Toussaint in Malaysia

The details of my journey

Jungle II Canopies, Hills, and Leeches (Oh My!)

The next morning was miserably soggy and incredibly humid (even for a New Orleanian). To avoid leeches, I tucked my heave Girbaud jeans into my calve-high socks. We all looked like fashion faux pas together. The beginning of the hike was easy since we’d done that part the day before. It was only exhausting because I was on edge about the leeches. Usually we’d spot them sticking straight up out of the dirt or in a leave squirming around searching for a shoestring or pant leg to attach to.

Passing a very large group of tourists, we make it to the canopy walk tower and only had to wait about 15 minutes. We were already drenched in sweat from the pace of our hike and the humidity. The tower stood about 2 ½ stories tall and was connected to a narrow bridge made of planks and ropes. Although it looked safe, it swayed considerable with every step. We worked out a system to all get photos of each other. The views were worth the wobbliness of the bridge. There were about 8 bridges between giant trees. The drop would vary significantly because the ground below was very hilly. There was one point that we were so high, it was impossible to see the ground. That’s where Schuyler accidentally dropped his water bottle. It took SO long for is to hear the thud. The worst bridge was simply a 45° ladder suspended completely by ropes, with only a net under it that led [not to the next tree, but] to a completely suspended plank with ropes. It was definitely worth it, but thoughts of the bridge failing were VERY disturbing.

When we got back to the ground, the group waited around for everyone to finish and mentally prepare for the unforgiving hill ahead of us. The summer before, Professor Heng broke her leg on this hill, but the view is supposed to be worth the headache. As soon as everyone was ready, we set out for the climb. Someone in the group spotted a guy sitting on a bench dealing with all of the blood that came from a leech encounter. This caused me to look down at me shoe, and sure enough, “Guys, I got a LEECH! Someone get it!” Realizing that no one was coming to my rescue I tried to knock it off of my shoe with my water bottle. It held on. At this point, it quickly began thinning its body out to weasel its way into the mesh of my running shoe. I was left with no other choice but to quickly grab it with my fingers (yuck!) and throw it. I was freaking out. For the rest of the time, I was constantly moving my feet to ensure that the leeches didn’t have an opportunity to inch back onto my shoes.

The climb up the hill was a workout. My heart rate was at dead-sprint speed although we were only walking up the hill. This was only the halfway point. We walked, stepped, and climbed for 800 meters. When we finally reached the summit, we were completely re-drenched in sweat. That explains how rough we look in the photos.

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