On the other side of the Toba River

Florian Reza, 23. August 2013


The other side of the Toba River, 50 meters away as the crow flies, but with the boat it is further than we think because we once again have to fight the strong current. This time, however, with 8 people in the boat – it’s a little test for the ride back to Toba Inlet, which we will have to do with 10 people and a lot of gear. Fortunately the water is still rather high, and we don’t have any problems crossing the river. On the other side of the river we dock at a steep place near a small path the animals use, behind which the thick forest begins.

Our first destination is a moor on the other side of the area. On the way there we keep looking for a suitable place to do our forest inventory. The best kind of area for this purpose is somewhere where there is an average amount and diversity of trees. Before we reach the moor, we find it. Full of Sitka spruce, huge maples and giant cedar trees – this is the 25 meter by 25 meter plot which best reflects the diversity of the forest. So David saves the geo-coordinates and we continue to the moor. On the way there, we encounter our old friend the “Devils Club” – a plant that can grow to about 3 meters in height, with thick stems covered in thorns. But the torture is worth it, when we arrive at the moor we are overjoyed to see that it absolutely holds what it promised. This is what nature preserves are supposed to look like. But a few hundred meters beyond this sight, we see the logging road, where felled trees have been transported away from the Toba Valley for years. At this moment we realize how endangered this valley truly is.

On the way back we stop at a huge maple tree. The “licorice fern “, whose roots taste sweet, like licorice, grows well on these trees, so Kai and Charlotte do a short video next to one of the fern-covered branches. In the meantime all of the mosquitos in the valley have the news that we are back. Our only choice is to put on our long sleeves and trousers, and drench ourselves in bug spray. We arrive at the place where we will do the forest inventory, two 25 meter by 25 meter plots of forest. But this is hard work, since the western hemlock fir tree has such a huge circumference that our German tape measure is not long enough – we have to double up so that we can measure the tree completely. Everyone is sure that this is a very special place that needs to be preserved. We head back and are happy that today even the GPS is working well, leading us to within about 30 meters from our boat. With this thick forest, we can forgive this minor inaccuracy.