 19


Yes today our expedition to Carstensz Pyramid begins! At 7 a.m I've done my packaging. Porters packed tents, locals gathered and watched as these strangers prepare for the expedition. Curious children , gentlemen wearing koteka with riffle or arc and arrows in hands, hovering near us to get every chance to be photographed. Okay then...come everybody..say cheese..! Children chirped merrily, adults got really amazed seeing their  picture on the camera's LCD display, and the man with the riffle asked for a commission :(

carstenz expedition 2014

Some porters hawked their commodities : 
cigarettes, candies, instant noodle, areca, and fried snacks. As these items were laid on top of a plastic sack, flies started to come and landed on fried snacks, followed by dogs and pigs. 
The seller drove out these animals with a waive of a hand.

carstensz expedition
Our Barefoot Porters
Porters also fussed about their food stuffs, asked to get more sweet potatoes, their staple food. To prevent further problem, our guide immediately fulfilled what was asked

9.15 a.m we started to move, passing through gardens and went deeper into the forest. 
Ups and downs the hills, we tracked through rocks and mud pathway, crossing rivers with potluck bridge. 

carstensz path
The Slippery Log Bridge
The most challenging was the first log bridge - very slippery and nowhere to hold on. There're also many points with eroded cliffs. Sometimes we had to take a way round to avoid the slide. And if there's no other choice, we had to step carefully to prevent another slide..uh..I didn't want to fall to the wild Wabui river below.  
Some rivers had no bridge at all, and we had to just cross it.

The photo below is one point where landslide has eroded the pathway. The only way was down into the river  to get to the other edge of the pathway. Male members of the group took off their boots and pants. Porters made an emergency ladder and waited at the river. As I got into the water, its icy temperature made my whole body shake. Sharp rocks on the river bottom jabbed my feet. Porters held our hands and pulled us to walk quickly cross the river. They seemed cold-resistant and maybe their feet are very thick - majority of them walked with barefoot during this Carstensz expedition! 

carstensz river
Eroded Pathway

carstensz track
60-degree sloped landslide

carstensz jambu siga
Jambu Siga Basecamp
Not far from the river was Jambu Siga basecamp. It's a 400-sqm plateau above Wabui river. Tents have been built, I laid myself, had some snacks and honey . Soon it rained heavily as I fell tiredly asleep.

9 p.m our guides called for dinner. Dinner was just nice, got everything we need to recharge our body batteries. Jambu Siga is 2000 meter ASL. It was 16 DEGC inside the tent. Porters were amazingly very strong, wore no jacket/coat in such temperature. 

Jambusiga Camp - Honai Payung Camp, July20


carstensz expedition 2014
Breakfast Menu
I woke up at 4.30 a.m to accomplish nature's call. After, I packed my stuff and got ready for breakfast at 6 a.m. We all also prepared our own lunch box with the same items from breakfast table.

We moved at 8.10 a.m...two minutes later we faced another landslide and again had go down to the river.

carstensz track
Here we had to cross a river because of landslide

Today's path was almost the same with yesterday's : ups and downs, rivers, also thicker and deeper mud. As we took one step, our leg soon got mired about 25 cm. We faced another slide near Dipasiga camp. Not for long, our porters caught up with us..each of them carried about 17-20 kg load, and still could walk very fast. At some point after the Dipasiga camp, we're attacked by a group of angry bees. We fled and tried to escape from the bees. Uh, got 5 stings, and luckily it's harmless.

carstensz track
Collapsed trees
We got into a damp tropical forest. Trees and soil were covered with moss. Uprooted trees were found at some points, making it a harder track since they had to be climbed. 

Then we passed through an orchid garden - a white sandy plateau with only orchids and tropical pitcher plants grow there and no tall tree. This areal was about 10 hectares.

Then we went into another tropical forest, still dominated by mud. At 2.30 p.m we arrived Honai Payung camp. Actually we still wanted to continue to Cina camp. But porters showed their domination and refused, said it's already late afternoon. Had no choice but following their wish. We spent that afternoon cleaning our body on a small river nearby.

carstensz path
Honai Payung Camp

Honai Payung camp is 2600 meter ASL, surrounded by 6-meter height spiny pandanus. 
It was 6.30 p.m, at 17 DEGC..honestly speaking I preferred getting warm in my tent, but couldn't resist the nice smell of our dinner : spaghetti, spicy garo rica pork, eggplant with eggs, and hot soup.

Honai Payung Camp - Endatapa Camp, July 21


carstensz porter
Took a pic of our porters
The fifth day.I tried not to count how many days left we had to travel through to get to Carstensz pyramid summit. Better focus on preparing today's journey. Breakfast was still nice - after so many days those foodstuffs being carried. Then I tried to interact with our porters. They all wore seashell necklace and twisted their hair. I took their pictures..and they loved it , and even asked to get a printed photos of them :)

10 a.m we started to move. Just 10 minutes walking, a big wild river was ahead of us, with only a piece of log bridging over it. Carefully we went through the slippery log bridge, one by one. Next track was getting into deep forest again.  Swamps, big trees covered by moss, and tree roots crossing everywhere, making today's journey felt so hard.

carstensz expedition
(left to right) : Every step got mired in swamp, slippery log bridge, jumbo tree roots in our path
It rained almost all day. We moved quickly crossing the swamp to keep our body warm. Sometimes we got mired so deep in the swamp to our waist ! After getting out of the rain forest and swamp, we faced a fern forest..felt like in another world on Jurassic era!

6.15 p.m we finally arrived at Endatapa camp +/- 3300m ASL, followed by heavy rain. We had to wipe our tents' floor because water got inside . I put my wet and muddy shirts, trousers, socks and boots outside, tried to take a rest in my wet sleeping bag, until Meldy called for dinner at 9 p.m. I really had to force myself to get some food, chewing and swallowing food has never felt this hard, but I had to replace all the energy that has been drained out that day. Couldn't really sleep after dinner, it's 5 DEGC ...felt crazy cold.

Endatapa Camp - Ebay Camp, July 22


carstensz track
Endatapa camp in the middle of a savannah
Today we woke up a little bit late, at 7 a.m. Weather was bright and sunny . As I opened my tent I just realized that our camp at Endatapa was in the middle of a savannah, surrounded by hill. 
No river, only a shallow pool where porters washed cooking/dining tools.
The sun soon dried our wet clothes, including the trousers that I've been wearing since our first day.

carstensz swamp
Deeply mired in tne swamp

 9 a.m we started our journey on the savannah, still had to sort for solid ground to step on. After 15 minutes tracking, Mrs T got mired in the mud until the upper edge of her boots. She , off course, couldn't get out by herself, and got pulled by 2 persons.

Today there's no rain forest, only up and down the hills with swamp, swamp, and swamp. Our porters walked in front of us, as usual, leaving us behind. We tried to walk slowly and constantly to avoid acute mountain sickness (AMS), while enjoying the surroundings. A unique experience is finding ant nests as big as a jackfruit, hanging on trees.

carstensz track
With jumbo-sized ant nest
After the hills, we went through a wet savannah. Even though the track seemed flat, but it drained our energy because the wet meadow got sink as we step on it, sucking our legs and made it hard to begin a new step. On the end of the savannah we started to take lunch. After lunch we went through another swampy hill. On the top of the hill, vaguely in the distance stood the mysterious Carstensz Summit , covered with white glacier. 

carstensz track
Ebay Camp

We speed up our steps as porters has built our tents. Smoke was seen from the point we stood, as a sign that our Ebay basecamp was not far ahead. As we arrived, I immediately took a rest in my tent. It's 10 DEGC at +/- 3400 m ASL and I felt stiff on my whole legs and shoulders.  

Follow our Carstensz Pyramid expedition from Ebay to Lakes Valley Basecamp where we prepared for Carstensz Pyramid summit attack !!