Gunung Mulu National Park

Trip Start Jun 05, 2007
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Trip End Jan 06, 2009


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Flag of Malaysia  ,
Sunday, May 25, 2008

We had spent the night in Miri and woke later than expected the following day.  We had big plans to climb the mountain Gunung Mulu.  Having chosen not to take on Mount Kinabalu we were feeling a bit deflated, everyone around us was raving about it.  A mountain had to be climbed no matter what.  Our two friends would be meeting us and there was nothing stopping us. 
Alas!  We get an email saying that our trip partners were not going to make it and after many days of traveling and getting nowhere we decided to be a bit rash.  This was at 11am.  We were on the flight to Mulu without anything decided at 12:10pm. 
At park headquarters, which makes up the bulk of the community around the airport, we checked in to our dorm room.  The staff was friendly and we asked their advice on what we should do for the next few days.  We were adimitte about wanting to climb the mountain.  They informed us that the climb was very gruelling, took at least 4 days and was covered in leaches.  We asked if anyone was willing to join us and they said not that they knew of.  The bill would be heffty with just the two of us.  Our hopes and lucky spontinaity were loosing steam. 
The staff worked on cheering us up.  There was another hike. just as hard, shorter and well worth it.  We said we would sleep on it and see if we could find anyone who may be interested in the hellish summit trek. 
After we settled in, we took a walk to the famous Deer Cave .  An enourmous limestone cave that houses many different kinds of bats and incredible formations.  It was quite impressive, seeing the millions of years carved along the sides of a piece of earth.  After taking a guide through the caves we sat near the enterance to watch the bats fly out for their night feeding.  The bats fly in formation, a stream that looks like smoke rising, to confuse the hawks that are waiting to grab them on their exit.  It was quite amazing, the stream lasted for over 45minutes and we even got to see a hawk dive into a small group that got sepertated.   Like watching the nature channel live, front row. 
Suprisingly we did not find anyone to join us on the painful summit hike but we had relaxed a bit and decided to go to the Pinnacles instead.  We left the next day with two English men and an American.  Our first boat ride took us to what Mulu is best known for, their caves.  Another two awesome caves that wound on for miles.  One, Clearwater Cave, had a river rushing through it disapearing and appearing in the darkness. 
Mid afternoon we took another boat ride along the smally winding river, that passed small villages, with people washing by the water and the trees hung out so far it seemed as though they could touch eachother from either side.   We had to push a few times, since we were in the beginning of the dry season and it surely felt like we had headed into no where.  No roads, just a small landing strip, and now a boat trip deep into the forest. 
The boat driver dropped us off and pointed out the trail.  We took a short lunch and began to walk the 8km into camp.  No less than 10min into our walk it began to rain and did not let up until after we had stepped under the roof of our destination.  We sloshed through the heavy drops, that were not even heeded by the thick canopy and did not stop, except to check for leaches once or twice.  Unluckily, I had a hole in my pants and one found its way to my ass, even worse, the American guy we were traveling with found 3 on his family goods.  We tried to cheer him up by telling him that Man, our guide in Tamah Negara, had informed us that is was a healthy thing and would increase stamina.  He wouldnt have any of it and we made it to camp in record time. Soaking and tired but happy to find some hot water for tea.
The next day was our walk to the Pinnacles, limestone formations that with time had worn down to large spikes that poked through the forest making a great view, especially if you found your way to a top of one of them, which we did.  The climb was straight up. At the end we had to use ladders because the face was so sheer.  It took us 2 1/2 hours to walk 2.4km. But luckily it was worth it.  We had a great view and got to see some pitcher plants on the way. The climb down was much worse.  There were a lot of slippery roots and my knees began to hurt, you could not loose focus, less you slip and fall down on the rocky path.  We took it slow and made it without too many bruises.  When we got to the bottom, Tom and I grabbed our bathing suites and and headed for the river. After a swim, we sat and played cards with our hiking buddies.  Even though it wasnt the mountain, we felt like we had accomplished a feat.  We were happy.
The next day back we took our time and enjoyed the blue sky.  I was tired but it was ok, we were satisfied.
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Where I stayed
Park Headquarters, and Camp 5

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