Monday, March 26, 2012

Last weekend I got back to hills of Cibadak, trying to find new shorter trail from Cibadak to Gunung Pancar. The landscape was really amazing, with lots of rocky streams and rice fields:

The tall grass in the above photo was some fun. I wasn't too confident walking through it because of snakes I saw in the area (actually on the other side of the hill around Gunung Pancar) and also there were quite a few hidden holes in the grass:

Surprisingly, I could not find a single snake all the trail. Even better, not a single banana spider.

Anyway, as it turns out,  my planned route was useless because all the roads shown on Google Earth/ Garmin GPS map that I planned to take were only virtual. I end up trekking 3km through a rocky stream and could not find any way out because of steep hills on both banks of the stream:

The mark 98 visible on Google Earth as a road, where I planned to go up the hill, was actually a small waterfall! Too bad I could not take photos because by the time I got to the stream it was already too dark:

Anyway, after 1 hour of trekking through the stream including 30 minutes in complete darkness I managed to find way out and back to a dirt road. I think I'll need to get stronger flashlight, because the one I had was useless in longer distance, so I couldn't find any road behind grass. I end up switching it off, so after a while I could see roads in the distance. Running in the dark I also scared few farmers, who weren't quite expecting someone running in darkness.

Overall, it was really fun trekking/running. I did not get to my planned destination, but I found few great dirt roads for trail runs.The stream trekking was also great, I'll probably try going up some mountain stream again. Oh, and I'll try to find that trail to Gunung Pancar again - got new route already planned.

Monday, March 12, 2012

After years of running trails mostly in Nike and Reebok shoes I wanted to try a different brand. I've read quite a few positive reviews advertising The North Face Single-Track Trail Running Shoe. e.g.:
  • The North Face Single-Track Awarded “Best Debut” by Runner’s World
  • 2010 Gear of the Year award recipient from Outside Magazine
While on a trip to Bangkok I purchased a pair, which pretty much looks like this:

Now, this is how my heel looks after every 5k trail run in The North Face Single-Track Trail Running Shoe:

The ugly blister in the above photo is courtesy of The North Face as I always get those when I run in their Single-Track Trail Running Shoes. Just in case you wonder, I purchased correct size and have not immediately run long distances in it (it was impossible to run more than 2km in these shoes anyway). The problem with these shoes in my opinion is simply very poor design and I can prove it.

This is how heel looks in my Nike shoes:

Just soft foam with no edges, which is why I've never had a single blister while running in Nike (or Reebok) shoes. Now compare the above heel to The North Face Single-Track:
As you can notice there's hard foam collar in the heel surrounding the ankle and creating sharp edge that rubs the top of my heel. To make matters worse, the material covering this hard collar has texture, which I can compare to sand paper. Perfect recipe for terrible blisters.

These shoes received awards from Runner’s World and Outside Magazine and they happen to be the worst shoes I've ever purchased. Clearly, this was my last purchase of any The North Face product.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Two photos of Siau Island tarsier (Tarsius tumpara) in captivity I took during my last trip to Siau:

This animal is on the top 25 most endangered primates list. It is critically endangered (A1 acd) and faces an imminent threat of extinction. I was shocked to find one in a cage behind a house of some guy on Siau island. This animal is one of only about 1000 still alive!

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