Like mountains around Jerusalem...

By 11:50 AM , , ,

Ok, I promise to ease up on the nature posts. This is going to be the last one until something epic happens again.

This is the closest we got to any monkey thus far on the trips.

Photo creds: Dennis

Daneille & the monkey

We went once more on the monkey pop. estimate project. This time, we went to cut a fresh 1km transect in the forest. To those like myself who grew up like a town girl, trekking through the wilderness is an adventure for me... hence the frequency of outdoor posts these days as each trip is like stepping into a wonder world.

With that said, I must say that I'm really enjoying the degree I'm pursuing. Were I not doing it, I would never have had such opportunities to see the other parts of Grand Etang - as opposed to merely the tourist view. Truth be told, I keep saying I want to go camping, and hiking, and so forth. The reality is, as with many people, it never happens. The right time never comes, the right people never arrive and life goes on.

My courses don't permit me the luxury of toying with the idea from the comforts of my bed on a Friday morning. Rather, it mandates that I have to go out there into the field, get down and dirty, and think like a biologist.

Wayne & Daneille


Wayne & Daneille

So this trip was the second time I went off-trail in the forest but the first time I ever went this deep within it. We started cutting our trail from the road according to our GPS coordinates (random sampling selected location).

Wayne trying to find our GPS location

I was the first to fall, but mind you everyone fell. It was ridiculously slippery from the mud and the slope was relatively steep. We, the group, found ourselves having to hoist ourselves up, try to grab onto tree trunks and clutch onto vines to proceed. Of course the forest rangers did all of the above with ease... Not even a proper mile in, most of us were half-jokingly lamenting about wanting to go back home and re-pondering whether we should've just used the tourist trails to conduct the studies. This was at the point when there was a muddy mini-cliff face about 6-8 ft. tall that while it didn't scream broken limbs surely said inevitable slip & slide downhill... and while one does factor in you would get dirty in the forest, I don't think any of us really intended to get dirty at all - to slide downhill meant to get muddy. Wayne slid down, completely unintentional but it looked deliberate. Krisma and I did a jump and clutch onto trees thing... I believe the others did a tentative walk down and around...

Forest ranger cutting the trail. Ez pondering if to proceed.

And so it began... Wayne in front, followed by Daneille and Ezra.

See how steep? This is close to where I first fell.

Ez trying to figure out an easy way to make it work.
We got sliced by razor grass. This was my first experience ever with it. Daneille made the warning announcement but I didn't know what it was nor what it looked like... We walked through a canopy of razor grass, I quickly found out. It got stuck to my clothes... After my first fall, I switched my shoes from water boots to all terrain sandals. Dennis was helping me remove the razor grass. Apparently, unbeknownst to me and Dennis, some was under my pants around my ankles... He held the grass firmly to pull it off and when it did, it sliced my ankles.

Wayne - first cut

The razor grass...

Our path through the razor grass

There were certain parts in the forest that was absolutely gorgeous. It almost made me want to go camping... almost because it would mean that I would have to re-do my entire slide & slide/razor grass journey all over again - with baggage.

Krisma & Daneille measuring - note this time, Daneille's the one wearing a raincoat in dry weather.

Ez... taking a mini break
Photo creds: Dennis

Daneille, Jody & Wayne
Photo creds: Dennis

We did the transect using a 50 meter tape - one group at the front walking with the tape, another at the back holding the tape. We repeated this for the entire... kilometer.

Daneille holding the tape.

Sinking mud... Wayne & me

Braving the environment...
So in the end, out of excitement, Jody, myself and Daneille ran off in excitement after completing the 1 km. We left those behind and took off trying to catch up with others ahead... We didn't. It was the stuff horror movies were made of. Three girls in a forest, by themselves, lost. We found ourselves trying to look for fresh foot prints, ignoring weird forest noises... At one point, we ran out of water and filled our bottles from a fresh stream...

Ok, so that is all half- true. We were a little worried but we weren't entirely lost. We stayed on the shoreline trail, aka, stayed close to the lake under the premise that we must reach the other side eventually. Then we heard voices, saw the jetty and the rest is history.

Dennis and myself watching our muddy shoes whilst sitting on the jetty. 

We were over there yonder...

Aye Caramba... Dennis & I exhausted.
The end.

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  1. not to be insensitive.... but lol @ the person with the bleeding ankle. hiking boots aren't just for show. :P