Monday, November 16, 2015

XPDC Three mountain ( Baha,Ayam & Stong)


On 6th Nov 2015, I went for hiking at Gunung Stong, Baha & Ayam in Dabong, Kelantan which organized by Kelab Orang Hutan Malaysia. Gunung Stong is about 1421meter (4664 feet) from sea level. The Stong’s waterfalls (aka Jelawang waterfalls) reputed to be the highest (303 meter from sea level) waterfall in South East Asia. 



At 11.30pm, 6th Nov, 19 of us from different states gathered at KFC R&R, Bentung and departed together to Dabong by cars. I was carpooling with Azizah, Garfu and Joe to the destination. At around 3.30am, we stopped at restaurant Mina Kawanku, Kuala Lipis for earlier breakfast. Then, we headed to the Dabong and reached the Dabong railway station around 8am. After having breakfast, we straight went caving at Kompleks Gua Ikan. Kompleks Gua Ikan is ‘Gua batu kapur’ that comprised of Gua Ikan, Gua Pagar & Gua Keris since 150millions years ago. With assistance from a knowledgeable trekking Guide, Pak Chu, the biodiversity of area were pointed out and the detailed explanation regards mystery of Gua had been given. Unfortunately, I found it hard to understand the Kelantan pronunciation of Pak Chu. 



We started caving journey at 9.30am immediately after short briefing gave by Pak Chu. The Dark Cave (Gua Gelap) is opposite to the park entrance. We crossed the main road and walked along the roadside until a path that heading towards the limestone cliff had been spotted. The path brought us went straight to the first cave. With the flashlight, navigated through the narrow passage until we reached a place seems like a dead end. Yet, it was not! We had been informed by Guide to crawl under a very low hanging rock. All of us ended up into ‘wet duck’ after passing through the tight passage. To be Positive, I told myself ‘Come on! This was just an ice-breaking of the trip!’ There was a water passage flew down from top part of the cave and formed a small waterfall inside the cave. To continue crawled some meters upwards, we reached the cave exit. Then we headed to the right, the trail was clear yet slippery. At this time, two of team members claimed been bite by “pacat”; my body indirectly felt the same itchiness as them despite I couldn’t find any pacat at any parts of my body. Haahaaa.. 



Garfu enlightened me a “Monkey Head Rock” that hanging high up on the cave wall which was really unique. The “karst line” that resulted in formation of straw (the sign of stalaktit) had been found inside the cave. With the combination of stalaktit & stalagmite, a pole that resembles a keris, the Malay dagger had been formed and so the Gua called as Gua Keris. Gua Ikan is named such because there is small stream flowing inside where possibly containing fishes. While, Gua Pagar is passage through which one needs to enter before entering Gua Keris. 




After caving for about 3hours, we headed back to the local stall for lunch. The food there wasn’t bad and was pretty cheap. However, I had forgot the main purpose of this trip – hiking. Instead of self-monitored the food which suitable to eat before hiking, I had ‘banjir’ or ‘loaded’ my plate with local spicy cili sambal. (Not sure if the food was contaminated). Since this lunch, I had suffered from diarrhea for the next 4 days that I had never experience in my life before. It’s really annoyed and troublesome. 



After lunch, we headed to the Gunung Stong State Forest Park, the foot of mountain. Some of team members simply stopped the car in middle of road to snap the pictures of outstanding beauty of seven-tiered Jelawang Waterfalls. It is huge that one can see it from far away. 



With the help from bro Garfu, he reset, repacked my backpack. I have to mention that I thanks and appreciates him a lot for this trip. He had guided, taught and took good care of me for the whole trip. After repacking backpacks, we set off on foot at around 315pm heading to the base camp (Baha Camp) that located on top of waterfall. Even though just repacking to reduce the burden on back, I still felt my backpack was overloaded which caused me difficult for balancing the footsteps especially pass through some narrow trail. I promised to myself bring only the necessary things for next climb. 



There are 2trails available to reach Baha Camp. The leader chose the one through the base of waterfalls so that we able to enjoy the attractive view of Stong’s waterfalls. Alternatively, one can choose to cross the hanging bridge & follows the ascending trail to meet the former logging trail & ascend further till Baha Camp. After passing a set of concrete steps to the base of Jelawang Water, we were directed to cross the water &strong currents. By grasping on Suhaimi’s shoulder, I cross the water safely; but the heavy backpack on my back, making me lose my footing on every single step. At this slippery and life-threatening spot, I slipped & fell twice. 



At 5.40pm, 7th Nov, we reached Baha Camp. Fatigue brought me into “static posing’ position by looking at others. Without hesitating, Yus, Helmi, Syed and Uncle set up fly, ground & tents. This was my first experience in camping. Female participants set up own tents and some started prepared for dinner. Tia, Azizah, Ija and me had our bath at the smaller rock pool; it was challenging for first outdoor bathing with the extremely cold water. We enjoyed the meehun, BBQ lamb and chicken as dinner, it filled with joy and laugh. Meanwhile, my bowel started roaming crazily continuously after bathing without suffered from any stomach pain. We went for viewing stars at midnight and yet the stars were nowhere to be seen. 



Early in the next morning, I had my 1st diarrhea at nearby toilet. No mood for catch the sunrise (may be due to the discomfort). A glance of thought that not joined the climbing team had come across my mind. Nevertheless, I had decided to seek help (medicine) from kak Ninie and joined the climbing team by hook or by crook. After breakfast with sardine sandwich, we ready to climb to the summits of mountains. Prior to the climb, we took some of pictures that we were still fresh, clean, cheerful, innocent face with tidy clothes. As we truly knew that the journey going to be the hell of ride that brought us back in exhausted condition at the dark night later. 



We passed through the 2 water streams, having a good rest, snaps some pictures of attractive views, snacking for repowering the stamina. After passing through the ‘tanah runtuh” area resulted from last year flooding, we reached the first summit of Gunung baha (1450meter from sea level). And yes, my bowel discomfort had never been stopped throughout the whole journey. This was my first experience too to pass a motion in the jungle. 3pm at noon, we were approaching the Gunung Ayam, some of us take the water from the only water point. The abruptly rain came that forbid us from set up the fly properly. We held the fly by hands. Meanwhile, Yus, Syed and others quickly tried to fix the Fly. Helmi & uncle prepared the food (rice with serunding) for members to fill the hunger while waiting the rain to stop. 



We carried on the journey to summit of Gunung Ayam as soon as the rain stopped. We climbed through the logged-over, dipterocarp forest where it became more challenging by the naturally designed steep, slippery trail. The trail was replete with sign of elephants, their wallows and some of their wastes. At the highest peak of Gunung Ayam (1504m), we held the broken down’s signboard and took the pictures. Climb down back from gunung Ayam, I had my 2nd diarrhea at gunung ayam. 



Next station was Gunung Stong. I guess it was about 350pm, trail to Gunung Stong wasn’t that hard as Gunung Ayam. Gunung Stong can be reached from Gunung Ayam by descending the trail between 2 summit & then ascend up the flank of G.Stong. Along the trail, I felt want to have diarrhea again yet just ‘tahan’. At around 5.20pm, we reached the summit of g.Stong. It was located on the top part of a big rock that lying on the huge trunk of the tree. We had to climb up through both rock and part of tree, only can reach the summit. Thus, it cannot be denied that those who insisted to climb without the Guide mostly cannot find the summit of Gunung stong. Having a panoramic view of Dabong from top of mountain was pretty nice. Due to late afternoon, the weather turned cold. I started felt the cold spread all over the body instantly especially when I was standing still at a place. The feeling of wanna diarrhea reduced as noticed the only place available had been used by Muhammad for solat. Moreover, I couldn’t withstand any further for the cold weather up there. I had no choice yet kept climb down rapidly to avoid the high altitude and to keep the body warm by movement. Some of teammates already fix up their headlamp. 



We arrived at a small hut before came to a rock shelter (a cave –like formation) that also known as Bogo Rock-Shelter, a halfway resting point where water available on the way to summit of G.Stong. After took some hot tea and ketupat there, we continued the tracks down to basecamp. Finally, i heard the happily ,sweet , warm shouting voice from Kak ninie, Garfu, hero, kak ija & Tini that cheered & welcomed us for back “home”. The ready-made delicious dinner was waiting for us. Touch.. . Noted that it was hard since the campsite had run out of charcoals, and they were forced to pick the small logs, set up the fire for cooking. Thanks to them. 




9.30pm, 8th Nov, after dinner, we went to waterfall there for bath; I was acting like the actress in movie Titanic, the extremely cold “ice water” was not child play and could kill. Both arches of teeth were shivering due to the cold bath which was intolerable. Went back to the campsite with long lasting discomfort bowel movement; I had absolutely no mood to hang out anymore. Late at night, I disturbed Azizah who just came back from viewing stars for accompanying me to toilet. Unluckily, I fell down by “pokok rotan’ and it was hurt. I thought that the scars will mark on my hand & leg for at least the next 3months. 


I was totally tired on next morning and abnormally woke up late. Hence, I miss the beauty view of sunrise again. I had put my foot down that not going to join for “slides” at waterfalls. Bit disappoint indeed and yet more trust to my sixth sense (treated the fell down at ‘rotan tree’ there as a bad sign to stop me for more adventures activities). 


I tidied up and bath at nearby small pool. At the same time, listening to the noise came far from waterfalls up there. Teammates enjoyed the moments at Air terjun Kolam puteri and telaga tujuh buah lubang at nature telaga that ‘design’ for peoples to relieve tension. 


At about 4pm, just before climbed down to foot of mountain, the weather wasn’t friendly to us, a short while heavy rain made the condition of trail became worse and more slippery than usual. By holding the ropes, branches of trees, movement that look like an ORANG HUTAN, we pass through the hanging bridge and lastly reached the state park. 


After took dinner and said goodbye to Pak Chu & friend, we left Dabong and headed back to KL. I slept like a dinosaur from Dabong to Johor in spite of transit by bus. 


The moral value of this trip mainly is DETERMINATION. Though I faced lot of setback throughout the journey, I still managed to finish the trails as I decided to join the climb initially. Most members from this team have strong stamina with good hiking experiences. I salute those and learnt from them. The one that I most salute in the team belongs to Joe. He was such determined to reach the summits and finish the trails though physically injured due to repeatedly fell down through the trip.
 

Felt guilty as left him alone or cut his queue as climb up. It sounds bad. Fortunately, there were kind people include Azizah and Yus that constantly gave support to Joe, accompany him through the trails. Mentally support from friends helped Joe to complete the whole circuit. 


Special thanks to Garfu taught me some new knowledge eg: how to properly pack the backpack and how to tie the shoes…hahaa… And of course thanks to all members of this trip that gave support and cared for one another. Now, am waiting for the next climb. I may need to think twice before go; consider and concern more on (1.) Bath in cold waterfall ; (2.) The toilet and (3.)The itchy mosquitoes’ bites (hope mosquitoes repellent do help on next trip) 


Writing By : Peanut aka Seaweed Liaw

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