People moved briskly, as if with a sense of purpose, or maybe there was. Every thirty meters or so, I had to stop to catch my breath. The sixty-degree incline was overwhelming that I used all my limbs to pull myself up on the first ascent. With my flip flops and bikini top on, the scorching heat burned me to bits. Go Carla, you can do it!, I kept on mumbling as rocks and loose soil came with my scramble. I reached the first viewpoint after thirty minutes and saw the vastness of turquoise water sheltering on the coves of the islands. The rest went on to the peak while I stayed there, in awe, and never went further up.
I dreaded this day, the day that I was pulled out from my comfort zone and cram me with activities that I wouldn’t normally do. But I was born ready, so bring it on!
|Terrified; of hiking and komodo dragons.|
Labuan Bajo is the capital city of Mangarral Barat regency, the westernmost region of Flores. It is usually the jump-off point to great expeditions around Komodo National Park, declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991 and selected as New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2011. We’ve got two full days of exploring those and after having great time on our beach escapades around Komodo, we’re now on the second day of hiking and animal-hunting; my waterloo.
Everyone seemed excited as we got off from our speedboats. The morning sun was intensely piercing our skin, but they seemed not to mind as they were too eager on the first activity.
Moving on, I learned that komodo dragons are vicious carnivores, the largest living species of lizard that grows up to ten feet found in Indonesian islands around Flores (a protected area known as Komodo National Park). Stories of its venomous bite and occasional attack on humans did scare me, who wouldn’t be.
|Stay within your group, always.|
I carefully traced the path made by our guide making sure I was just inches away from him. We got out of the forest into what seemed to be some villas used as guesthouses. Then I saw a pack that was quietly encircling something, and yes, it’s a komodo dragon.
And there it was, a sleepy huge komodo dragon that looked like it just had a hearty meal and was about to take its siesta that morning. It wasn’t moving aggressively as what I thought it would do. It looked like very tired, like that of a very lazy dog. But I didn’t move closer, actually I veered away from the group as they started to take snaps of it.
|Zoom lens, don''t worry.|
A thriving mangrove forest welcomed us as we dock on the next island at the Komodo National Park. It was just our lunch place (I will dedicate a separate post on our great Indonesian food trippin’), or so I thought.
It started out fine; the sun was hiding on the thick clouds that cooled off the island. There were old houses that stood next to each other into the thick forest, and then we stopped.
I was totally terrified.
The komodo dragons at Rinca Island were far more active compared to the ones we saw at Komodo Island. There was even a moment when two female dragons were engaging on a cat fight (or dragon fight) that was easily averted by one of the guides. My friends took some snaps while I stayed beside a tree far away from them (which apparently is not even safe) and followed the guide who’s leading us to another area.
|There were seven of them, all in attack mode.|
I was scratching my head as we arrived at Padar Island and saw the steep incline of the rolling hills; it looked very intimidating, for me.
The first assault was steep with loose soil and rocks. I was using all my limbs to climb up the hill and it took me forever compared to others who were hiking as if it’s a flat surface. I saw another level of uphill and downhill path, and then another, and then more.
And yes, the view there was utterly amazing; turquoise water, cerulean sky, green and brown mountains and more. It was so beautiful that every angle of my camera took nothing but great photos, like the ones used as wallpapers on computers.
Looking at the topmost peak, I imagined how beautiful the view was from there. But I was pleased from the view I’ve got (and the fact that I even got there) which made me stay there not thinking about pushing myself more. A pat on the back for a job well done, and another set of photos. Then I climbed back down (which was harder).
|I immediately took a dip after the trek, refreshing!|
|16 of 40 souls from the Trip Of Wonders September Team!|
Komodo National Park
Check here for discounted hotels in Labuan Bajo
Special thanks to Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism for making this trip possible.
As always, opinions and opinions are all mine.