Borneo Head Hunters: Journey to the Iban part 1

One of my biggest goals  when going to Borneo was to meet reputed Head Hunters of Borneo which are named Ibans. I wanted to go to a longhouse that was not part of a tour where there is a demonstration, but find the closest thing I could to a more traditional lifestyle and get a real glimpse of it. And to get to the place I was allowed to be a guest, I had to take quite a journey for a flatland Kansas boy. Me and many others.

This hike was an experience I wont forget. The slick trails led through some beautiful hills and mountain sides. It also required wading through streams and rivers and required me to really push myself to a limit I was not used to.

I believe this was at the very beginning of the trek. If you hadn

I believe this was at the very beginning of the trek. If you hadn’t rode to the area and saw the scenery you wouldn’t know how beautiful this trek would be.

 

Me and a friend were slower than others who seemed to be used to all the conditions of rainforest treks so for a while we stuck together, but being a photographer I would push ahead to take photos and let him catch up. But then I got to a point where I thought it might rain and pressed on harder to protect my gear.

The biggest problem? I had no idea how long this trail was and he was carrying what little water we had between us. I also no concept of time and had no way to figure it out. So I continued to press.

Streams and rivers were a part of the trek. I got tired of changing into water shoes and kept my water shoes on throughout the hike. If you look straight across you can see the steep trail pick back up. Not all trails were soo easy to find as I will explain later.

Streams and rivers were a part of the trek. I got tired of changing into water shoes and kept my water shoes on throughout the hike. If you look straight across you can see the steep trail pick back up. Not all trails were so easy to find as I will explain later.

Eventually though, thirst was taking over. I had not acclimated to the tropical humidity and would constantly sweat even if I was just sitting and doing nothing. Now I have found myself in the same humidity, carrying heavy equipment, on slick inclines and declines, and without safe water to drink. My steripen for water purification was not with me.

If you look carefully you can see the trail is slick.

If you look carefully you can see the trail is slick.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this section of my experience with the Iban with more photos including scenery.

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