Sunday, November 11, 2012

Venturing the Lost Valley of Imbak Canyon

It is a promising day and chilly at the same time as we are to set foot at the long lost Valley of Imbak Canyon, a 30,000 hectares Class 1 (protection) Forest Reserve, right at the heart of Sabah, Borneo Malaysia neighboring Tawai Forest Reserve, Danum Valley Conservation Area and Maliau Basin Conservation Area.

Just the mentioned of the name frozen us and somehow place a question mark at the end of everything. Is it ganna be like what we have seen on photographs and stories we heard from the prior expeditions? There’s just one way to find out, see for ourselves and get the feeling into our bones.

The group is composed of people with quite a different interest but has one definite goal,  Nature and Adventure, a packed up term that requires a deep sense of natural history and likewise a tight stomach for the adventure part. The participants are from Sabah Tourism Board, Sri Pelanconagan Sabah,  North Borneo Safari, individual photographers, naturalists, photo journalists, travel writers, 4W drivers, IT’s, and nature guides of course.

Well, let’s just say they are the adventurers and hope we can justify what it bears.

The journey starts from exploring Tawai Forest Reserve, Telupid, approximately 138 km west from Sandakan town.  The plan of the day is towards Tawai River and the ‘microwave’, not far from the central town but not a tourist destination so we are not to expect loads of people. We drive deep into the forest and trek down the remaining 20 minutes to reach our destination, passing by colourful species of pitcher plants; such a welcoming sight!

Though the trekking is short, it is hot despite the fairly abundance trees around! And the sight of the crystal clear river speeds up our step, too desperate to cool down

Few metres away sits a waterfall, a little treasure of Tawai.

Wanting more of fresh water, the group continues swimming on the wider part downstream. The complexity of its natural environment plus the challenge of surviving the high temperature must have been the reason why the place has been bragly chosen as the backdrop of the Eyeworks Norway filming “Girls in the Wild”.

As much as we like to spend another couple of hours cooling, acrobating and diving with the freshwater fish, we need to reach the microwave uphill before sun set. Dragging our feet behind, we trek back and gear up until we reach the pick of Tongkungon Hill.

The 7 m high Forest Fire Observation Tower gives a perfect platform to get a wider view of the forest ranges and the Telupid community with its winding Labuk River.

Standing nearby are telecommunication towers thus the name ‘microwave’.

As the western horizon leaves the last shadow of its fiery orange, the east is firing some lightning, so we head back and settle for the night. The day was more than fulfilling and tomorrow will ganna need twice the energy.

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Venturing the Lost Valley of Imbak Canyon