After taking enough naps (5), I was finally caught up on sleep! Having a bowl of comfort cereal for the first time in over a month, along with a hot cup of coffee, also helped quite a bit.
This isn’t to say that I’ve gotten less adventurous with my food choices, I had an entire grilled fish the night before, eyes and all! (The eyes were actually quite crunchy!)
Even though it had begun raining during this comfort-breakfast, we had decided that it probably wouldn’t end up raining hard enough to be a hazard for trekking through the rainforest to a nearby waterfall. A compromise was taken in that we would go to the closer waterfall, which was only an hour hike away, mostly along the road.
Now, I know I usually have questionable judgement about what’s reasonable (“oh yeah, I can totally work 3 jobs and go to school part-time, sleep is for the weak!” and “first time dragonboating? Of course I can go for 4 hours, no big deal!”), I have to admit that I didn’t really know how ridiculous this journey was going to be. After compromising on going to the “close” waterfall, I figured that because the hike was going to be along a road, it would be easy and I wouldn’t need trekking footwear. I also assumed (and you know what happens when you assume: you make an ass out of you and me: ass/u/me) it would be safe to bring my DSLR camera. I even wrapped it in a bag, in a towel, in another bag and was feeling quite prepared and responsible! (Hah, I’m so silly!)
I should have realized that the hike along the road would take us down the same path we took to get to our hotel as there’s only 1 road leading to Juara Mutiara. This road is very VERY steep. I knew this. I could barely sit in a truck going up and down it, obviously it was going to be more than just a walk in the park. Luckily, I have experience with Rocky Mountain hiking and was able to power up the hill in sandals.
The falls were about 4m high and surrounded by some gorgeous rainforest scenery. There was also a small area where you could swim behind the falls and a natural jump-off point into the pool below. With my history of jumping off things (planes, bridges, etc.), it wouldn’t have been a real trip for me if I hadn’t made at least one leap!
Soon after we arrived, the gentle drizzle we encountered during breakfast decided to turn into a full out down pour. Since I was already happily swimming around the falls at this point, the rain just added to the whole experience – I was basically a kid running through sprinklers and jumping into swimming pools – good old summer-time bliss. Eventually, reality decided we needed to be re-introduced, and I realised that my camera was not as waterproof as I was. I ran back to check on it, took a few quick pictures (which didn’t even turn out too well because my lens kept getting covered in rain) and packed it back up.
All of this packing and unpacking ended up making the bags slightly damp, so I started rushing back to the hotel room to get my baby DSLR back to safety. I cradled my bag and positioned the umbrella I was carrying so that I remained soaking wet, but my camera (hopefully) remained dry. (Looking back, I realized that this is a direct example of how much I actually value my toys more than my life.)
We finally made it back to the room, and I rushed to dry off my camera and test it out. After the lens failing to re-adjust itself properly while my heart temporarily stopped beating, it eventually sorted itself out and I was able to breath again.