The Barisan Mountain range dominates the coast south of Padang in Sumatra. Here sits 1.5 million hectares of lush rain forest in hands reach of one of the major cities in Sumatra, Kerinci Seblat National Park.
At the peak of this range, sits Gunung Kerinci towering over all that rests below. At 3,805 meters this is an impressive peak and takes a solid days trek to reach the crater summit. When you reach the top you are again reminded that this is an active volcano belching steam into the atmosphere. You will need a guide and the best place to find one is in the village of Kersiktua, they know the routes well and will help carry the supplies, which in this heat is an additional blessing.
There are seven great summits to tackle in the area but by far the favorite is Gunung Tujuh (Seven Mountain). It is around a 3 to 4 hour leisurely trek at 1,905 meters, once at the top you will find a mountain top lake that you can camp at and enjoy. There are multiple trails you can take that will lead you around the lake.
Within this national park as well as great trekking you will find some of the most diverse range of wildlife. From the mysterious Clouded Leopard only seen when it wishes to be seen to the Sumatran Tiger the undisputed King of this tropical paradise. Besides the glamorous animals that call this area home we also find the far from dazzling Tapir yet this is a rare and endangered species of animal. It looks like an over grown pig that can run a bit faster, however in fact it is a genetic relative to the horse and rhinoceros.
As you walk through the rain forest you have to keep on the look out for other big cats, elephants, sun bears, golden cats, gibbons of all types and exotic flowers such as the rarest and largest of flowers: the Rafflesia. Locally it is called the corpse flower as it smells of rotten flesh, which attracts all the creepy crawlies that in turn transport the pollen from male to female. If your guide tells you that you are lucky enough to be there while the flower is blooming you should check it out, as this is a very rare event as it only happens once every 3 to 4 years and it takes 9 to 10 months for the flower to bloom.
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