walking to Lata Berkoh  Hazel had a cold and a runny nose, and she didn't feel like doing the great explorer bit.

Lian Siew and I, given the chance, would have scrambled over mud and quicksand to Mongolia and back. It probably didn't matter that we were millions of miles away, or that we didn't have rations to last more than five hours. It was just the atmosphere. Of being outdoors, brushing along with the creepy, sighing, curious, wonderful, regurgitating rainforest.

The river roared a few metres away. Flecks of foam. The moving surface held a reassuring promise. Even in this lost wilderness, there must be some purpose in heading out to where the world is a lot bigger.

And the rainforest spoke, in every whisper leading us deeper and closer. What was it? Exhilaration moving freeload at breakneck speed? We could have wandered off track. Happily, obliviously, getting lost.

But Hazel stuck to the trails, and we stuck to her. That was real smart.

Hazel posing on the way to Lata Berkoh cascades, at the Taman Negara National Park. Foot trails were clearly delineated, trodden by nature-lovers, bird-watchers, bathers and the odd jungle animal. However, little sidepaths snaked out of sight, disappearing between shrubs and tree trunks, promising more mystery.


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