02-Feb-2006 -- On a posting in Central Java, Colin Williamson took the opportunity to locate an unvisited confluence. We had no accurate map. Our road map suggested that the confluence would be on the north of a river, the same side as the main road. Google earth suggested that we would have to cross the river. It was not possible to tell from the Google pictures what kind of terrain the confluence lay in. Our party set off in a chartered minibus from Solo City at about 9:00 am on the morning of Thursday 2 February 2006. The main road from there takes you initially westward to Boyolaly, and then north towards the port city of Semarang. The road is fairly good by Indonesian standards, but, as usual the traffic was slow. The road takes you past a number of classically conical volcanic peaks - mostly on the left - that rise steeply from the central Java plateau, which has a mean elevation of about 400 feet. Just before Semarang the road drops to the coastal plain. There we took the main road west towards Jakarta. Some miles west of the town of Kendal, Colin’s GPS indicated rapidly changing bearings, and we pulled off the road onto what might be described as a muddy lay-by. The GPS showed a distance of 0.91 miles to the confluence.
We had reached this point at about 13:15. The eighty-five miles had taken about four hours. Walking down a path through the trees we could see that the confluence lay on the other side of a fast-flowing river, and was probably half way up the tree covered hillside opposite. We also noticed a solid looking bridge spanning the river half a mile downstream. We found an unmade road leading off through the trees down to the river. On the far side the road ascended again. Here it was metalled. It took us up to a village named Tedunan, where the GPS distance was 0.75. From the village we walked. It was about 13:45.
As soon as we began walking it began to rain. Bill wore a pac-a-mac, but soon found he was getting wetter inside it than we were. Colin, with his Garmin GPS, led, looking very intrepid carrying an umbrella. The writer brought up the rear, getting wet. In fact we all got wet. When it rained very hard, as it did for some minutes, the umbrellas were useful, keeping the rain off the Garmin. But at other times one wanted one’s hands free. The terrain was jungle-covered hillside, and our route took us gradually higher. There was scrub underfoot and young trees spaced at three or four feet, so the going was quite good. We had to cross three small streams, the last of which was in quite a deep and steep gully. We passed a clearing with paddy-fields and dykes, inhabited by frogs, but apparently with no current crop under cultivation. It crossed our minds that the people who worked these fields probably had an easier route to reach them. The dykes were narrow and crumbly. We then re-entered the wood, crossed the last stream, and reached the confluence at about 14:30. The place was not quite a clearing, but the trees were a little sparser than in other parts of the wood, so a good GPS signal was received, and photographs were taken.
The return to where we had left the vehicle was less difficult, as the rain had eased and we found a footpath that paralleled our original track. When we got back to the village we had an audience of about forty people, mostly young. We were all soaked to the skin, including our boots, as we had had to walk ankle-deep in mud some of the way. We were given the use of an old gentleman’s bedroom to change into dry clothes. After distributing small gifts of money and chocolate, we made the return journey to Solo, arriving about 19:00.