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The Foothills & the Making of the Maps

The foothills of the twin peaks provide walkers with an abundance of cool getaways and visual surprises. Within two hours of teeming, tropical Jakarta, by private or public transpor- tation, lies a quiet, hilly, verdant countryside where resident Sundanese live much as they have for decades.

At the foot of Mt. Gede and Pangrango, twin volcanoes, residents practice traditional agricul- ture in the midst of great scenic beauty in har- mony with the natural surroundings. Farmers walk the area and tend their fields using a complex network of public foot paths known only, until now, locally. At altitudes of 600-1800 meters, temperatures are several degrees cooler than in Jakarta
A small band of Jakarta-based weekend ex- plorers, including expatriates and Indonesians, learned during the Nineties to hike these many trails to unwind and relax. The hikers needed no special equipment because they could find food, drink and overnight shelter from locals who were pleased to assist for a modest sum.
These weekend explorers were encouraged by their experience to support the preparation of hiking maps for the foothills of Gede and Pangrango. Alex Korns together with a group of young Indonesian geographers decided to undertake the task, and explored the network of footpaths at the foot of the twin peaks in Bogor and Cianjur districts (kabupaten) with GPS. The young Indonesian geographers in 2003 created their own organization (WIPA - Forum For Information On Nature Tourism). [ ]
The mapped areas are at the foot of the twin volcanoes comprise terrain that is broken by the numerous rivers that flow down from the mountains. There are varied types of land use includeing rice paddies, dry fields, tea plantations and tropical rain forest.
Each land use type has its charms. In rice paddies the wanderer can walk on the dykes between the paddies; the paths are often comfortable for barefoot strolls. Many dry fields involve raised bed agriculture, an intensive way of raising vegetables in the rich volcanic soil in carefully tended patches of only a few hundred square meters. Tea planta- tions provide broad vistas and an opport- unity to wander at will without losing one's orientation. The tropical rain forest is usually in better shape the farther it lies from populous villages. Resi- dential areas in the mapped areas range from crowded villages to small settlements and lone houses (marked on the maps ).
[Copyright ©by Alex Korns]