Continued from PART 1

Throughout the time we were accompanied with butterflies hovering across the water and many unseen animals shrieking in the thick canopy of leaves around and above us. During our lunch break we stopped for longer than usual and just enjoyed the peace and quiet of a remote piece of paradise.

IMG_1267_E1_CR copyThe monster ant that came to visit us during lunch :-) Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

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Our group looking up at the monkeys in the trees! West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1883_E1 copy

A random spot. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1890_E1_CREL copy

Celliers Kruger (left) followed by Hugh du Preez as they pass by a deeply undercut wall. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1892_E1 copy

The big wall with the undercut at the bottom. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1893_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1894_E1 copy

Hugh du Preez slipping through a hole.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1899_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1900_E1 copy

Celliers Kruger powering through a sticky hole. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1904_E1 copyCelliers (left) and Hugh (right) – very stoked with life.

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1909_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1910_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1911_E1_CR copyPuji climbing over the hole. 

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Me running a rapid randomly down the river. No scouting, we just went and boat scouted. Quite interesting to see that bottom hole come up :-) Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera)Sumatra 09 CK 00 (691)_E1_CR copy

Me sitting at lunch with Andrew wondering what to eat first I guess… Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera)

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View upstream from our lunch spot.

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The view downstream of our lunch spot.

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Loads of cool ferns growing here.

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Hugh almost sharing his lunch with the monster ant :)

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The ant having a look at my boat too… I made sure he didn’t find a place to stay inside!

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Lovely butterflies chilling around us during lunch.

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Me at lunch, happy! Photo by Andrew Kellett.

We navigated some really fun rapids, some of whom sported some interesting holes but the trip went down without incident. It was a really beautiful river, through a remote gorge. When commercial trips finally find this spot, it’ll leave many people smiling I’m sure. I would imagine the rafts would want to avoid those sharp rocks though, ouch.

After a fairly long paddle we sadly reached the end. At the take out was a large bridge constructed entirely of logs felled from the once giants of the surrounding forests; a great engineering feat but also a loss for the once living monoliths. There were many miners here, trying to eek out an existence on the gold which they do actually manage to extract from the sand down below.

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Celliers at a random spot downstream. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) IMG_1305_E1_CR copy

The take out. And the bridge. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

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Mining for gold! Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

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Deep divers heading down to suck up sand in hopes of more gold. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

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Quite a few chaps mining and living down there. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

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Me standing on a HUGE log that made up the bridge. Photo by Andrew Kellett. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1980_E1 copy

The serious bridge. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1984_E1 copy

Some of the cable making up the bridge. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1993_E1 copyMount Kerinci on the way back to our temporary home.

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More gold mining at another spot further out on the road from the take out. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)IMG_1334_E1_CR copy IMG_1352_E1_CR copy

Action from town.. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) IMG_1355_E1_CR copy

Take away food. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) IMG_1358_E1_CR copy

Me on the left, with Celliers in the black t-shirt and Hugh in the blue, the tall man entertaining the kids, as always. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)IMG_1360_E1_CR copy

Hugh du Preez in centre. The Pied Piper. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)IMG_1367_E1_CR copy

Sun going down. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) IMG_1368_E1_CR copy

The owner of the shop and Celliers in a huge battle of chess. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) IMG_1374_E1_CR copyAnother move. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) 

The drive back was long and the road extremely steep out the gorge. We had ‘lunch’ at 16:00 back at the house. Rice, of course, and some delicious beef. We then walked into town. We bought nothing, but the experience, being the only white people we saw the entire time and attracting attention, was interesting. On the way back we visited our friend at the shop and drank several beers. Hugh challenged him to chess but lost. Celliers went up next and it turned out to be a huge game, eventually Celliers won. Eventually we meandered back to the house and we treated to rice and chicken. Man, this was the life!

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Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated. A big thanks once again to Celliers Kruger and Andrew Kellett for the use of their awesome photographs in this article and indeed, many of the other articles. There are still two or three more articles in the Sumatra series before it comes to an end – stay tuned!
All Words by: Adrian Tregoning.