Wednesday, September 3, 2008

i will be back again

"abang, berapa lama lagi?"

eventually i joined myself with Eagle 2 and 4 (Kit, mini, Gab & Faril) along the Mesilau Trial, the last group ascending Mount Kinabalu, as one by one others surpasses me and made their way up to the pit stop of the day - Laban Rata, the rest house for the night. I walked inches by inches up the 4093m giant, occasionally gulping at the sight of steep steps and wondering how long has it been, and how long more it will be. it had never occured to me that i was hungry, nor did i realized that i needed water and food. i just wanted to walk, and get to the final point. Rain water seeped into my raincoat and stained my skin, it was getting colder, hands and nose loses all feelings as i reached higher altitudes. The 7kg bag was also taking a toll on me, last quarter of the way i had to stop every few minutes to relieve my shoulders, as the thin bag strap pierces into my flesh. my body threatened to faint under the combination of cold, weight, hunger, height. every step was dizzy, and each time i stop i felt like going into slumber, i thought i was just feeling sleepy. but alas i forced myself to stay awake, and brave the winds, till i see a tiny, sparkling light in the distance. Relieve flushes over me, my mind wanted to pick up all might and strength and speed towards the comfy, warm looking resthouse, but my body told me otherwise, painfully i inched again, with my guide on my left, till the doors open and i was welcomed with warm lights and a hot bowl of mushroom soup.

the warmth was my rescue
i was glad to finally, after 8 hours of walk, reached Laban Rata but instead of a smile, all i could manage was to hold back tears as it meets with rain droplets, sweat, fatigue and again, cold. i immediately dropped my load on the ground, as dad and friends tore away my wet layers. i was suddenly sipping a steamy watery cup bowl of mushroom soup that tastes like heaven, while someone dried my hair with a dry towel as warm as toast. i felt better after a while, after bathing in the warmth of food, and the warmth of my kinabalu buddies.. as everyone retreated to sleep with the cold mountain mist, daddy and i was left. we took our own sweet time to recover, and prepare ourselves for bed. ironically instead of dressing down for sleep, we slapped on more layers of jackets and beanies, stepped into the cold darkness once more, and search for Gunting Lagadan - my home for the night. Finding Gunting Lagadan was a tad tricky, as dad tried to recall memories and i trialled behind, but it wasnt long before we found ourselves in the dim living room of the hostel.

Bidding goodnight to dad, i climbed onto the upper bunk, and snorred away in the unheated room, jackets and clothes being my heater.

sights and senses i never knew existed

Quest for the Magical Sunrise

i did not want to stop ever so often but i had to, we were going very much higher, very much closer to the 4093rd meter, and the oxygen was getting very much thinner. There were times when i could suddenly walk on and on without stopping, but there were times when i just had to stop, go, stop, go. the walk to the peak was so cold my snot felt frozen, my hands just wanted to find refuge in the pocket as both mittens, and gloves were already soaked in ice cold water. i was worried as 5 am drew nearer, and then 6am came, the black sky was turning to a light blue hue.. i missed the sunrise, but i did not missed the absolutely spectacular view from the highest spot in Malaysia - Low's Peak. absolutely spectacular. seeing other peaks and a party of hue swimming amongst fogs, mists and coulds was breataking enough, aweing at the sight of the shadow of Mount Kinabalu overpowering the sky was something i never knew existed. it is true, they say that the view from Mount Kinabalu is one of the most beautiful sight on earth, for i saw something so amazing just describing it here like this, is not doing it justice..

the peak was crowded with cameras and people, which made it hard to immortalize the breath taking view. the zero degree weather made it harder to stay long, and the abang guide that was soon usering me off the peak did not allow me much time to take in more than i can handle. Soon enough justin and faril was accompanying me down the peak, with abang guide leading the way. the cold wheather deterred me from lugging out the camera for picture perfect moments, ahh but i have it all snapped, uploaded and printed in my noggin.. the view of the other mountains, the view of the trail down, the view of the resthouse looking like little cottages one can only find in Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs...

did i really walked this far?
one of the most amazing sense that i have experienced and loved from walking before sunrise, is discovery. Discovering the path that you have ventured, the peaks you have walked passed, and the shocked of realizing that in the middle of the night, while you were only focusing on speck of ground your headlamp showed you, not giving a thought to what might be around you, you have actually covered a vast, majestic area of the mountain... walking down from the peak, and seeing all these infront of you, you would not have imagine that you have actually climbed up scaled such acres and acres of height, in just a few hours ago....

Pride. Accomplishment. awe.
this is something everyone should not miss out on, go climb kinabalu mountain today! :D

ballerina in the forest

returning to the base of Mount Kinabalu via a different trial proved to be a different experience all together. the timpohon trial is shorter i must say, but non-the-less still a challenge to those on the way to the peak -- steep steps, steep steep steps, many many steep steep steps. luckily i was running down tip-toed these steps, i hear my thighs cried a whoop of joy as gravity helped me down the trial. although the timpohon trial did not have much of a scenic view, i had the luxury of crossing paths with the people - foreigners, locals and workers who are going to or had experienced the majestic peak. "hello" we said to one another, "have fun" as we bid goodbye. i have always been fascinated by foreingers who visit our Malaysia, and Mount Kinabalu has once again amazed me with the amount of visitors with hair and eyes of different hue.

abang sangat hebat
with 50kg load on their bag, they still managed to climb the moutain in their jeans and leather shoes, i salute the guides who has been so patient throughout the climb. the guides who trialled behind us, making sure we were on the right path has been ever so patient with their charges, stoping when we stop, and going when we go, following us all 8 hours of the way when they could have easily be there in 3 hours; patiently answering our cries of "how long more!" ever so often. I guess you would have been accustomed to all the questions, and followed ever so patiently, even with an elephant's weight on your back, if you climb mountains for a living, and when Mount Kinabalu has become nothing but stroll in the park for you.

however, i winced at the sight of porters - hardworking guides who carry the luggage of their charges. it is not the fact that they carry heavy loads that appals me but the sight of these ethnic porters hunchedback carrying the bags on their back walking beside their charges who walks without anything in hand that scares me. i dont like to admit this but the porters looked like mules, carrying kilos and kilos of equipments for their masters. it looked like a violation of their rights, but then again i reminded myself, that this is their source of income, they willingly do so, as it might the only way to provide food for their tummy.
8 ringgit per kilo, i can only hope that they get their fair share of the money for doing all that literally back breaking work.

"one ! two! one! two!"
bearing aches, pain and bruises from Mount Kinabalu did not deterred our spirit for White Water Rafting. the next day, everyone was in full force to conquer Padas River. White Water Rafting was a whole new experience, it felt just like rollercoaster on water. you would expect that the river guides ease you in with a calm lazy river before going through rough rapids but no, after 10 minutes into the river we met our first rival - the HeadHunter, a rapid so strong it rose us metres into the air and back again. scary i must say, i had my eyes closed at time when we fought vicious rapids with scary names like The Washing Machine and The Merry-Go-Round. One rapid was so strong that in a minute, everyone was tumbled over their seats and struggling to get back up again on the rocky raft.

going through the photos and video was hilarious! everyone looked like suicide bombers, or rather going into combat with the helmets and oversized life jackets on. ahh but yes, werent we going into combat with the rapids?

where does this goes to?

i felt like Dora the Explorer on our very last day of the trip, with a backpack strapped on and my fellow exploring buddies Suyin, Justin and Faril with me. While some have opted to sun bath on the beach, the other half of us decided to explore the town, and so we went town exploring! KK town isnt that large, we went to the waterfront, and then to the Handicraft Centre. stepping into the Handicraft centre seemed to have brought me back in time when i was in the very same centre in Cambodia - every nook and cranny was plastered with an assortment of masks, t-shirts, keychains, quaint little statues and coin purses made of real frogs. it was again a traditional game of haggling, to secure the best price of that exquisite mask that you fell in love with...

the mission to hunt for Teh Tiga Warna failed, but it brought us another whole new discovery! our wide-angled eyes spotted a hill with a trial behind a row of houses, being a explorer and all, we satisfied our curiousity by following the little trial. "it'll lead us to the observation tower!"one said, "no we're heading up the clock tower!"said another, but alas the 5 minute trial led us to nothing but a windy road. time was running out as we had to meet back at Akinabalu soon, but instead of heading backwards, we convinced each other just follow the road down hill, excited to find out where it leads to. Suddenly, our stroll came to a halt when we saw a signboard pointing right to Bukit Bendera! we immedialtey turned to the direction and to our suprise, it was another trial, and this time it leads uphill! looking straight ahead was a even more suprising discovery - not knowing where we were or where we were going to, the road led us back to the town and right in front of Akinabalu! i was so eager to go up the trial, but the others stopped me, for to our dismail, it was already 2.30, and we had to head to the airport soon...

bukit Bendera would have to wait, till the next time i step into KK town. and this time, i will hunt down that damned Teh Tiga Warna, i will get to Low's Peak before sunrise, and i will discover what's on top of the observation tower!

Mount Kinabalu, i will conquer thee, again.

this has been the best trip ever!

"no, im not going to Kinabalu..."

*to be contiuned*
pictures to be uploaded soon be patient people!


bloody-paws said...

awesome post on the entire trip! =D

miss u guys so much already... take care ya dear. and remember to take care of mummy and daddy too! they both so clumsy la these days~


happyPig~ said...

da jie!!!

we must go on family trip again, soon!! yeap i'll take care of them but you must come back visit us too when you're free yea!

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