Camping Hiking Outdoor

Hiking: Gunung Yong Belar Perak, Pahang, Kelantan Part 2

Three weeks have gone. The bites from sand flies have already subsided. It’s my first time getting attacked by these pest and it really does hurt. The females needed the protein in my blood so that they could make eggs. How comforting is that? I am doing my part in extending their family blood line. I feel noble. Hell I am. I was swatting blindly everywhere. Can’t really see them as they are really small. The darkness of the jungle is just perfect. The trees seems to desperately claw at the stars leaving only gaps for the moonlight to penetrate. Barely enough for us to look around the campsite.

I just hated the part where I have to squeeze into the LRT with my backpack. It was already a nightmare to board the train after working hours. Maneuvering itself is hard… let alone with a big bag. Boarding the LRT from KLCC is insane. The people just push and push and so did I because I was rushing to make it to meet the rest. It was during this frenzy that I did not realize that my left thumb got sprained. It hurts. The pain lasted the whole trip.

Everything happened like I somehow expected it would. I have reached the Wangsa Maju LRT station and tip tap tip tap. It started raining. The heavy downpour made me worried as the journey up Cameron took around 4 hours and poor visibility made me a little queasy. The friendly strangers were late. There was some confusion on where to meet but after running up and down a couple of times, everything was sorted out and we are ready to roll. I managed to express my amazement upon the sight of of K’s enormous backpack. G’s bag wasn’t any better. Both was filled to the brim and it pains me to see K shouldering hers. It dwarfed her. Not surprising, for this was their first camping trip. Their usual day trip hikes  prepared them for the hike up but not the packing part. I had my fair share of sloppy packing… or should I say inexperience, that I stuffed things that was unnecessary. Total dead weight. Unused items.
I ditched a lot of stuff this time. Wallet became a plastic ziplock pocket size. Toiletry bag kasi buang jauh jauh. No camera as I would be enjoying the air and water more. Don’t want to waste the moments squatting over a small plant. My previous trip also went undocumented. My clothing were only the necessary ones. The only extra I had was one boxer. Bought a cheapo raincoat this time instead of bringing the thick useless heavy jacket. I learned a little from Stong. And no can food, please. Unless it’s an easy hike, otherwise leave it at home.

The journey to Kampung Raja in Cameron Highlands was a bit flat > boring . The music selection was a bit dusty I must say. I had to struggle to keep my eyes open on numerous occasion. While the rest in the car played song guessing, I was totally clueless. Although I do recognize one or two tunes and tried to tap my feet along. Movement keeps me awake. I even tried to have senseless conversation. But overall, we did have a couple of good laughs along the way. I think. It’s a bit fuzzy now for me to recall.

Saw the rest at Kwan Tee Temple Hall. It was already 1230am. The cold night air nestled me like a long lost adopted son. Our group was already taking up the corners, lying snugly in their sleeping bags. I quickly chose a spot and made my bed for the night. Brushing my teeth made them chatter. The water seems to shake me up, chasing away the sleepiness. Staggered back to the hall which nearly cause me to fall. Another shake up. How to sleep now.

I was thankful I had a sleeping mat, though cheap it did work, for the concrete floor was hard and icy cold. Maybe that was a glimpse of a morgue’s slumber party. Without warning or sirens blaring, cars and four wheel drives hummed to a halt. I think the time read 130am. The passengers alighted, all boisterous and ignorant of their surrounding, like they have just hit land, reached the port, after months of traveling in the tongkang. Their numbers were bigger and very quickly marked their territory. I seem to attract the special ones, for these two 40 plus-ish couples laid out an air bed and started to give it a real pumping. It was extremely annoying as it lasted more than 20 minutes. When a woman in their bed said in a hush voice that it’s good enough, (thank god she felt a little embarassed) but the dick prick said he would rather continue since he already killed the mood for everyone. Loud enough for a few of us to hear anyway. They went on for another good 10 minutes of blowing before stopping.You thought it would end there? You are so wrong. They continued to toss around in their air bed, creating friction and noise. In the other corner, a snorer emerged. All my sheeps started running against the traffic. By then I was just wishing the sun would come up soon. This scenario would repeat itself in the mountains. 🙂

Morning came and we quickly packed up and went for breakfast. I ate a lot. Drank some water and took a dump. Lighten the load for the road, baby. My backpack has taken on an additional 10kg easily, for I was carrying 6 packs of rice and a big plastic bag of food for my group. Topped it with my 3 liter reservoir and I am so gonna get hell.

At 930am after the briefing by Botak Chin and group photo, we are all set to go. I chose a beaten up Land Rover Defender, with faded POLIS on it’s side doors. Sweet. We flagged off about 10am with us trailing in second place. If you have been to Cameron Highlands, you would see the old four wheel drives, races up and down the slopes. Our diesel friendly driver had the air huffed and puffed at us carelessly and roughly. It felt great. I stood on my feet the whole journey.

First reason : I don’t get to ride on the back of a speeding 4wd in the mountains that often.

Second being that my scrawny ass hurts everytime our ride hits a rough spot.

Third, it’s much more fun! Whee…

We lumbered past the vegetable farm, setting sights on tomatoes and beautiful cabbages. There were a number of times that I thought we would flip over, or I get thrown out of the car and onto the greens. Thrilling ride really. I was more worried about our backpacks on the car roof instead. A bottle of 100plus had fell out earlier spilling its mildly sweet sticky content all over the road echoed by ooo’s and aaa’s.

Another group photo before the long hike. This time I am sitting on the car roof.

The start of the journey was a long flight of steep stairs. The first 5 minutes gave me a taste of what is in store for me for the 6 hours ahead. My backpack was just too heavy and I trudged up the stairs, visibly straining under the mercy of my load. It was really bad. 15 minutes later I stopped and unpacked. I rearranged my stuff. The food went lower in my bag, making sure it’s about my waist level. Rested a while before giving my group the thumbs up. Slightly better. The shoulder strap has already begun to sink it’s teeth on my left. Nothing much I can do but soldier on. The first hour and the half was not enjoyable. We had to balance ourselves on PVC pipes, avoid soft, muddy, wet ground, that waits patiently to suck your whole ankle and calf in. The rotan plants made it worse. I never knew they had thorns that vicious. I had only tasted the lashes of the finished product often in my younger days.

We stopped at a river. Waited for the rest here. News came that a few of them had been stung by wasps. And it looks bad. One had the most, about a dozen and he needed a jab. Lucky for us, a doctor was in the group. He gave out some tablets and cream too. Good thing that T was resilient enough though he did feel the poison run through his veins. There were times that he was swaying a little. It worried us and he is the biggest guy in our group. He is strong and he persevered.

Crossed the river and it was an uphill and downhill task onwards. The hike took much longer because the trail requires us to go up and down so many times that after a few hours of hike, we only managed perhaps few hundred meters above sea level. Yong Belar is 2181 meter. We were tired rested quite a number of times. Some jokes did help lighten the mood. No grouchy ones here, so it was good. I hate those.

We hit our secret base camp around 5. It’s a new place. We were told not to divulge the coordinates or location earlier in the briefing. No posting of it anywhere. It was because some previous camp sites have been badly cannibalized by other people. Overcrowded. Leaving rubbish everywhere. Tudung Periuk, the usual camp site was a good example. The rubbish was in a heap up to my knees and growing. Some dumb fags brought melamine plates and ceramic mug and decided to hide beneath some roots. Big packets of unused rice hangs on the trees. Empty blue cylinders strewn in some bushes amongst some burnt rubber. Batteries. Food wrappers. The worst perhaps are buried food because it attracts ants and they will burrow to get to it. And with constant food supplies nearby, the whole camping ground would be infested by ants. There is no way to get rid of them, apart from abandoning the site for around ten years plus. They said it was not selfish, because they did share before and had seen the place went to shame and hated the irresponsibility. Fine by me.

Since it’s a new site, we had to weaved through heavy vegetation, hacking past plants, trees, rotans and more trees. Some trees were dead and hollow. Be careful where you lean against. Finally we saw it across the river. We huddled together and chose a spot for ourselves. We had a nice flytent and groundsheet enough for the three of us. Alas, it was not meant to be. To my horror, we appear to have gotten a last minute tent mate. What the hell. Honestly the camping ground here is damp and soft. Roots everywhere. It’s not flat ground. Yes it was unhabited but that does not make it a good camping site. I chose the far side of the tent, the edge really. The side where when it rains, I would be literally fucked. And I was fucked on both nights back to back for those who might be interested.

Wait… do you know what is a fly tent?

From Wikipedia:
A fly refers to the outer layer of a tent or to a piece of material which is strung up using rope as a minimalist, stand-alone shelter. In basic terms, a fly is a tent without walls. Since the advent of water-proof materials a fly is unnecessary as an outer layer to the tent. Purpose-made stand-alone flies are also sometimes referred to as bivouacs, bivvies, tarpaulins, or hootchies. Flies are generally used for keeping moisture (such as condensation or rain) or sun off people while they eat, rest or sleep. They can also be used as groundsheets, but this is not recommended since it creates wear and tear which can lead to holes.

A stand-alone fly is a multi-purpose tool and is very flexible. For example, a fly can be put up in a wide variety of shapes depending on the environment and the weather, whereas a tent usually has a pre-set configuration for its structure which can be adjusted somewhat but not substantially. A fly also has the advantage of being particularly light and portable.

Disadvantages of flies include that a person is still exposed to the elements such as mosquitoes and cold weather and that it can be difficult to put a fly up if there are limited natural vertical structures such as trees in the camping area.

Our tent was tied to trees instead of to the ground. So it was just a roof. When I meant I was fucked, I meant it in a good way. Just to experience it. I was kind of hoping it to happen anyway, that was why I chose the side. Sleeping in a fly tent is good, apart from the sand flies of course. The ventilation is good, unlike being in a tent. I was sleeping out in the open. No, I did not think about what if wild boars came, brown bears, tiger. monkeys, wild dogs, snakes, leeches, Big Foot, mawas, terung, tembikai, kakak tua, etc. It did not cross my mind. If it did happen, there are others around me too. My chance was about 1/7. Since we do not have much space at our forsaken site, each of us had rocks, roots and elbows with no room to shift around. Simon though, our resident snore guy, manages to catch some 30 winks every night. We laughed at him earlier because he was sleeping beside a swamp. A hole that keeps filling up with water no matter what we did. We were like sleeping on cold wet mashed potato. And I kept sliding down due to the uneven ground.

To be continued.

Camping Hiking Outdoor

Hiking: Gunung Yong Belar Perak, Pahang, Kelantan

Got a call from the MK to meet at the opposite of the road. Time check 3pm. That made me alert a little as this was the hours that I usually start my fishing. Ten more minutes to 6 before the cake cutting session. Better wolf down some chocolate smothered sweet nothings before I meet up with the rest. Dinner would be quite late I suppose at some R&R.
The blaring siren of the police car and “Beri laluan” bellowing from their PA system is annoying. Clearing the way for some potbellied, mustachio,  high cholesterol, well connected puto. Usual scene when one works around KLCC area. But I won’t let it spoil my mood.

But honestly, I do not feel too excited or am anticipating for what is in store for me. I have learned that it’s better to let the journey unravel its own rather than worrying whether if I could fit in, how the weather would be, what do I do if I have to take a dump in the jungle, how to change my clothes when I am staying under a flysheet, what am I suppose to do with my time when night falls… you get the idea.

This time round I pack light. Weight is the keyword here. Previously I shouldered too much extra kgs. Bloody killer both on my back and the legs. This time round, I trim it down and I brough:

  • 1 normal outdoor long pants – heavy
  • 1 fisherman pants – light/easy to dry
  • 1 board shorts – I can bath in these and it dries easier.
  • 3 pair of boxers
  • 2 long sleeves one is lighter wear and another in case the night gets too cold. Thicker.
  • 1 short sleeve
  • 1 singlet
  • 2 pairs of socks
  • 1 poncho
  • 1 buff
  • 1 pair of Inov8
  • 1 pair of slipper
  • 2 bars of snicker
  • 1 packet of Oats
  • 5 Nature Valley bars
  • 3 potatoes
  • 1 Sea to Summit Dry Sack
  • 1 3litre Camelbak Hydration Reservoir
  • 1 First Aid Kit (Plaster, Charcoal Pills, Panadols, Deep Heat, Counter Pain, Ho Yan Hor, Scissors, Nail Clipper, Finger Tape, Safety Pin and etc)
  • Toiletry pouch
  • 1 Pack of Glucolin
  • 1 Pack of Organic Protein
  • Assorted Vitamins
  • 1 Packet of Salt (in case there are leeches)
  • 1 FavourLight Luxeon Rebel 90
  • 1 Energizer headlamp
  • 4 extra AAA batteries
  • 1Komperdell trekking pole
  • 1 ziplock plastic for my ID, money, amulet, Touch n Go, LRT card. I have even ditch the unnecessary wallet. Extra dead weight.
  • 1 sleeping bag
  • 1 sleeping mat
  • 8 tent pegs

I think the overall weight is around 10kg.
Bear in mind, for clothings I would constantly have 1 set on me.

I have to update this when I get back. Time is near.

Climb Hiking Outdoor Paranormal

Tabur East and Mad Monkeyz Gym

My fingers are a bit sore. Some cuts on my leg. But luckily the earlier headache caused by the heatwave has gone. Argh… my body is a bit stiff too. Too much activities for a day but to wrap it up with some personal comfort food… just make the day seems great.

Was up at 6 plus. Went downstairs to get myself a big bowl of soup made earlier. Suppose to cleanse the blood a little. Meanwhile I quickly stuffed my gears in the bags. Eddie called yesterday wanting to hike up Tabur East and do some rock climbing there. I had never been up Tabur East although I have went up Tabur West quite a number of times. We started around 730am. Took some runners with me and my own gears. Damn was it heavy. The hike up Tabur East is different. It’s steep most of the journey. And considerably treacherous too. Oh before I forgot, Rolly Polly said that the Tabur trail is the world’s longest quartz ridge in the world. Maybe so… I did not do any research. But if you hike up Bukit Tabur you will stumble upon a lot of crystal forms. Quite amazing really if you take time to look at them up close.

We trekked up for an hour plus, taking a few rests because it’s really heavy. The gears seems to be getting heavier with every lumbering step I took. And I knew it would be worse during the hike down. I was right. When we reached the rock tower, approximately 8+ meters tall, Eddie went up the rocks from the middle. After some surveying, we finally settled on setting up a top rope system for a 6a climb. Setting up took about 30 mins. The climbing took a maximum of 3 minutes. Including taking shameless poser photoshoots. We vowed while gripping on sharp rocks that this would be the first and last rock climbing we are going to do in Tabur.

We had lunch in Wangsa Maju area. I ate a lot. Again.

Then I suggested to Eddie that we visit the Mad Monkeyz, they are a week away from their official opening. So off we went. No one was there apart from Shang. He was bouldering alone. We walked around and checked the place out. It has been ages since I bouldered. No Summit, no boulder. Surprise surprise, suddenly the rest of the Summit gang came, all unannounced. No prior planning. All the familiar faces streamed in. I feel so good. It was great to see them again and doing the usual hand shake/sign. It was full house by 3pm.

The traversing is just crazy, and I could not even finish half a set. The overhang, the unfamiliar handholds and the lack of power… all contributed to my failure. Haha… and I kept getting cramps in my thighs and calf. Even the feet. Too late for stretches. Dang.
I completed only a few simple routes. The rest, haha…went uncompleted. I even forgot the holds, so won’t be attempting it again. I had FUN that day.

I even joined the gang for thai seafood bbq in Ampang area. It was really really good. I was not expecting to find a restaurant like that. The fried rice is just fragrant and nicely cooked. Simple, with some eggs and prawns. Look golden. Not oily too. The vegetables was ok. Fish was good, so was the squid and tom yam. The grill crab though, is yummy. It’s just simple grill over charchoals or something. Did not check. Too lazy to walk. The meat was still moist and sweet unlike the one I had in Seremban which has already dried up and a little shrivelled. Not a goodexperience at all, especially when I hear so much about it. And the fact that I have been back to the restaurant to eat 3 times within a month is enough proof. Less than 14 days  after this, I went over with Eric and Vincent after work. Very impromptu dinner. I had planned out another dinner with colleagues at this place two weeks later. Though I like it, I think I should get my paws away from seafood for a month or two. Too much cholesterol. At least not that much. I kept forgetting the name, so don’t ask me.

I just remembered a strange thing while we were hiking down from Bukit Tabur Eest. It just occurred to me. It’s a little creepy really. When we were hiking down, we heard some hammering noise. Quite repetitive. I assumed that there was some bum was trying to get some quartz back home for display or something. I made some comments off the fly. As we were approaching nearer and nearer it got a little louder. When I thought that I would see the person in action after the descend, there was none. So I thought where the hell is the guy? I thought I heard wrongly. I even doubted myself for a while thinking that it might be echoes from the construction area instead. Because we could hear the machines quite clearly from up there.

We continued walking down and less than a minute or two the hammering came back on. It was definitely from above. Loud and clear. I asked Eddie if he realized it. Judging by his response, it seemed he did. He told me to go ahead, act as nothing happened. He looked freaked too. As for Rolly, I did not ask him. He just listened quietly. Impossible for a person to hide from us, as the place has not much hiding space. It’s ravine on both sides. Trees are thin and spaced out. Behind rocks? There are no big boulders at that particular section. If it’s a human, normally they would just be there, saying hi. Won’t go to the extend of hiding. Any of you experienced that in Tabur East before? I feel spooked even now when I think about it.

Camping Hiking Outdoor

Hike : Gunung Stong, Kelantan Part 3

Random pictures of stong. Very random very few.

My sunrise are always disappointing.

My first camp. The one on the left with a blue tshirt on top. No space to toss and turn. Not that I need it that much. Especially having the pleasure of enjoying an all night vegetation erection kneading its hard knob around my waist. Oh yeah baby.

Personally the highlight up Stong should be this little mischievous rascal. The view up on the Stong peak is nothing to shout about. Whisper still ok la. She is not shy when there are food to be passed on. She likes chips. Try bringing Lays or Kettle. Bet she enjoys premium chips cos I don’t think she shops at local marts that often judging the way how she gobbles down the pieces she lays her paws on. Fyi, there is a mountain named Gunung Ayam in the distance. Legend has it that it was because the guy who discovered the route up always see a white rooster each time. Yes, ayam is a general term for chicken.

My lousy shot does no justice to the beautiful rush of water drops. Its majestic. One has to be there to soak in the elements. The crisp freshness. The deafening crash of water against century polished rocks. All of it. My favourite waterfall. The others I have been too is too crowded with people. Too polluted. Too much human interference. I am trying to go visit them while I still can.

Who knew that we would get certs when we complete the hike? I forgot about it and put mine in some detergent and water. Have to extract it slowly… now it has water stains.

Camping Hiking Outdoor

Hike : Gunung Stong, Kelantan Part 2

Previously known as : I Just Got Stong-ed Part 2

A week has gone and I am still a little tanned. Cuts and scratches healed. Aches gone. More than enough sleep. Over ate too.
Damn… I do miss the short lived days where I have absolutely no communication with the outside world at all. No mobile phones, no computers, no tv, no cars, no air conditioning, no mad crowds, no bright lights… just the simple form of civilization. Though I was not in the very deep jungles but it’s good enough.

Let me take you back to the scene where the thick morning fog was still swallowing the railway track below while the sun peeks timidly from behind a curtain of thick woolly clouds. I had just managed to stumble down onto the railroad with the weight of a dead secondary two student behind me. On second thoughts make it an overweight primary five student from Johore.
I had earlier splashed water and wiped off some grogginess in the tiny train washroom before heading to extract my backpack. I was still in a blur daze. I woke up ten minutes before the train stopped at Dabong, a small train station stranded in the outskirts. With lightning speed I repacked my stuff, double checked and put on my shoes. Washed my face, saw the group leaving the train and I followed, and before I left my bunk I flicked the curtain of the guy sleeping opposite of me. The one that I borrowed my carabiner to. Damn I should have gotten it back then and there. He was still doing it slow motion, unpacking and repacking his gears. I mumbled to him that they all got off and I am getting down too. Better hurry. And off I went. It was when I landed on the platform that I saw the two dozen plus people are already there… some posing for photos and others walking up and down the platform checking out the place. I straightened my specs and walked towards the platform while the train picked up momentum.

Managed to squeeze myself in for a photo.

Then someone in the group asked where the guy sleeping opposite me was… and they started to run around looking for him. Hell to think that he has a group of friends and they totally forgot about him. Later during the trip, I realized that it was his character to sometimes wander off on his own once in a while. The train has barely left the station before it came to a screeching halt. No one knew what happened. Neither did I. Before long, a few of them was running towards the end of the platform. Then I heard “Someone jumped off the train!”. Bloody hell, it appears that my bunk neighbour did an Indiana Jones scene. Shit, let’s hope that it does not spoil the party… and with every steps I took, I repeated myself. Shazaam, there he is… lying on the cold dusty concrete… not moving much… a bit bloodied. He cut his finger and scrapped his knees during the non-choreographed one take action scene that Harrisson Ford himself chickened out. It looked bad and everyone crowded around. He sure know how to make an entrance. Everyone there got smacked and that woke them up, instantly. I wanted to ask him then and there about my carabiner but it seemed inhumane. Cold blooded. So I just walked away, and confronted some roti canai instead. After much deliberation I decided to have toast and near raw eggs at the opposite stall. The station master kindly sent our failed action star to the nearest clinic. All’s well while my new carabiner just chugged away. Motherfuck. No more borrowing gears to anyone. Get your own. He was lucky that he survived the fall with only minor cuts and bruises. He could very well end up under the metal wheels and that would definitely spoil everyone’s appetite for scrambled eggs. Make it dinner as well. Would be a nightmarish ride home witnessing that.

Fortunately, the drama ended there.

One of them had a tripod setup after this shot but the group just dispersed. Leaving the photographer all alone. It was just too hot to pose for more. For the record, no complete group photo was taken.

What entails are unfamiliar territory of caves, forestry and mountains. Beautiful landscape. But to enjoy it we have to sloughed through unchartered terrain. We ascended with small stone steps which gradually turns into damp loose earth. No, not muddy yet. Performing this feat with a big backpack is a killer. Being my first I tried to sit and conserve my energy while letting a comfortable distance grew between. I find it more stressful when I had to huddled behind them, inching my way. Drains me. The journey to Baha base camp could take less than an hour but we spent a little more time on the mouth of the waterfall. Photo session people. My camera was buried deep inside my bag, so I did not bother. Haha… this happen throughout the trip. I was just lazy, really. The sight and sound of it was mesmerizing. Never had I seen a waterfall this high in person. I reached the base camp beaten. It’s certainly no joke to hoist such a weight.

Found my camp buddies and we chose the one nearest to our bags. My mates for the trip, Sean and Jensen. They proved to be good camp buddies and it made my trip more fun. Mark, Julia, Parth and Anu certainly added more flavor no doubt. Our camps were the nearest and reason being that we did not have a particular group made it easier for us to get around. But soon, we got to know everyone better. And since it was still Chinese New Year we gambled and I continued to give money away. Not much though. A few ringgit but the crappiness and jokes that it paid for was worth it. Sorry Say-Li for turning your nice camp into a makeshift gambling den. 😀

Later in the night we adjourned to the edge of the huge waterfall. Not much stars to see though. It was too cloudy. Photo sessions continued and several girls really go all the way out for nice pictures. It scares me and I could see the horror in others too. Nuts I tell you.

The first night officiating my sleeping bag could not be anymore eventful. The floor was cold and hard and a stone embedded at my waist area made matters worse. And how can you call a four man tent when it barely fits three snugly. Ventilation was no good so we decided to have it open concept. Up went the zippers. Much better but the sleeping condition showed no signs of improvement. I tossed and turned and barely slept a wink. The ever gushing of water drowns out all the sound that the jungle has. Flushes away my dreams as well. First night sleep… negative. It did not bring my mood down though. In fact I woke up cheerful and filled with anticipation for what lies ahead. The Stong Peak.

Camping Hiking Outdoor

Hike : Gunung Stong, Kelantan Part 1

Previously known as : I Just Got Stong-ed Part 1

A little tanned, a little cuts and scratches, a little aches on the thigh and calves, a little lack of sleep, a little bit hungry and it was worth every little damn little of everything. Did I get you a little bit confused?

I had a great experience in outdoor last weekend with more than 2 dozen of strangers. I had been striking out the days anticipating the hiking + camping trip since last year. No, the idea of surrounded by total strangers do not bothers me. The state of being outdoor, surrounded by trees, crashing gallons of revitalizing water on centuries polished rocks and taking in cool fresh air outweighs all those silly questions. Honestly, I preferred it that way, not having known associates around me, as it forces me to socialize a bit more. Come out of my shell. Think it took me more than 24 hours before I eased up and moved around.

I was the first to arrive at the rendezvous point, McD, KL Sentral at 730pm. Sat the dead weight I had on my shoulder on first empty table I found. Rested while my eyes darted around the room looking for anyone who has a bloody huge backpack eating at their shoulders. Nope, none yet, just a couple of cute chicks. I ordered myself Spicy McDeluxe and waited. A handful of french fries and two bites into my burger later, I could make out a huge frame accompanied by a much smaller individual appear at the narrow entrance. Each have big bags and they so happen to be the organizers for this trip. Met them once last year when I went for the Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands trip. Waved, offered seats and introduced myself. It was after 10 minutes before others arrive. And man, did they pack… I was intimidated of course. These guys know their stuff. All look seasoned and polished. Of course, they looked clean. Guys are shaved. Girls hair tidy. Too many people and I did not approached them. Just linger by the side smiling if eyes met, but looked the other way soon after. Time was 820pm and there are several person who have not arrived. The train leaves at 830pm. Dang… but luckily our train system could be depended on – arrival delayed. The party was formed and we crowded around the tv checking out the mini riots and hoo haa that took place earlier in view of Perak’s unstable political state.

Finally the gates opened and we flooded the stairs and got on board the train. I have not got on a train for years and this would be a first where I have to sleep 10 plus hours on it. Got the top bunk for myself. I brought 2 carabiners with me and I used them to hook up my bags. Eventually offered one of my carabiner to the person opposite of me when he seemed to have trouble keeping his backpack in place. A brand new one too. The carabiner I borrowed him never returned. And I regretted borrowing it. More about it later though. First, here’s some tips for people who would like to take a long arduous journey on Malaysian train.

  • The odd numbers are for top bunks and even number for lower bunks.
  • The top ones are a little low, I can’t sit up straight when I am on it, and I am about 174m. Lower ones, has a little more vertical space.
  • Lower bunks are supposed to be RM10 extra.
  • A pillow and a sheet is provided. Reading lamp too.
  • Those who can’t sleep in brightly lit room better bring sleep masks/eye covers, the compartment lights are on 24/7.
  • Toilets have bare necessities. Option for squat or sit. For the sit ones, I prefer to hover.
  • Leg space is limited after you put your bag on your bed.
  • The arrival and departure time are merely estimation. Most of the time they are late.

Apart from this, I managed to catch some shut eye on the ride. It was much better than I had imagined. I slept through all the swishing and swashing but woke up every time we stopped at a station. Perhaps the swaying and rocking reminds me of my infant days. Chilling on my baby bed. Downed a bottle of chicken essence before I slept.

We reached Dabong at 730am. Drama ensued on the foggy railroad while most were still rubbing the sleep off their eyes.

Hiking Outdoor Personal Run

Sweetness Of Doing Nothing

I had a long holiday. 8 days plus. Spent it at home of course. It was Chinese New Year, so it was, I think. The atmosphere is getting thinner. Celebration of the Lunar New Year seems to be waning… it’s like sitting on a reclining chair set at 150 degrees. A little more then it will go flat.

Did not meet up with any friends at all this year, and none of us organized any too. Only the one who came back from Singapore asked to meet up. Guess everyone wanted to stay home and away from crowds this year. Managed to meet up with 4 friends the night before I got back to the city.

I think the long holidays is just too long. If holidays meant staying indoors and at home. Shall consider hauling my ass to somewhere next year if I have a long CNY holiday for a day or two.
I had too much computer, TV and sitting around. The long hours spent on gambling hurts my back but I won. When we made it to the table my luck dwindled. I lost what I won. Easy comes easy goes. Poof!

Nearly 2 weeks off the rocks makes me a dull boy. Am feeling lethargic. My lazy bone starts to repopulate. A good thing though is that the corn on my toe is getting better. I already started running again, once. Just about 3km. My muscles are a little sore now. But it feels comforting. Neglected my running shoes for more than 3 months. Should have dealt with the corn bastard earlier. It looks ugly. I first bought a lotion for corn and a pumice from Scholl. It worked like… crap. Expensive and yields no result. Shit decision for taking the painless way. I think it might even aggravated it and made it worst. Then I sought the use of corn plaster. And assumed just sticking it on is enough. I ignored the direction to cut away at the white skin and clip at the monster. Naturally my assumption led to further fuck ups. It bloody hurts by now. Soon I was on my second pack of corn plaster that I started cutting away. It did not hurt that much when I clipped and peeled away the flapping dead skin. Shit hit the fan when I move in for the bullseye. Scraping and partly digging at the infected area was not a fun thing to do. Having it grow at the bottom of your big toe and bending over for a long period of time hurts the inner thigh, back and neck. The hole you get after each excavation just keep my spirits hollow. Thank goodness the increase cutting and scraping with the third pack seems to be working much much better.

Right now I am wearing my Inov8 with my backpack sitting patiently behind me. Me going to get me some fresh air this weekend. Me is excited about it but me think the 10 hour train ride is a bummer. Hope this trip will be worthwhile of my 20 hour train ride. The bag is heavy. I packed several light pieces of clothing but brought quick a lot of food in the form of Snickers and Nature Valley bars. Let’s see, I have :

  • 3 regular Snicker bars
  • 12 mini Snicker bars
  • 12 Nature Valley bars (8xPeanut, 2xCinnamon Apple and 2xHoney Oats)
  • 2 Maggi Cup Noodles (least nutrition but got it for the taste only)
  • 1 Ayam Brand Chilli Tuna
  • 2 Instant Nestum Packet
  • 1 Pack of Glucolin
  • 1 Pack of Organic Protein
  • 1 Bottle of mixed Vitamins
  • 1 Packet of Salt (in case there are leeches)
  • 3 bottles of Brands Chicken Essence
  • 1 Vaude Sleeping Bag
  • 1 Set Mess Tin, Spoon and a pair of bamboo chopstick
  • 1 FavourLight Luxeon Rebel 90
  • 1 First Aid Kit (Plaster, Charcoal Pills, Panadols, Deep Heat, Counter Pain, Ho Yan Hor, Scissors, Nail Clipper, Finger Tape, Safety Pin and etc)
  • Toiletries
  • 1 long pants, 2 shorts, 4 boxers, 1 hand towel, 4 tshirts, 2 singlet and 3 pairs of socks. 1 jacket too.
  • 1 Lowe Alpine backpack
  • 1 daypack
  • 1 Canon camera (don’t think the battery it will last for 2 days)
  • 1 Sea to Summit Dry Sack
  • 1 3litre Camelbak Hydration Reservoir

Basically that’s it.

Am leaving for Dabong, Kelantan tonight with 27 strangers. Well I met the organizers before once when I went for the Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands hike last year. Tamil and YY. But did not talk much with them. As for the others, blank. Well, that’s part of the fun right?

I suppose it will be a bit hard for me this time because I have not been running or hiking for 3-4 months. No endurance and low fitness level. Oh yeah…

Hiking Outdoor

The Gunung Kutu Aftermath

Sorry people. No photo this time round as I forgot to bring my camera. Might be able to grab some from friends later. Before I went for it, I did a search on Gunung Kutu and was not able to view much pictures. Having been there myself yesterday, I fully understood why this was so.

Woke up at 5am in the morning and left the house at 530am. Had a smooth drive (obviously, duh) and dear managed to grab a hash brown and a cup of orange juice at McDonald’s drive-thru. Met up with the rest of them and off we went. My tummy was not feeling too well. At times during the hike, I thought that it would sneak out. Mind over matter. Suck it back in… umm umm umm

Here is my experience.
Gunung Kutu is in Kuala Kubu Baru, under the Selangor state. Quite a distance from KL or PJ. Passing through Rawang, and nearing the area, we saw a dam. It’s a very nice view. Period. Cut through some , I believe to be, modern Orang Asli settlements and did some stretching and relieving ourselves in the woods.
We started our journey excitedly as always crossing streams and hanging bridges. Once we waddled across a river, everyone got into their full hiking gear. I just put on a pair of clean socks and my RM7 rubber shoes. On hearing there were to be leeches, everyone perked up and allowed anxiety to seep in. Most of the girls freaked. Deep down inside, I was afraid too although having experienced a leech bite once, I now realize it was not painful… it only looks horrendous + extra horrible to others. I rolled up my pants showing half my calf and sprinkled generously an amount of salt inside and on my socks. Less than 10 minutes into the hike, dear spotted the first leech. Shrieked and ran, putting all the others on red alert. From now on, most were walking with heads down. My neck muscles are feeling the strain even as I am relating this. Many more leeches greeted us on dead leaves and dark damp paths… camouflaging and blending themselves pretty well. That left no time for us to be stationary and taking in the view, if there was any. They were everywhere. As we marched on, the sound of the river faded and sunlight were turned down low. Soon we were buffeted by tall trees and thick vegetation. Gunung Kutu proved to be a tough hike with it’s steep, wet and leeches infested trail, personally. Definitely a first and last for me.

After 3 hours into the arduous journey, my calves started burning, a sensation that receives me every time I take on long hikes. The slippery and steep track was the cause of it and dear has voiced out her resentment for the place after just an hour plus of the hike. Am glad that she persevered and battled on despite the harsh condition. She even surprised me during the later part of the hike back. We stopped and rest many a times and there was a few times we lost sight of the people in front of us. It did not felt good though. Luckily, there were markings and signs on trees to show that we were on the right path. Had a good 15mins rest at a big sheltered boulder, where the other hiking group, there were only 2 groups that day, comprising mostly of girls were already having their luncheon… McD breakfast and bananas.

It took another hour before we reached the peak. Where not much of a view welcomed us. Nothing compared to Bukit Tabur. Rested our tired feet and gobbled a sandwich and water. I was not taking off my socks yet as I do not want to face the reality of being a leech meal. A comrade had already gone down, he was a walking buffet for 8 leeches. The thing is he wore sandals. No where for him to sprinkle salt or place tobacco. A fellow hiker asked nonchalantly whether he was involved in an accident. I chortled with laughter. The sight was really awful. Blood were spurting all over. I swore that I could hear indistinct sloshing of blood against the ground every time he walked. And I bet that if his sandals were in lighter color, his blood would have soaked and dyed it bright crimson red. This instilled more fear in our group.

Left the peak at 2pm and the three of us just sped down the trail. Going down was so much faster but I tried to restrain from pounding on my knees too much as I could feel a tingle of pain building up in my right knee. Should get a restrainer thing strapped on soon. As it was wet, many of us slipped and fell a few times. Gf being the champion here. When we came to the first stream, this is where the adrenaline gets the final pump. I was still in a daze when dear shifted into high gear and left the both of us eating dust. She practically sprinted her way out of the jungle. Had a hard time catching up because I was trying to muffle my laugh and the sight of her fast hop-skip-run style just made it unbelievable. She made it clear that she rather slipped and fall and get cuts and bruises than to be made a meal by the leeches. Could not believe my eyes. Out of the jungle in 2 hours and spent more than 30minutes soaking in the cold refreshing mountain water. Found a leech on me. Grind it up and spat on his/hers remain. Took a bath later in the river and changed into some fresh clothes. This was when I realized I left my clean shorts at home and I already soaked my pants. It was kind of J and B to allow me to ride in their car with only my boxers on. It was awkward. Shit. B even took a few snapshots for remembrance.

This hike brought me over and under a lot of bamboos. Saw different type of mushrooms springing up at every nook and cranny that I managed to steal a look. Had the opportunity to man-handle a dozen plus blood-sucking parasitic hermaphrodites that were trying to inch up. Bees swirling and attaching themselves on my wet t-shirt, slurping up my sweat. A group of beautiful and different butterflies playing and dancing around. The mosquitoes there are not very smart though. Very slow in reaction and easily killed. The air-borne predators paled in comparison to the parasitic infantry unit. The place has really big boulders but it was certainly not a place where I would recommend my climbing friends to go to… as the journey up takes 3 long strenuous hours and the rocks are mostly smoothed out. No cracks to even climb. Negative. Anyway if they insist of trying, you can bet that I won’t be hauling my ass there again. Although no leech had a taste of dear but their failure of inflicting physical wound on her however greatly managed to further project a more sinister image in her, which will be etched in so deeply that I think she now has developed bdellophobia.

Hiking Outdoor

Hike : Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands

Mmm… since I had got the ball rolling, thought might as well kill your bandwidth once and for all. Guess this would be the last of my hiking pictures for this year.
Went to Cameron Highlands last July for a hiking trip up Gunung Irau. I think it took about 6 hours to finish the whole thing. Up and down. The place is serene and very Lord of the Ring-ish. Personally, the pictures do no justice at all. The surroundings of ancient trees and green moss and strange insects and cool breeze… one has to be there to immerse in it to really understand.

Can you see the shoes that I am wearing? It was a pair of running shoes. Halfway through the hike the soles started coming off and by the end of it… there was practically nothing left. It reached it’s boiling point where I have to struggle to walk slowly and I think I did try holding it together with a rubber band but it snapped anyway. Brought it to the cobbler but he said there is no saving the bugger. Gone. No more running or jogging. That is why I searched high and low for the RM6.90 rubber shoes. Even my Crocs® would have survived the trek. Overall the hike up Gunung Irau was quite easy. It’s only a longer track. We were in between the borders of Perak and Pahang, if I am not mistaken.

I got no backbone. The grey one la.

Tongkat. Ali.

Still can fool around.

The place we bunked in. No need aircon or fan. It’s freaking cold. After brushing our teeth you can’t feel your gums at all.

There’s a playground. This is called Cheefoo.

Might be going for another round on the Bukit Tabur tomorrow morning at 7am. Yup, no need to worry. Won’t be posting any pictures of it. We would be going up from the rubber estate route instead.

Hiking Outdoor

Hike : Gunung Lambak, Kluang

Here is how I unwind during my long break back in my hometown. On 23rd December we went hiking in Gunung Lambak. My second time this year. Woke up at 730am and met Ah Hon at rendezvous point at 8+. It started to drizzle when we started but stopped after a while. My Crocs® is getting a bit too old now as I have put it through a number of hikes and caving expeditions. Haha… But still did not get to bring it for a white water rafting ride, my reason to get it in the first place. Sigh… rafting getting a bit expensive.
Anyway we took about an hour plus to the summit and a wee bit more to get down. It was quite steep and the wet muddy condition made it worse. The girls got their pants quite soiled. Nothing Dynamo can’t fix.

A lizard egg.

The rest of the gang. We have to use the ropes to aid in our ascent and look out for slippery mossy rocks. Loose ones too. This part here is considered the hard part. About 15+ mins to cover this part.

View from the top.

Me hanging on a rope. Yeah… I do lame signs too.

Eee… dirty dirty. Hehe…

12′ long millipede.

Had nice curry noodles and barley for breakfast. Attacked mum’s homecooked ‘mee siam’ when we reached home too.