2016 Gunung Latimojong Expedition Kevin Rowe – mammalogist extraordinaire – unpacking his bag on arrival day in Bogor. This was during the week-long permiting process in Jakarta and Bogor. Although this was only 1/3 of our final crew, we needed a small bus to get all of our gear to the airport in Jakarta. Here we are creating a traffic jam at the entrance to the terminal at Soekarno-Hatta Airport We had 38 pieces of checked baggage on our flight to Makassar, Sulawesi – and this was only half of our gear! 10 days into our trip we had finally reached Dusun Gamaru, the jump-off point for our hike up Gunung Latimojong. We had from 2 to 20 people living in this house over the period of a month. The local family hosting us was amazing to put up with such a giant crew for such a long period! Seated on the awesome veranda of the house in Gamaru just before a specimen prepping session To reach Dusun Gamaru requires a pretty epic journey. We flew from San Francisco to Taipei (13 hours), flew from Taipei to Jakarta (5 hours), flew from Jakarta to Makassar (3 hours), drove from Makassar to Belopa (11 hours by paved road), and then drove from Belopa to Gamaru by 4-wheel drive (4 more hours). These 4-wheel drive vehicles were essential! We arrived in Dusun Gamaru during the coffee harvest. This machine separates the coffee seeds/beans from the pulp. The bad news was that arriving in the coffee harvest season creates challenges when trying to recruit people to help us build our mountain field camp and portage our ton of gear up the mountain.. Our trusty Landcruiser on loan from Sucipto Yaurentius. Many thanks to Pak Sucipto for trusting a bunch of bules (and one in particular) with his extremely valuable vehicle! We used the Landcruiser to ferry people and gear part way up the mountain toward our field camp. Then one afternoon, Alexander returned without the Landcruiser, covered in mud, and barefoot.. This is the definition of “stuck”. Worse yet, the front right axle was broken and the 4-wheel drive was consequently out of commission. Oh yeah, and the Landcruiser could no longer turn left.. Ever wonder why a well-equipped 4-wheel drive vehicle will have a side-mounted jack? Alexander putting that jack to good use.. That’s more like it – once you get some of the tires out of the mud, you can start piling up rocks and wood to try to gain some traction Never let it be said that Heidi “Newt” Rockney isn’t dedicated in her effort to get just the right camera angle! Here we are heading up the mountain toward (actually a bit above) our 1770 m field camp Building our field camp at 1770 m elevation on Gunung Latimojong. That’s Boy (aka Scooter Celebes) photobombing my shot! This is our 1770 m field camp. You’re looking at the table shared by ‘Team Ornithology’ and ‘Team Arthropod’ This is the table used by ‘Team Mammal’. Note the beautiful lighting, a really choice spot. ‘Team Herp” arrived last in camp and got stuck in the dark corner visible in the background (not that I’m bitter or anything). BTW, someone wake up Heru.. Team Bird hard at work. This might be the only moment on the entire trip in which Pete Oboyski (drink in hand) wasn’t hard at work. Check out his snazzy Winkler Traps dangling behind him (for filtering insects out of leaf litter). This is our camp’s kitchen (dapur). That’s Dr. Evy Arida regaling the troops. This is the forest immediately adjacent to our 1770 m camp. Anang Achmadi with only the 4th specimen ever collected of Sommeromys macrorhinos, a very cool arboreal shrew rat. This specimen was contributed by Team Herp (just sayin’).. This fossorial snake is a member of the genus Calamaria – one of five species of Calamaria that we collected on Gunung Latimojong. There seems to be a correlation between being fossorial (a burrower), being smooth and slippery, and being irridescent. Another fossorial snake, this one representing the genus Pseudorabdion. We just referred to this as the ‘pointy-headed snake’ for obvious reasons.. This is an aquatic natricine snake called Xenochrophis trianguligerus – just a baby.. We found this undescribed species of flying frog (Rhacophorus) near our 1770 m camp. This species came in a diversity of colors including tan and dark green. One of our herp targets for this trip was the microhylid frog genus Oreophryne. These are direct developers (their eggs hatch into little froglets – they have no tadpole stage) and thus don’t require free water for reproduction. These tiny frogs were the only amphibians that we saw above 1770 m elevation. This little owl is called a Speckled Boobook (Ninox punctulata). Here it’s on display along with Rauri Bowie. Cool fact: owls are called ‘burung hantu’ in Bahasa Indonesia, which means ‘ghost bird’. Jeff Frederick with his assortment of gizmos used to evaluate the ecophysiology of Limnonectes fanged frogs (Dusun Gamaru). We set a smaller temporary camp at 2270 m elevation which was essentially just a tarp and our tents. This was the view from our 2270 m camp. The Latimojong Mountains are the tallest on Sulawesi (3478 m) and this is one of the 3000 m plus summits off in the distance. Another look through the clearing to the higher reaches of the Latimojong Mountains. Mossy forest at 2300 m on Gunung Latimojong. More mossy forest at 2300 m on Gunung Latimojong. Even at 2300 m the trees are tall on Sulawesi. No idea which species of tree is in the photo, but the white bark was beautiful. The trees become noticeably shorter at about 2400 m elevation. Zaldi with a spectacular hog-nosed squirrel (Hyosciurus heinrichi) from ~2300 m elevation Luke Bloch and Rauri Bowie approaching the 2525 m puncak (summit). Our guide knew right where this tree was at 2400 m. From the sound of it, the bee hive seemed to fill the entire 4 meter stump, yet he had no qualms about reaching in up to his armpit (after blowing a little cigarette smoke into the opening) to pull out handfuls of honeycomb.. Extracting honey.. Here is some honey comb in the hand – the honey was sweet and a bit smoky – super delicious! Rauri Bowie and Luke Bloch in the cloud forest on our hike to the 2525 m summit (Puncak Siajo). Puncak Siajo (2525 m elevation). The trees on the puncak were stunted and the vegetation (including Rhododendron and Nepenthes) indicated impoverished soil. Big trees were still in view higher up on the adjacent ridge. A pitcher plant (Nepenthes) on Puncak Siajo (2525 m) We set another temporary camp on Puncak Siajo. There were no herps to be seen but lots of birds were present and we collected 6 species of shrews! Puncak Siajo.. Its cold on the summit as the sun sets. Pete Oboyski is seen in the background netting insects and spiders. Marlboro Man Luke Bloch Luke Bloch recording birds at dusk on Puncak Siajo. Pete beating (really).. Puncak Siajo. Pete Oboyski working his net on Puncak Siajo Pete Oboyski multi-tasking. Net in-hand as he operates his light trap for insects on Puncak Siajo. Getting a team of 23 people off of a mountain is a logistical challenge. Here we sort and load gear for departure to Dusun Lempo (a lower elevation field site further down the mountain). One of several car-loads of gear that had to be transported to Dusun Lempo. Dusun Lempo – we used this house as a base for our 4 days at Dusun Lempo. This site was a 2-hour drive from Dusun Gamaru in an area that retained a bit of lowland forest (just a bit..). You could see the coast and the intervening destruction from Dusun Lempo.. If you look closely, you can see that some forest remains around Dusun Lempo, but what is there now won’t be there for long. The area around Dusun Lempo mostly looked like this – the vestiges of recent logging and even more recent conversion to kabun (agriculture). More of the same around Dusun Lempo. This is a cool juvenile Rhacophorus tree frog. I think its likely Rhacophorus edentulus, but I’ve never seen a blue individual of this species before. Genetics will help us determine the species ID. Hair-crested Drongo with Newt Rockney readying her camera in the background. A Sulawesi Dwarf Kingfisher. Kingfishers go by the name ‘raja udang’ in Indonesia which means ‘king shrimper’. This name gives me endless amusement.. When we left Dusun Lempo we had a night to kill in Belopa. Here, Heru and Pete join me for a relaxing beverage at ‘Coffee Bro’ (for real). This should be Anang Achmadi’s permanent profile photo. I mean, how can you beat this one? No matter how thrilled we were to be back in Makassar after a month of rugged fieldwork, this photo should not be used by Heru Handika or Luke Bloch as a profile photo. This was at the house we rented via AirBnB – yes, they have AirBnB on Sulawesi! Back in Makassar, we had a 3-hour presentation to give! Thanks to Zaldi for rolling out the red carpet!