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Understanding The Mysteri of Mt. Salak.
The Mystery and Climbing Hindrances.
Every mountain has its own story. That's a saying that every mountain climber is familiar with and so does Mt. Salak. People can hardly keep in their rational thoughts when they talk about Mt. Salak because of its identical image with supernatural stories.
This condition is supported by dramatic facts that the mountain has claimed a lot of victims, several existing cemeteries around the mountain, and people and climbers' stories and experiences have made it even richer in variety. One of the most sensational stories was experienced by 9 members of a Search And Rescue team when they worked for an evacuation of airplane crash victims in Mt. Salak. Here is the excerpt of the story and had become trending news in various media :
"...Nine members of the first rescue team had to sleep in Mt. Salak forest on May 12, 2012 at at a location 1,700 m above sea level and close enough to the crash site. One of the members said : "The tiresome brought us to a deep sleep and to our surprise when we woke up in the morning realizing that we all had experienced the same simultaneous dream !.
Came to our dream some beautiful young girls and served us with something to drink. The girls then treated us very intimately and we knew the dream belonged to all 9 of us when we shared the story in morning....".
In term of height, mount Salak is categorized a medium high mountain, 2211 m (7254 ft), but in term of popularity no climbers doubt the reputation. They know that many unexplained incidents have happened there and... believe or not,... like or not,...in addition to its challenging climbing fields, it is the supernatural sides that makes Mt. Salak sensasitonal.
Here are some facts and stories which have created overwhelming mystery around Salak :
- A number of aircraft accidents had taken place at and around Mt. Salak with a lot of victims, and the last incident happened to a technologically sophisticated, brand new Sukhoi Superjet 100. The plane was doing its promotional joy flight when it suddenly disappeared from contact and found crashed at Mt. Salak peak II with its 40 honored passengers died.
The accident was recorded among series of at least 6 aircraft accidents involving helicopters and airplanes happened in Mt. Salak area between 2003 until 2012.
What made it sadder that one of those victims was my virtual friend whose reputation as a pilot in Indonesia Air Force was excellent. He died after the chopper he piloted got engine trouble and crashed in its base near Salak.
- There must be many rejections from modern views about the mystery since it isn't a scientific answer for those incidents to blame on, but not for the rest of the people. They still consider mountainous areas around Salak sacred, where spirits live and Prabu Siliwangi, the king and highly respected ancestor of Sundanese people, once spent his life there. People still maintain the relics and one of the efforts is by preserving those supernatural stories linger until today.
- The best way to deal with the mystery in Salak safely, is to pay attention to some taboos :
- Climbers should be humble nor overestimate mountain-climbing skills they have.
- A woman having a period shouldn't climb the mountain.
- Dirty words and jokes mustn't be used.
- Never pick orchids or other plants from Salak forest.
Many believe that negative consequences during the climbing have happened because violation on those taboos.
How do we perceive and understand the mystery.
People's reactions to those phenomena and taboos in Salak are varied but I can say mostly split into two streams : those who amen to them and believe the power behind the mystery and the cons. This first group normally consists of conservative people living around the mountain besides those who still hold and practice traditional values, while the second group are those who take the non fanatic side although many of them still respect the norms. The second group don't expect to arouse conflicts with the first one and see the practice as only part of the traditional cultural heritage.
I myself would not take superstitions into account although I honestly try to avoid breaking those taboos. I'll always keep it as my respect to those people and will never interfere their business in it.
It's been practiced in many parts of the country how people develop methods to conserve nature by implementing local values or we often call them local wisdom.
As I've mentioned before, Salak is not so impressive in term of its height, but facing its real condition when we climb it is another story.... This idea is based on the facts that :
Salak has some main attractions that all climbers are lured to reach. Besides its flora and fauna (If you're lucky you can spot the very rare Javan Eagle/Spizaetus bartelsi), Kawah Ratu (Crater of the Queen) and Salak Peak I. are the first two places they always prioritize to check out and compared to its neighboring mountains like Mount Gede (2,958 m) and Pangrango (3,019 m), climbing Mt. Salak needs more energy thus more tiring due to following conditions :
- Salak main attractions (Queen Crater and its Peak I) are located far away one another. We'll need around 5 hours to Queen Crater and 8 hours to reach Peak I.
- The averagely 60ο slopes along its ascending treks.
- Swampy ponds, the home of leeches give additional obstacles.
- Keep changing weathers between dry and rainy with thick fogs.
They make hard for average climbers to explore the whole parts of Salak in one day.
Beside those hindrances, Kawah Ratu (The Queen Crater) can become a dangerous threat because it may spew its toxic gasses suddenly. Campers are not allowed to erect their tents around the crater or stay too long around it because of that reason.
- Video: Enjoy nature and get close to it.
Observing nature makes us small and humble. Source: AgusF
The name's origin and location.
Eman Sulaeman, a Bogor city historian, said that under Mt. salak there used to lie the first Hindu kingdom in Java in the 4 to 5th century named Salakanegara. The kingdom was totally devastate by the first Salak's eruption in 1669 and the kingdom also gave information where the name Salak originally came from.
Mt. Salak spread its feet between 2 cities : Sukabumi and Bogor, in West Java province. The mountain has some accesses for climbers to ascend either from Cimelati or Cidahu in Sukabumi regency or from Gunung Bunder in Bogor regency.
Despite its medium height (2,211 m /7,254 ft), Salak treks are not easy to conquer and not recommended for newbies. The field characters have been categorized ideal for survival and military training.
The Location of Mt. Salak.
Beware of Leeches.
Rains keep on pouring on Mt. Salak all year long and it's a fertile place for tropical forest to grow and fauna to live, including the blood sucker creature, the leeches. We'll find swampy ponds along the paths with death fern trunk surfaced and if we take a closer look, there also live the leeches. Leeches' favorite place to live are on damp tree trunks, wet tree debris, fallen rotten plants, or just float in the swamp water. Those blood suckers will crawl on body surface without we realize it and we know it when its teeth pricks the skin and enjoy its sucking until full and swollen.
Don't panic when it happens to you, we can handle them easily and safely...
How to repel leeches naturally.
Leeches normally live at damp areas in the forest like swamps, riversides, and dead trunks. Those places indicates that besides as blood suckers, leeches also eat degrading plant remains.
You need to bring either some tobacco, salt, or a lemon with your supplies.
Tobacco can be used in both preventive and repel actions and you can use raw tobacco or crumb one or two cigarettes to get their tobacco. Soak some tobacco in fresh water until you the water becomes dark brown. Before you begin with your journey to the jungle, rub some tobacco water on parts of your body which may contact with leeches. Make sure you don't get your tobacco water into your eyes.
If you find a leech already stuck and suck blood on your limbs, sometimes it's not easy to remove it. In the case like this, you can soak some tissue paper or a piece of fabric in tobacco water and use it to release the stubborn leech from your body.
It is more recommended to use salted water for leech removal rather than rubbing the water over your body in preventive action. The salt crystals may irritate your skin and will make you busy scratching a long the way.
Dilute some salt in water then soak some tissue paper into it. Use the wet tissue to repel the leech on your skin.
It's more practical to use lemon but you'll get tingling sensation on the wound left by the leech bite when lime water is applied on it.
To get lime water just cut a lemon into two parts and squeeze them. Collect the lime water in a small container. To be more effective as repellent use the lime water without dilution.
Protective Dress to avoid Leeches .
- Wear leech socks, you can spray them with tobacco water first for safety.
- Wear long sleeve shirts and trousers
- Tuck your shirt into your pants
- Tie up waist and sleeve wrist. .
- Wear gloves
- Don't rest or lean on leech homes, like wet dead trunks, bushes, etc.
No chemical, please.
Although leeches can be repeled using insecticides like Raid, Baygon, etc. but it is strongly advised that we not use those chemicals since they are poisonous and detrimental to health and environment.
Be wise and aware that leeches also have their roles in food chains and play important roles in medical science. So, let leeches alive by using natural repellents only...