|an old growth tree|
We were held back by yesterday's heavy rains. So we started early today and walked quite fast. There was much mud everywhere, the leeches were thriving. At each stop all of us cut off many swollen ones from our bodies. These little creatures are different from the ones at home. They rest on the forest floor waiting for someone walking there and they quickly get stuck to his shoes and creep to all body parts unnoticed. When young they are as thin as a thread. When they finish their blood sucking job they become as fat as a baby's finger. In fact it doesn't hurt, they come and go unnoticed, only they are disgusting. We notice around 50-100 per day on ourselves that we take off somehow.
So today we walked fast. We reached a hilly part again, walking was difficult in the dense undergrowth and the terribly muddy hillside. We slipped many times. These rubber shoes are perfect for the mud but they don't support the ankle. Gore-Tex hiking boots would be completely useless in this humid climate as they wouldn't ever become dry. So we haven't taken them with us. We bought 2 cheap shoes at home, we kept them until Hong Kong. There we changed for flip flops and at the beginning of the forest trek we bought these rubber wonders with Pak Ishak.
No matter the shoes, constant rains and mud make hiking very difficult, anyway. It's like walking in melting snow, only 3 times as difficult. We become very tired by the evenings. Today we've climbed even higher, the undergrowth has become even thicker and there have been even more fallen trees on our way.
We've seen a bear! :) Apart from this, we've heard the gibbons again and the wing strokes of hornbills. Light emitting insects appear regularly around the shelter at night.
It was heavily raining at night again, of course, and as we are quite high now, it was terribly cold. Adri was frightened that the bear was around and we didn't even hear it. The nights are very loud, actually. The forest is louder around this time than by day + we always camp next to a splashing creek + the rain is knocking on the canvas. We can't see anything because the trees are so high that they hide the light of the moon and the stars from us.