Lake Ranau (Photo by : Umilaela Arifin)
The Beauty of Lake Ranau
June 17, 2013, we continued our exploration in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. On that day we headed to Lake Ranau. The lake was very beautiful, big, surrounded by mountains, and there was an island in the middle. The lake was very similar to Lake Toba in North Sumatra, but it is not popular so not many people know the beauty of this lake. We had lunch at the restaurant by the lake. The fresh wind that blew from the lake and beautiful scenery in front of our eyes made our lunch more enjoyable. After lunch, we took pictures at the lake. After that, the exploration team was divided into two groups. I entered the group members that were only 4 members. Most of the members wanted to go to the highest point in around Lake Ranau. My group destination was lower than the other group. Initially, I was happy because the altitude point of the group that I follow was not as high as the other group. Then in the middle of the track I regretted because the track was pretty tough. Steep incline made me almost desperate. Until finally we reached the top of the highest point of our destination (1000 m asl) before dark.
The beautiful Blue-eyed Frog, Leprobrachium waysepuntiense.
When it was dark, we started searching herpetofauna from that point while slowly descending down the mountain. Then, I was surprised to see a litter frog. The frog was dark gray with blue eyes and lateral body glows blue when it was flashed on with a head lamp. I tried to take the photo. Then I gave it to Mr. Amir. He told that it was Leprobrachium waysepuntiense juvenile. He was the one who described the frog first in 2010. After that we found the same frog species but the adult. After that, the searching went smoothly. We found a snake Astenodiphas laephis, several Agamids like Gonocephalus sp and Bronchocela sp, and other frogs such as Philautus sp.
When we went down the mountain , we did not find a way out . In other words we did not know where we went through. GPS looks like did not work because we always find a dead end (cliff). This is Bukit Barisan, the hills lined up each other. All the hills in that area looks the same. Hills in north south east west had the same shape and vegetation. After that, we tried to follow the stream, hoping the stream end up to Lake Ranau. Around the stream we found a lot of frogs Leptophrine sp. Walking down the stream in a long time, finally we tried to look at the GPS. Obviously the streams leaded to the sea. In other words, we had been far away from Lake Ranau. It was around midnight and it started to rain. After that, we tried to follow the track that we had been through with cutting the track with climbed the hill and down the hill one by one. But we always found a dead end. There was always a cliff at the end of the track, so we tried to turn around and tried to do the same, up and down the hill one by one. But it turned out that we were just tracked around there although we felt it went very far. At that time, the time was at 2 am. We decided to take a rest. The place was on top of a rocky hill. I did not know how many leeches and mosquitoes which suck our blood that night. Our clothes got wet because of rain, sweat, and blood. We did not care about that. We just wanted to rest because we were very tired. We slept on a rock, without tents, jacket, and sleeping bag. We slept with a growling stomach.
Awakened by a Tiger
At about 4 am, we were awakened by the roar of a tiger. The tiger must already knew our location since we already entered its territorial area. When the tiger roared, not only human are silent by its roar, but also other animals like elephants, the crickets and cicadas also were silent because of the tiger roars. At that time, I was actually proven that the tiger is the “King of the Jungle “. King of the jungle told in stories always synonymous with lion. But lion do not live in the jungle, but in Savanna. Lion do not live in Indonesia. Therefore, tiger is the most deserves to be called the king of the jungle in Sumatra. Besides, the tiger was able to make living things around them to be silent. I can only pray at that time hoping the tiger did not come to us. If we are dealing with a tiger certainly we would not defeat it because we were very tired and hungry. Even if we were in good shape we will not be able to fight it because we were not kung fu warriors or Tarzan. In the story, there are only two people I know can fight a tiger with his bare hands, Tarzan and Chinmi ( Kung Fu Boy ). In the story of Shin Sukoiden there is a story of kung fu warrior that fights the tigers, but they use weapons, such as spears and swords. Finally, I pray until half asleep. I was awaken at 6 am and the sun began to rise. We survived from the threat of tiger. Because it was already morning, we just realized that we slept beside a cliff.
Searching a Way Out
Around 7 o’clock we decided to continue the search of the way out. We came down the hill to find a stream. We drank as much water while eating the rest of the snacks that we brought. Although only a little, the snacks could add to our energy on that morning. The stream was located in the valley between the hills that look the same. At that time the stream was very beautiful with morning sunlight. Above us, there were a lot of birds chirping. Hornbill with large numbers passed over us and perched on top of a large tree. Hordes of Siamang Gibbons scream loudly on the big trees. That forest’s the most beautiful forest I have ever seen.
We continued to seek a way out. When the water supply ran out, I drank water from the water on the leaves. We tried to eat whatever we can ate to add energy. At 12 am, we reached the top of a hill and had visible views of Lake Ranau. We continue walking down the forest and finally few found a way out of the forest around 2 pm. We lay down beside Lake Ranau while thankful to God we’re still alive after what we’ve experienced in the forest.
Expedition Members: Amir Hamidy (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia), Utpal Smart (University of Texas at Arlington), Umilaela Arifin (University of Hamburg), Kemal Iqbal Nawie (Brawijaya University), and a Guide from Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.
Leptobrachium waysepuntiense – Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park
Sleeping beside the cliff (Photo by : Umilaela Arifin)
After sleep with desperate faces (Photo by: Umi Arifin)
Drinking a lot of water (Photo by : Umilaela Arifin)
Beautiful stream and forest (Photo by : Umilaela Arifin)
Finally, a way out (Photo by : Umilaela Arifin)