Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Gunung Irau

A trekking trip to Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands on Saturday 4 July 2009. For the EBC group, this is part of the training in leading to the actual Mount Everest Base Camp trip on 4 October 2009. For trekker friends, it is an excellent ground for a challenging journey.
Please click here to view photos by courtesy of Leng HW
(click Slideshow and hit F11 key to expand display)
Part of the main team (refer Picasa photo album later for enlarged photo)
Journey of a thousand steps starts from this car park ... when climbing up the steps
The first 200 meters are the pampered trail -- walk on raised platform

Ker Shing in overcoming a tricky obstacle while Bernard and Francis look on

Ahhh... Alexis is stuck in the mud

The new actress for the new Lord of the Ring movie ... (L-R): Ker Shing, Pei Ling, Sie Yung, and Leng

hmmm... The maggie mee tastes yummy, yummy

Taking a breather -- An achievement to arrive at the peak

Making a cup of hot coffee ... Sharon

Relaxing at the peak of Gunung Irau

Gosh... testimony of leaving vivid footprint on the ground

Yes! I made it... Alex Chan

(L-R): Tony, Sharon, Francis Chiong, Jayne Aw, Pei Ling, Leng, Alexis, Ker Shing, Choo, Hamdan, Choo, Sie Yung, yours truly (KC). Notice how strong the ladies are: they carry the metal signboard with ease and still put on the best smiles.
. Choo, Jayne and Sharon

Ker Shing, Pei Ling, Francis Chiong

Oh! My clean trekking shoe! ... Leng

Well prepared -- Alexis and Sie Yung. Notice the new pair of shoes from the box... :-)

Mud, dirt, obstacles, mossy plants and dampness greeted all trekkers in Gunung Irau – a popular trekking trail located in the cool country of Cameron Highlands. On Saturday 4 July, about 60 trekkers from Kuala Lumpur were game for the challenge to scale to the peak of Gunung Irau.

The idea was first mooted by TonyQ, the Mountain Sifu, where he would be leading another group of trekkers for his coming Mulu and Mount Kinabalu trips in end August and September 2009. We have other groups from Jason Lee/Kelly Hoh, Agnes Tan, Bernard Lee and the EBC (Everest Base Camp) groups.

It was a superb day for a great trekking event. Though it is dry season in Kuala Lumpur, the plants in this trail look very green. They must have been constantly nurtured with the abundance of rainfall and favourable climate. Walking along the mossy forest, I felt like walking in those temperate forests.

The first part of the trail was easy as the local authority built elevated steps that facilitate movement independent of the difficult terrain. At the end of the steps, the trekkers were puzzled when seeing split paths that caused a bit of concern as to which is the correct path to take.

Trekking in this mossy forest was really challenging in climbing up and down nature's obstacles – the roots, the rocks and to be greeted by the mud pit. One has to use both hands to pull one up the obstacles. While it is common to see a trekker's shoe covered with brownish or black mud, I saw at least two trekkers where both trekking shoes were completely covered with mud. Of course, the most challenging effort is to stay clean.

Almost reaching the peak, I saw Jason Lee's group was on its way down. They started slightly earlier; being very regular in trekking, his group moved swiftly. Standing next to a firm spot of a slope, we exchanged brief conversation. One team member commented that I was very clean after going through all the mud pits. So Jason said, "KC is the master mah..." – that was really an encouraging and uplifting remarks.

One good point of trekking here is that there is no leech at all. I am sure that is the most welcoming news for lady trekkers who find that the small creatures are most disturbing. Another most pleasant experience is the cool breeze that was gently blowing which is unique of trekking in high mountains.

Cameron Highlands
When the person-in-charge of booking apartments told me that most apartments were fully booked for the weekend, I was concerned over the influx of tourists to this cool mountain retreat. On our way down to Brinchang town after the trekking at about 6:00 p.m., the traffic jam was more than 1km away and it took almost one hour to clear the traffic jam. The cause: the pasar malam which was opened for business on both side of the main road at the Brinchang town leaving only one lane each side for traffic.

Absence of Leeches
According to my learned trekker, LeeWY, there are no animals wandering in the mountain of Cemeron Highlands as the land is surrounded by farming. The animals attract leeches. Another reason is the spraying of pesticide by farmers; the process may kill the leeches.

To be continued ...
Photos and written by KC


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