February 2001 with Bernd and Christian (
catalogue ) ( back )
some pictures courtesy of Bernd and Christian
In Jayapura, the
provincial capital of Irian Jaya, Christian welcomed
us with a small Cessna waiting and after arriving on
airport we flew directly
into the mountains to a place you can't find on any map. We got
the coordinates later and somewhen I will be able to
point it out on a map. The name
was Abmisibil and it was said it was just 100km from the
Papua border...so far East.
After a one hours flight south towards the cerntral monntain ridge of New Guinea a wall of clouds piled up in front of us the mountains inside. Just in front he turned 90 degree to the right to check the entrance into a specific southbound valley. Between the clouds there were always some shapes of slopses to glimpse. Finally he found what he thought was the right one and we flew directly into the Total White. Really scary!!! AfterThe airstrip was a mud hole and I was lucky that we didn't stuck into it. In Abmisibil we found an English teacher (from Sulawesi) - there was a middle school- and arranged 7 porters plus one guide to accompany us to a place called Bime, 8 days away. We maybe made the mistake to take the shortest possible route, because after 3 day there were no settlments for another 3 days. So we had to camp in the primary forest. This strech was the worst. The way was nothinganyway....it was just some not so dense forest. Rain for at least 12 hours a day, crawling rootstairs steep up or down, wading through holes of mud to your knees, balancing over moss covered giant trunks was the rule. The absolut exception was something you could somehow call a path. Some rivers had "bridges", often made from rotang. Looking down would had been a fatal mistake. Bernd once slipped in a stream and got soaked to the nipples...falling was normal. A step just 5 inches too far off the "trail" often resulted into sinking into the nothing between a net of branches and roots, because the terrain was so steep. You stopped sinking when the leg ended. Feets were allday wet of course, all of us had blisters. Of course Christian enjoyed it except for some really dangerous parts, when we f.e. had to pass a stretch, an absolut steep former landslide...The surface of the earth was hard- soft would had been no problem, through those you can walk easily no matter how steep. So if we would have fallen, we would have done this for 200m, no plant to stop you -and that was no fun. Of course no path, but every meter an unreliable step, size of a small fist....This for some hundred meters, what means 30 minutes. I was in a state without getting any adrenalin shock any more, just only thinking to get through. My brand new Addidas trecking boots finally got wholes in the middle of the leather. In Bime Bernd and I complained that this was not the kind of sports we were looking for. Whole day we were only looking down where to step, outpowered of ability to concentrate after 7 hours. The villages and people were nice, but there weren't so many ??? And of course it was pretty dangerous and hope for rescue in the forest is Zero. You also cannot be carried in this terrain by another person, absolute impossible. Bernd once nearly broke his leg when he fell and his leg was blocked between some trunks. So we dicided to order a Cessna to Bime to pick us up. While waiting two days for the plane, a wound at my shin bone - I got it already 5 days before - but I fell quite often onto the same spot- got more and more infected, till to the day the plane came, I couldn't walk any more. Standing was incredible painful. So back in Jayapura I went to the hospital, but the circumstances there made me clean the wound myself just using their sterile equipment. I was sure I couldn't treck for another 5 to 7 days. So I told my two friends to fly to the central valley of Wamena without me which was the original plan for all of us. After two more days in hotel in Jayapura I finally took a Garuda flight home. Even that day it was hurting so badly I was not in the mood to plan any visit to Bangkok or a stop over in Bali.
I was quite happy to be homes afely….