The petrol station was about 100 meters away from the main road. Standing at the vacant land, I could see the full moon high up in the sky. It was a fine morning with gentle breeze blowing. I could feel the coolness – a sign that Chinese New Year is drawing near every day.
At 6:45 a.m. sharp – the schedule meeting time for trekkers – I saw a huge Pajero was approaching. From the available lights shining on the windscreen, I could see Wendy’s cheerful and smiling face while driving the V6 3000 c.c. vehicle.
I greeted Wendy and I wanted to tell her excitedly about the moon. My concentration was shifted after spotting her with a new baby-doll hairstyle with straight cut at both sides. What came out from my mouth, to my horror, instead of the moon, it became “the sun”.
Hearing the passengers laughed, I noticed that there were three other trekkers in the MPV. They were part of the team members who are supposed to go for a 14-day trekking in Nepal in May 2007. There will be a series of trekking trips to get use to the tough conditions and also a means to get fit.
Chan joined me in the 20km training run last Sunday. He has run full marathon about ten times before. He being an avid trekker, I asked him to come along. A thirty-something cheerful guy, he is working as a chef in a leading 5-star hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
At 7:00 a.m. there was still no sign of him. When I telephoned him, I heard the cocks’ crow in the background which meant he was at a different location. With a fine tuning of the exact location, he appeared just within five minutes. He came with another friend, Onn Chiun. The name sounds like “safety” in Cantonese. A twenty-something guy; he is another chef specializing in BBQ in the same hotel.
While Wendy, Mary, Mr. Ee, Mr. Ooi and I were wearing thick long pants, both of them were wearing shorts while Chef Chan was wearing the dark blue running shorts with Pacesetters logo. Just one look, we know they were strong trekkers will huge thigh muscle.
We started the climb at 7:05 a.m. when the sun just came out. This time, we climbed the other ridge where we have to pass by a stream and followed two huge water pipes of three feet in diameter serving water to Klang Valley.
The initial ascent was steep. A trekker needed both hands to pull the body up while holding to any available roots or rocks that could give a firm grip. Wearing garden glove would be a good idea to protect the hands, unfortunately, I totally forgot about it.
Compared to the previous climb of the ridge opposite, this ridge contains about 75% earth with gravel and loose sand while the rest is rocks and very little quartz. The loose earth makes ascents and descents dangerous. We were really careful not to slip.
There was one area of almost vertical climb of about 50 feet only made possible with the help of rope. Climbing at that slope has to be done one person at a time. Otherwise, it would like raining loose earth on the trekkers below or worst still, the rope may give way due to the weight.
There were three peaks to climb and our mission was to reach the highest peak. At the other lower peaks, I could feel the cool breeze blowing with plants swaying gently just like they were welcoming our presence. The air was fresh and the breeze, refreshing. Oh, I loved that moment there! After a while, it gave me a chilled feeling donning the wet T-shirt which I was sweating profusely earlier. Looking down, on my left was the water catchments area and my right, the civilization – Taman Malawati and Kuala Lumpur in a distance.
At the Peak
We reached the peak after a hard climb for about 1.5 hours. The flat surface was quite comfortable to accommodate us while we relaxed and prepared our food. Wendy brought her mobile gas stove and started boiling water and making drinks for everyone. Chef Chan also brought along another bigger mobile gas stove. He was demonstrating his fry kueh teow skill at the peak. Due to difficulty in transporting food stuff, he was just cooking Maggie mee there. I could hear them requesting for extra ingredients like “see hum” (cockle) and “hor chien” (oyster).
Drinking tea, admiring the scenic surrounding and enjoying the cool gentle breeze at the peak – it was indeed a simple pleasure in life.
On the way down, I was leading the pack and chatting with Chef Chan about Duathlon and trekking. I was not focus and lead the pack going down wrong path. It was Onn Chiun who was standing at higher ground to realize the mistake. Otherwise, we could be spending extra hours in the jungle – much like going extra miles in running. Immediately, it reminded me of the trekking trip in Kuching in May 2006 where we climbed Mount Santubong after our Kuching marathon. I was leading the pack and went to the wrong trail. Yeah, I still need to learn to be able to distinguish the correct trail.
The irony of climbing a hill with steep slope was that it takes a lot of strength and energy to climb up. But the descent was not easy either. Though much less energy is required, the sight of looking almost vertically downwards does give a little scared feeling.
We all reached the plain safely at around 10:15 a.m. While crossing the steam, it was indeed an experience to clean myself with water from the stream, mimicking what a trekker will do in the actual trekking in Nepal.