We got up this morning hoping for an early start. While we were having a not so tasty breakfast of eggs and rice, the porters were still negotiating amongst themselves. We finally got under way shortly after 8:30 AM but after barely walking 100 yards down the village, we got stopped by one of the village elders.
He blocked the road and would not let us pass. Some heavy shouting ensued between him and some of our porters. Apparently a previous trekking team had gone through Sugapa and neglecting to pay the porters in full. He wanted some money and compensation to let us pass. After 35 minutes of negotiating, we progressed a quarter of a mile before barricade number two.
Same deal as we negotiated earlier, paid a few bucks and moved on to the third barricade. That was the refrain of the day and by the time we made it to the village on Suangama we had gone through eight such road blocks. What should have taken us one hour ended up taking four hours just to get to Suangama.
The village of Suangama is the last frontier before entering the jungle. We had to pick up additional porters there to keep both tribes happy. Sugapa is inhabited by the Moni tribe whereas Suangama is home to the Dani tribe. Everyone was on board and ready to go until some crazy tribe member picked up his Machete and blocked the way. We were not exactly sure what he was griping about but after yet another 30-minute delay in negotiation, we were finally on our way into the dangerous jungle.
We trekked for 6 hours to our first camp and got our introduction to the deep mud, river crossings, slippery log bridges, narrow and dangerous exposed ridges, and the depth and density of the jungle.
Tomorrow we have a very long day and we try to push all the way to Camp 3, skipping Camp 2. We’re trying to get to Base Camp in 5 days instead of 6 days.Next Post: Carstensz Day 5: Camp 1 to Camp 3 Previous Post: Carstensz Day 3: Timika to Sugapa