Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Gold Prospecting @ Semangguk

Reached Semangguk at 2.30pm (on 27 May 2013) and started discussions with the local guides on how best to explore the gold mining locations. Eventually, we decided to visit Bukit Lubuk (the southern part of the area) as there's a dirt road which is accessible on scramblers. Two local guides took the Chinese geologist and myself on a rollercoaster ride for 6 km on the wet and muddy dirt road to the edge of the jungle where we trekked for about 1 km to our intended destination. We came out from the jungle at around 5.30pm. 

That night we were put up at a lodging house called "Losmen", a six room lodging house on the first floor of a shophouse with a common bathroom. Each room costs Rp60,000-00 which is equivalent to B$8-00. At that price, don't expect any services as you have to bring your own soap, shampoo and bath towel! A small fan was provided in each room and there's no air-conditioning. And to make our stay more uncomfortable, the power supply came on and off and eventually went off totally at 4.00am! It was raining the whole night and we were very worried as we were supposed to visit another site when dawn breaks. 

Behind me is our target, Bukit Ketam
The view from the peak; the guide told me that Sarawak is on the horizon
Fortunately, the rain stopped but we were still worried as the jungle trail and slopes would still be wet and slippery making our hike much more dangerous. We started at 8.15am (on 28 May 2013) and reached the peak of Bukit Ketam two hours later. All along the slopes, local miners were seen extracting gold using primitive methods. I fell at least a dozen times coming down the hill (different route from where we went up) but fortunately my guide was able to grab my backpack every time I slipped. We also have to cross five muddy streams to get out of the jungle. We finally came out of the jungle at 2.30pm and by then, I have cramps on the most unlikely parts of my body, on my muscles above my knee cap and the front part of my thigh! 

 Street outside the hotel
After a quick shower, we left Semangguk at 5.00pm for Sintang and reached Sintang at 10.00pm where we were put up at the "Hotel Sartika Puri", another hotel that is way below par (at least there's air-con) but then again it's only Rp200,000 (B$26-00) so we were not expecting much. The above photos were taken the next morning before returning to Pontianak.

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