As usual, departure from Miri and, surprise, our guide is Veno, who
was the first guide I had back in 1991. Took us some time to recognise
Take off to Bareo, which has a solid runway now so planes can take off and land regardless of the weather. After a meal at the local inn we take a car (time changes!) to the next longhouse, pick up the porters and leave for Batu Lawi at 14.15 hrs. One hour later we get rain and shelter at a farmer's hut. We progress and at 16.15 hrs we arrive at a small stream (1140 meter) where I remember camping the first time.
Next day we cross river (having chased five wild boar to the chagrin
of our porters who didn't have their guns). At 12.00hrs we are at the
top of the white cliffs at 2050 m, with a good sight on Batu Buli
(target for next trip?), we break for a meal and continue. We find n.
lowii, n. pilosa and/or n. stenophylla. Progress is good and
around 15.00 hrs we strike camp at 1900 meter, having descende through
the bed of a small river. Again I think this is close to the place I
camped previously, so n. veitchii can't be far away. I still remember
the sight of plants clasping the trees in order to get up in the
So we take off along the path and look out for them.We see n. pilosa
(much more than the first trip, where we saw tree plants) but no
veitchii. My notes say "5 minutes from the camp" but we walk one hour
and get out of the mossy forest, seeing the descent towards the Pa'Mano
river.Did the path change in all those years? I don't know, and
we backtrack. Just before the camp we find clusters of n. tentaculata.
Next day we walk back to the ridge among orchids, n. lowii and n. pilosa, flowering ginger (plus the leeches) and arrive back at Pa'Ukat at 15.00 hrs where we stay in the longhouse. Again it rains.
We only have a short walk to the next village, where we will pick up
the porters for the trip to Murud. We follow the "buffalo-highway"
which is a track caused by sledges drawn by buffallo for transport
between villages. Halfway we get at krangas forest and yes, there
we see nepenthes: n. stenophylla (or n. fallax for the purists) and n.
reinwardtiana. Funny enough some of the n. reinwardtiana do not have
the typical "eyes". Next spot of krangas has red n. reinwardtiana. We
finally arrive at Pa'Lungan for the daily dose of rain...
Next morning we leave with mixed feelings (clouds all over..)
crossing rivers (Love it when it rains and suddenly the river rises)
and back in the forrest. We see silverleaf monkey and flying squirrels.
We arrive at Long Repong way ahead of schedule and decide to continue.
Veno claims he knows a short-cut to a bamboo hut, and this short-cut is
one of the worser ones: the mud pits are separated by mud pits. We pass
a Kelabit burying place, where people are burried in a line of
clay jars along the path. There is also a large boulder with
petroglyphs where nobody knows the age. We make a large crossing (don't
the small ones, we must have been 6 times across the same river) on a
big tree and arrive at a bamboo shelter called Labaru Idang. This must
be a good omen, as the translation is "Sunlight Corner". Of course it
rains. We have gained no altitude and are at 1260 meter.
The next day starts well: a gibbon hangs around the camp and calls.
We break camp and (guess what) cross the river. This will happen at
least three more times, and this time the river is swollen. At midday
we get confused, think we are going towards the east side of the
mountain and find ourselves on the track to Batu Lawi! Luckily one of
the porters takes off and finds the track to the west ridge. After the
relatively hard treck of this morning we now have to make up for the
lost time and take a steep trail at 1500 meter. We manage another thre
hours and miraculously camp 2 appears at 1940 meter, with enough place
to pitch the tent. The place is humid, nothing dries, the sleeping bags
smell, my clothes smell and I smell (there is not enough water in the
Now this is it: we leave at 07.30 for the ascent of Gunung Murud via
the back side. After half an hour we hit the mossy forrest. and almost
immediately we find n. tentaculata, followed by n. murudensis and n.
lowii. N. lowii will be with us for most of the remaining of the trip.
Two hour later we arrive on a
ridge that is much more exposed than on the east side of the mountain.
Batu Lawi and the highlands are clearly visible. There are some plants
here that look like a back-cross of n. murudensis. N. "species B"
appears and suddenly at 2300 meter we find a plant with a two-eyed
pitcher. Unfortunately this is a single plant only. Is this n.
reinwardtiana? Or do we see n. murudensis with one of the parent
characteristics? I do not know, and will have to come back and spend
more time at this location (thanks to GPS we will find it back). At
13.00 hrs we arrive at the summit (roughly 2500 meter) and take a break
in the clouds. We still have three hours to go to Chuch Camp. First we
cross Rock Garden, a large sloping summit plain with orchids, n. lowii
in full bloom and a large variiety of terrestial orchids. Past the
garden we walk trough the forrest and see many spec B that were not
there years before, so the species seems to thrive as many are
realy small plants, less than five years old. We keep on losing
altitude till the last steep climb and arrive at Church (2175 meter) at
16.50 hrs, just in time for the rain......
Stormy night with temperatures around 12 deg. C. Woke early and left
at 07.30 in the clouds. The small ridge going east lost most of
the nepenthes, we only found small n. tentaculata and two n. lowii. Down
the Wall (difficult as always) we find some red globulous nepenthes we
saw yesterday, and then surprise. To facilitate access to the
Church a plankwalk has been built!! The way cuts straight through the
nepenthes populations and we find n. muluensis, n. murudensis, n.
"spec. B" and n. lowii. Unfortunately the patch of n. reinwardtiana
which I found back in 1993 is still covered with long grass, habitat
changed and no nepenthes to be seen, so I miss part of the confirmation
of the n. murudensis parentage. One n. reinwartdiana is not enough I
think. Last n. tentaculata are seen at 1800 meter, and it is a downward
- upward - downward long walk. After the river crossing (my God, a
bridge!) we are now on the logging road in the burning sun. We hit 1600
meter and a bulldozer drags a log across the road. We arrive at the
secondary ridge at 1400 meter and then there is Ba'kelalan. There
cars in the village, proof that the logging roads have arrived here.
This is it. A loud village after the silence of Murud. I like it, I
know some people there, hallo
Murad, hope you read this sometime when you have electricity and
telephone and internet and you don't have to worry about getting the
rice in, thanks for the friendly reception after so many years.
Conclusion: super trip, I have to go back in 2003, as I am still
wanting to find n. reinwartiana at high altitude and maybe n. veitchii
on Murud. Special thanks to Veno and the porters Larry, Nelson,
Steve and Rick, without them the trip would have been Hell.
Bold items indicate pictures in the summary.