But I remembered reading in my guidebook that there is a nice beach at the other end of the Park where you can camp for free. I enquired about it and was even told that there are even shelters there - great in these torrential downpours that my tent would probably not withstand. It is only 13 km from the park entrance to that beach and it was only 10 am - so no problem. Well, that is what I thought... I would normally hike 13 km in a bit more than 3 hours... here the trip was rated 8 hours!!!
After 4 hours and only 6 km I thought first of turning back, but I still could not believe that I am not able of hiking 13 km and I pushed on. I got down to 1 km in 45 minutes and got weaker and weaker every minute. I had to take breaks every 500 m. I was physically just not able to hike on - I had to sit down, drink water and recover for 10 minutes before I could attempt the next couple of hundred meters. After 6 hours and 8,2 km I realised that I would not make it. I was so weak that I could hardly walk straight anymore. I was sweating like a pig but was shivering at the same time. Being a hypochondriac I assumed I was either suffering from a Malaria attack or a heart attack was imminent. Neither option sounded good. I could not do another 5 km to get to the beach and the shelter, but turning back was equally bad. I was in the middle of the jungle and everything was completely overgrown and steep. I did not remember seeing any feasible camp site. I almost panicked and started hiking back. I had not even managed one km back when I realised that I was about to collapse. This had never in my entire hiking career happened before. I was just too weak to continue - physically impossible.
|Wild bearded pig|
In the morning I was dreading to look outside, but when I did all the ants were all gone!!! I never knew that some ants are night active only. I packed up and faced a long walk back. At least now I had a full day for 8 km. I walked slowly and took a long break every km. Now that I knew how difficult the trail is and how bad my bronchitis I took it easy - and that paid off. It still took me a long time to get back, but I was not nearly as exhausted as the day before. I made it back to the park entrance and finally to my guesthouse in Kuching.
Bottomline: Although my bronchitis greatly contributed to my collapse, I had to realise that I am not made for this climate. My body just does not deal very well with the heat and humidity. This has been my last attempt for jungle trekking - I will not try again.