Summer holiday time rolled around and we decided to head off to the Canadian Rockies for a week of camping and hiking, with the main event being to heading into Lake O’Hara for a few days. We set off from Vancouver on Saturday morning, clutching our new Canadian Citizen Access Passes that promised to give us free access to all of Canada’s National Parks.
All too soon the first long weekend after our move back to Canada came around, and we weren’t really organized for a weekend away, after several months of running around like headless chickens sorting out every detail of our “nearly-new” life. Luckily, Vancouver Hash House Harriers came to our rescue, and we were tempted into making the drive north from Vancouver to the village of Lund.
A week after getting back from Flores, we grabbed our chance to bag Gede and Pangrango, two volcanoes that are located close to Bogor. We had intended to climb during the fasting month of Ramadan when the paths and campgrounds would be quiet, but the whole park was closed for “restoration” work. We hoped the park would be quieter after Ramadan as it was getting late in the season.
Having spent the last year on the organizing committee of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation 2010 meeting (and doing very little else in the last 3 months!), we took advantage of the pre-conference trip to Gunung Palung National Park in West Kalimantan. The Research Station in the park is usually off limits to everyone apart from researchers so this was a very special opportunity to visit the Station and view wild orangutans, populations of monkeys, gibbons, birds, fabulous primary lowland rainforest and pristine rivers. The park is famous for its variety of habitats, including lowland peat and fresh swamp forest with huge trees, riparian forest, lower montane forest, and montane forest near the summits of Gunung Palung and Gunung Ponti. The folklore character Pontianak (which gives her name to the town of Pontianak) is a female vampire who comes at night and drinks the blood of her victims; the Malay believe that women who die in childbirth will rise again as Pontianak.