We just keep having temps in the -10°C - -20°C range so another post about a warm place would be very welcome! How about back to Malaysian Borneo...that's about as warm as it gets!
It was from Sandakan, Malaysia that we set out for Turtle Islands National Park. After that adventure concluded, we drove inland to the town of Sepilok where we visited a wild orangutan rehabilitation center. Here orphaned or injured orangutans are released back into the wild after being cared for and taught to survive on their own. Sepilok is situated right on the edge of the rainforest and most orangutans prefer to go deep into the rainforest and are rarely seen.
The Rehabilitation Center has boardwalks out into the rainforest where they have built a platform not far from the walkway. The platform can be reached by ladder from the ground or by a network of ropes that connect to the surrounding trees. Twice a day the staff put out food for hungry orangutans can come to to grab a bite to eat if food is scarce or they need some reassurance. Most often there are only a few that happen to be nearby. The younger ones or those most recently released might still be nearby but they move farther off as time goes by. A staff person sits on the platform to track of who comes, assess their health, and record unusual behavior. In this picture you can just see the staff person's shoulder from behind the tree. He simply sat and watched them eat and play and periodically made a comment into his handheld radio.
It was a wonderful experience to see them interacting in the wild. However, it didn't suppress my desire to volunteer at a orangutan nursery...only made it increase!!!
The next day we went to hike a short way into the rainforest. It was amazing! Flora and fauna like we never imagined and INCREDIBLY hot! Neither Paul nor I have ever been anywhere before that produced that much sweat!!! The kids were troopers in the heat!
A super fun bridge across a pond. The kids were having fun and I was a bit nervous about one of them getting tossed over the side into the drink! Even the smallest movement made it pitch and roll!
Paul waited until I was across with the other kids before he came across with Zander.
The kids found these leaves on our hike! Not quite like the ones we collected for middle-school projects, are they!?!?
After hiking a ways, we came to a series of towers with bridges between them so that visitors could check the rainforest out from canopy level.
So beautiful! There were signs warning of contact with wild orangutans.
We waiting for a while as we were told that at dusk the flying squirrels are seen but just before dusk a thunderhead passed over (although it didn't rain on us) and we think that may be the reason for no squirrels that evening.
Paul and I loved our trek into the rainforest and wished it could have lasted longer but the kids were a bit under-enthused after the first couple hours...especially without nature's flying squirrel show! Despite the challenges we were blessed to have experienced even a corner of such an amazing place.
How many of you have been to the rainforest...or have it on your bucket list??