As I walked along the wet, muddy and slippery path that was barely wide enough for one foot in front of the other, with the forest vegetation closing in on me from both sides, all I could think about was the National Geographic programme that the boys had watched on TV only days earlier. The programme was all about the worlds deadliest snakes and included the Russell’s Viper which can be found in Indonesia and is one of the Big Four Snakes of Asia meaning that it is one of the snakes that causes the most bites and claim thousands of lives in Asia each year. I now know that this snake doesn’t actually reside in Bali, however, in my crazed and agitated state I could see that snake hanging from every branch that hung over the path and beneath every stalk of grass that touched my foot. Adrenalin was coursing through my brain. It was fight or flight and I wanted to fly right out of there faster than I had ever run (since I can’t actually fly!) before. But the path was slippery, one wrong move and it would be a slide down the mountain to meet a death by thunderous water rapids. I was squeezing Ashton’s hand with more pressure than he was comfortable with, he was relying on me to keep him safe and so with many deep breathes and silent prayers hoping that we were heading in the right direction we kept on climbing, one step at a time to reach our way out of this jungle.
Our quest to view the waterfalls of Munduk wasn’t all quite so dramatic. It started out easily enough with a 2km walk from our Homestay up a windy, steep and narrow road whilst keeping an eye out for the usual scooters and cars who frequent the area. When the sign pointing with an arrow and the word ‘Waterfall’ came into view we were all rather relieved and elated to be nearly there. It was then a 500m trek through the hill but down a well-paved path to what our map told us was Melanting Waterfall but was actually Red Coral Waterfall. We should have stopped trusting our map here but we hadn’t realised the error just yet…
The Red Coral Waterfall was a truly magnificent sight. The heavy rains from the night before may have caused havoc on the roads and broken part of the path leading to the waterfall but it ensured an absolutely spectacular rush of water was cascading over the edge of the mountain to where we were standing below.
It was by then 11am and we made the call to continue on to the second waterfall displayed on the map that had been printed off for us by the Homestay staff and Munduk locals. There were a few different tracks to take, and we ended up going back and forth on a few of them before a local Balinese lady selling coffee and spices within the mountain pointed out an error on the map and directed us onto the right path to follow. And so after a quick coffee and fried banana break we were on our way again, albeit a little tired and weary from the trip already, and not quite as excited about seeing the second waterfall of the day.
Upon eventually finding the right path and then paying to view the second waterfall, the lady on the booth warned us more than once to be careful on the way down and right then loud clanging alarm bells started going off in my head. The Balinese people are lovely and are of course one of the main reasons that we love visiting the island, but often they appear rather happy-go-lucky and safety doesn’t always seem to be a big concern to them. So to hear this word of caution not once but three times from a local put me a little on edge and when I saw the moss covered, slippery steep steps with edges that dropped away to nothing I was positively frightened. But carefully and slowly with a child to hold onto tightly and look after each, Ricky and I ploughed on. It is all part of the adventure, right? And this is a tourist attraction so it must be ok, yes? I wasn’t so sure, but we kept forging ahead regardless.
We eventually reached the waterfall and I think we were all more than a little happy that the adventure was almost coming to an end. That was until we saw the tree that had fallen over the bridge, the path’s that all veered off in different directions and looked as overgrown as the next path and of course the tiny track that had us feeling claustrophobic in the expansive wilderness of the mountain.
I needed to escape! I had flashing thoughts of news reports detailing our deaths and how long it took to find our bodies or of at least one of us slowly dying from a snake bite while we watched on trying to carry them through the shrubbery and find our way out. But thankfully my imagined news reports did not come to fruition and exhausted but grateful to be alive we found our way out of the mountain and back on to the now welcoming narrow, windy road with cars and scooters whizzing by. An adventure to be relived in my mind many times over but I wont be chasing any more waterfalls anytime soon!
xx Travelling Fresh