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Jungle trekking to Bada Valley (Lore Lindu)

The megaliths of Bada Valley


Bada Valley turned out to be my next destination but it was not planned. I was now in Tentana at the north side of Lake Poso. The idea was to continue to Palu. I met an American guy: Steve. We investigated the possibilities. It seems there was a bus but it would only leave in a few days. The missionaries had a small plane to Bada Valley and it should not be a problem to join them. Unfortunately that plane would leave also in a few days.

Jungle trekking to Bada Valley   Jungle trekking to Bada Valley
The jungle path was not always easy, but hey,
this is a jungle trekking, it's not supposed to be that easy.

However, some locals told us if we would be in for an adventure, we could walk. It was only 50 km they said and could be done in 2 days.

A guide was not necessary because it was one straight path with, after about 35 km a shelter locals used for the night.

If we were lucky the palm leaves that would cover the hut were still fresh (and in fact we were lucky, the leaves were still quite fresh and kept us dry during the night)

Dangers from animals was not to be expected as there were hardly any large animals to expect. We would need mosquito repellent though. We checked the maps and other information and decided it was worth the adventure.

Me in Bada Valley 
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Bada Valley, almost out of the jungle Locals of Bada Valley village Bada Valley, I was offered a meal Shelter in the jungle trekking to Bada Valley

It sounded good to Steve and me. We left our big backpacks at the bus station. They would be transported to the bus station in Bada Valley where we could pick them up. I felt a little uncomfortable with this idea but it felt even worse to carry the backpack through the jungle.

So we packed a small bag, bought food, bananas and water and we left the next morning. We were dropped in Watutau and from there we walked. I'm sure the locals thought we were nuts, but we loved it.

The Megaliths of Bada Valley    The Megaliths of Bada Valley
The Megaliths of Bada Valley as I found them in 1993

It turned out to be a relatively easy though long walk through the tropical jungle. Motorized traffic here was very difficult on the partly small path with several places where small but rivers crossed our path.

We knew it would have to cross a few rivers and "if you are lucky, you won't have to get wet". In our trip we crossed two hanging bridges. Below you see Steve passing them. The small one was more stable and felt a lot safer then the one on the right.

Sulawesi jungle 
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Jungle trekking from Lake Poso to Bada Valley Steve at the hanging bridge Local lady in traditional clothes Deep in the Sulawesi jungle

On the way we had not seen many animals except some macaques. Somewhere half way we got a brief glimpse of a small deer, about the size of a big dog. In Bada Valley we were told this was a very rare species.

Children in Bada Valley

By the time we arrived in Bada Valley, we were ready for a nice bath. And we got it! The village had a basic guesthouse and we had to bath in the river! That was at least what we thought, but fortunately the guesthouse had a bathroom, outside and filled with water from the river.

After a fresh up we searched for a meal. It was the usual rice with spicy fish, boiled eggs and vegetable but it tasted wonderful after our 50 km jungle trekking. (this meal was here in the valley breakfast lunch and dinner with the difference that the fish in the morning was the left over from the night before.)

 Although at first the village didn't look attractive, it turned out to be very interesting. We were told few foreigners ever came here and even less on their own through the jungle. The children as usual were the first to make contact.

Steve is watching children playin

It was a very pleasant time in the village. These people were very different from the people I had met before in Sulawesi and at the same time very much the same. Food and accommodation might have been basic, even rough but the villagers made all the difference.

When Steve and I started hiking a little around in the valley we found some amazing megaliths.

 The megalith had been there for centuries and their origins remain a mystery. They were not build by the local villagers or at least not that anyone could remember. "Those megaliths have always been here", was the common answer when I asked.

There are 14 megaliths in the valley. Like I said, few travelers take the time and effort to come here but it's all worth the effort.

Sulawesi jungleIn one little roadside cafe we were talking and at one moment I wanted to make a few photos. The lady who owned the place told me to wait. She changed quickly in a traditional dress so we could have an authentic photo of her.

But on all good things come an end. At the end of the valley there was a normal (well, sort of) road available and every other day a bus. Steve and I walked to the bus stop, got in and went to Palu.

The ride was an experience in itself. It was the first time I was in a bus with live fish! The fish were kept in a few buckets and would be sold at the market. However, some fish were sold in the bus to people who would get out before Palu.

I also learned to protect my feet from chicken shit. As the road was bumpy and the men front of me had put some live chicken under their chair, those chicken could not move freely. Every time the bus stopped, the chicken were sliding towards my feet and in their fear some of them sometimes had to shit (of course on my feet!). Telling the men to keep their chicken with them made no sense. One of them said, if you have a problem, just kick them back.

By the time we were in Palu we were more exhausted then when we arrived in Bada Valley after our jungle trekking. We stayed a night there and went on with our next adventure: the pelni!

Children in Bada Valley Children in Bada Valley

I had decided to go for this adventure too. Tickets for 1st and 2nd class were already sold so we had to stay economy.

This means big rooms with everyone packed like sheep. The Pelni would bring us to Balikpapan where Steve left to explore Kalimantan. I went further back to Makassar and Surabaya, but that is a complete different story.

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