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Crocker Range Trekking Advisory

The Crocker Range Trekking Tours (The Real Thing and Trus Madi) will have you immerse completely into the jungle and you must expect rough, rugged and very demanding terrain. In the rainforest leeches await you, and a wet, humid climate with many river crossings. On Trus Madi it is cold and wet, but there are no leeches or river crossings. Both tours come with local foods and drinks, and extremely friendly people!

You need footwear that provides excellent foot hold and traction, and you might wear gaiters but you also have to bear in mind that ever so often we might have to ford rivers/enter local houses and we have to take off our shoes. Further it is recommended that you wrap your spare clothes, and other items, tightly in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet. If you have sophisticated camera or filming equipment a dry-bag is a good idea!

Further take along:

  • towel and swimwear (underwear actually is ok...)

  • sun hat and sun block, rain coat/poncho, mosquito repellent & usual toiletries

  • basic medical kit with antiseptic cream, plasters, pain killer (ibuprofen-based such as Advil are ideal) etc

  • energy food bars

  • change of clothes for the overnight stay

  • light blanket/sarong (sleeping bag for Trus Madi)

  • light sleeping mat (inflatable lilo, or foam)

  • torchlight and spare batteries

  • camera & video (fully charged); spare films

  • if you have: small things that you can easily dispose of as gifts such as promotional ball-pens, lighters, some post-cards of your place… bear in mind, the local people are as curious about your place as you are about theirs!

We also suggest that you take out an additional travel insurance such as TravelCare - the organisers of the tours do not provide any insurance!

Food and Drinks

This trip comes with almost exclusively local meals (meaning lots of rice and vegetables) throughout and we suggest that you take along some energy bars, and maybe sweets and the like for supplementary energy. The sweets will also come in handy in the villages for the children...

In the villages we will eat anything that is offered, generally lots of home-grown and wild vegetables, chicken, fish and maybe wild boar or, with some luck, deer. If you have any allergies or other dietary requirements let us know, we can always arrange for the necessary if we are notified in advance!

You have to drink a lot of water, which is readily available from all shops and in the jungle from clean mountain streams (if you have water sterilising pills or a UV steriliser there is no harm in taking them along, just to be on the sure side). Water served in the homes of local people is always boiled.

Special note: it is customary to serve visitors some rice wine, or cassava beer. If you cannot take alcohol, please let your guides know that they can inform the locals – otherwise you will find yourself again and again with a full glass of some fermented drink you might not like…!

What you will see and experience

Jungle trekking is not exactly a wildlife safari and you should not expect to see any animals other than lots of leeches (not to confuse with ticks; leeches are harmless and quite intriguing creatures once you get to know them better... and we promise, you will get to know them!). With some luck we can spot pheasants, hornbills and smaller mammals, and with some luck monkeys but really don't count on it as they all tend to avoid human contact.

Trekking will mostly be under the thick canopy of the humid-wet forest, and you need a sensitive film to take good shots of this unique eco-system. You also have to go slowly and carefully, the terrain is mostly steep and unaccustomed. Against the leeches we suggest that you wear woollen socks (real wool seems to keep them at bay), and further protect your footwear with gaiters and you might also want to stuff tobacco into your socks. It is sometimes recommended to spray shoes and gaiters, as well as lower trousers with Baygone Spray, but I have only had moderate success with our leeches here.

The really interesting part of this tour is to get to know the Dusun people who live here, and their friendliness and hospitality will certainly amaze you. They are for the most part subsistence farmers and gain a little money from the sales of tobacco they plant, and other jungle produce they can sell on the weekly market (tamu) in Donggongon. However, most of them don't travel to Donggongon weekly - understandably, as it is a day-long arduous walk through the rainforest. With what they earn they purchase essentials such as soap, coffee and tea, sugar, cooking oil etc, and they also have to pay school fees for their children. Don't be astonished, but even in these remote areas there are primary schools!

Tourism, an occasional side income for the people here, is only very slowly discovering this area, and thus it remains largely unspoilt and truly off the beaten track.   

Probably the most important is that you are mentally well prepared, more so than physically! It is your attitude and curiosity you bring along that will make this trip truly memorable!

 

 

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