A few weeks ago Britton and I spent the better part of a day hiking in the jungle on our island of Tarakan. We were trying to find a good place that we could go camping some time--he and I and the rest of the Forney boys. I had spotted a place from the air that looked promising. Even though it's only about 60 seconds from the end of the runway by air, it took us an hour and a half to walk there.
When we got to the area I had seen from above, the jungle opened up into a wide sandy area surrounded by cool looking trees, where a tiny little stream apparently floods when it rains. We saw tons of monitor lizard and pig tracks all over the place. There were hawks and birds and butterflies and the big big yellow flower pictured below. The flower was about the size of Britton's head!
We had a good time exploring around and then we stopped for lunch at an abandoned campsite that we found. It looked like a good place to come back to, although it would be a pretty tough hike for the twins.
Since the main objective of our little expedition was to find a good camping spot (but not actually to camp this time) we didn't plan on stopping to cook food or anything. We had brought some cold pieces of leftover pizza that Joy had made the night before, and some floppy leftover waffles from earlier that morning for snacks. Tried to keep it simple.
But what's a hike in the jungle without a fire? NOTHING! That's what it is! Every boy needs to make a fire--it's practically required that you build a fire if you're feeling manly in the woods! By the way, the wood and leaves may look dry, but trust me, looks can be deceiving. It's really, really hard to make a fire in the jungle without kerosene or something to help. But we eventually succeeded, thanks in large part to what I've picked up from the guides on all the long-distance jungle hikes I've done.
So what's a fire good for in the middle of a hot, muggy, sweaty afternoon (besides proving your manliness?) if you have nothing to roast? NOTHING! We just HAD to find something to roast, but we'd already eaten all the pizza. And then it struck us both at the same time--waffles! We could roast the waffles! So that's what we did. And how did they taste you might ask? Well, Britton summed it all up when he bit into the first one and said, "It tastes like a hot, burned, smoky waffle...with no syrup." Yup. That's what they tasted like. But it was fun!
On the way back we saw a bunch of carnivorous plants. There's a lot of different kinds of fly trap plants in Kalimantan, and this is just one of them. This variety typically grows in clusters on the ground. They fill with rain water and then when the insects are drawn to the lip, they slip into the inside and drown. The plant then digests them. Yummy!
The fly trap plants (pictured above) were located just beside the little stream that we were following (pictured below). The stream was pretty neat because it was following a line of coal that was right there on the surface. It literally cut a channel right through the dark, black, shiny coal. There's a lot of coal in Tarakan, and throughout this part of Kalimantan. The water was actually crystal clear before we walked through it and stirred it up. It looked odd seeing a crystal clear steam running through a channel of pitch black coal like that.
Well, those are officially the last pictures that were ever taken by my point and shoot camera that I had just gotten this past summer. Unbeknownst to me, when I went to put it back into the pocket of my backpack, it went "plop", right into the creek. Fifteen minutes later I went to get it out and couldn't find it. Eventually we found it...submerged in the water pretty close to where Britton is standing. I was able to salvage the pictures, but the camera was toast! Bummer!!! Well, I guess it's a good thing it was just a point and shoot and not my "good camera". Jungles are not friendly to electronics!