Friday, 3 October 2014

Gunung Tahan extract

This is copied from Gunung Tahan.
I will try to write my own version (if I still remember, later).

After a lapse of three years, the seniors of Victoria Scout Group decided to organize another expedition to Gunung Tahan. It was a time to conquer the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia once again following a former biennial tradition. It seemed exciting to experience the gruelling journey and to enhance further the name of the troop in the ascent. Yours truly decided to participate in this event after returning to V.I. to continue his studies in Form 6. During the first semester break, twelve scouts from VSG, namely, ASM Leong Kwan Eu , SPL Toh Yung Fei, SPL Yam Wern-Kidd, SPL Lin Han Weng, SPL Mohd Shazli, SS Raja Muazam, SS Alvin Chew, SS Lee Kok Chong, SS Liew Ban Hing, SS Wong Kien Keong, SS Chong Kok Weng and SS Yip Yoke Hwa embarked on an arduous adventure to Gunung Tahan.

On the morning of May 29, we assembled at 8.30 a.m. at the Pekeliling Bus Terminal in high spirits, eager to begin our journey. Our luggage was checked to ensure that all necessary stuff was available. We had prepared enough food to last for ten days just in case it took longer to reach the peak. We brought rice, ikan bilis, peanuts and sambal udang which would be our meals for the next few days. At about 10.00 a.m. the bus arrived and it took us three hours to reach Jerantut. From Jerantut, we had to rush to catch the last bus to Kuala Tembeling. At Kuala Tembeling, we had our lunch and continued our journey by boat. The boat ride journey to Kuala Tahan took about three hours. We could see the beautiful scenery, the sunset and animals such as the seladang and buffalo. Finally at 7.00 p.m. we reached Kuala Tahan and made all the preparations for the journey the next morning. Many of us took the opportunity to phone home before we went to sleep in our tents.

DAY 1 (MAY 30, 1997)
We got up at 6.00 a.m. for breakfast and then prepared our lunch. We then proceeded to the park officer's house to have our belongings checked. Each one of us had to itemize the things he was bringing along to ensure that all the items were brought back down later. Otherwise, a summons would be issued. Plastic bags, batteries, slippers, shoes, bottles and clothing were checked. After getting through the inspection we met our guides.

The journey started at 10.00 a.m. sharp. We had a chat with the two guides and they advised us to be strong mentally and to help each other when necessary. We started off happily with everyone walking steadily through the thick jungle. We passed an orang aslisettlement. The leaves of the big trees blocked most of the sunlight from reaching the jungle trails. Before long some of us started to slow down so we decided to cheer up by singing songs. It proved effective and after three and a half hours we finally reached our first camp, Melantai. The name of this camp aptly described what we were experiencing. We took our lunch consisting of rice, ikan bilissambal udang and peanuts to restore our energy.

We had planned to stop there for the day but we decided to continue after discussions with our two guides. We began to encounter steep hills which were totally unexpected and which we found challenging. The hills seemed never ending - after one hill we were only relieved for a while before the next one loomed. Our earlier vigorous training in cycling, running up and down steep hills helped us tremendously in our ascent. At last, we managed to clear the final hill to complete the hike of the Malang Range which comprised 27 undulating hills and a mountain. Kem Tengah was our second destination as we had decided to stop here. The journey took another three hours before we reached Kem Tengah. There we got our water supply from a water source dripping down slowly from a bamboo strip. We ate our dinner and discussed our plans for the next day. Before we turned in, we joked and chatted with each other.

DAY 2 (MAY 31, 1997)
We had to replenish our water supply before continuing our journey to Kuala Puteh. It was not so exhausting as we had already hiked most of the hills the day before. Gunung Raja was our next destination. To hike there we had to push ourselves and give each other motivation because to ascend a mountain is like hiking over five hills. From Gunung Raja, we could get our first view of Gunung Tahan. After Gunung Raja, the journey was all the way down and it was quite easy. We managed to reach Kuala Puteh in three hours. There we had our lunch and took our baths in the nearby river.

Our next destination was Teku. The challenge was really great because we had to cross the same river seven times. One needs to acquire the skill of crossing rivers. You have to balance yourselves with your heavy bag and step on the right stones and not the slippery ones. The strong currents also did not help much but we managed to overcome these by using a staff each to steady ourselves. Three hours later, Teku finally welcomed us at 5 p.m. Most of our socks and shoes were wet because we had to cross the rivers. We met a few wildlife department officers who were doing a census of the number of elephants around this park. We camped at Teku for the night.

DAY 3 (JUNE 1, 1997)
The next morning we started early at 7 p.m. after having breakfast. The journey was very taxing as we had to climb many steep hills that were steeper than the ones at the Malang Range. Our stamina was severely tested. The journey to Wray's Camp seemed never ending and we had to really push ourselves to our limit. I noticed the types of plants here were different because they had smaller leaves and were much shorter. After four hours of hiking, we finally reached Wray's Camp. It was very inconvenient to get our water supply here as we had to take a 10 minute walk down the hills to a stream. We continued our journey to Pangkin Bawah, an uphill journey again. It was not too difficult by now because our bodies had adapted to the taxing demands. Pangkin Bawah was reached after two hours of hiking. We met a group of students coming down and we asked them about the journey up. They encouraged us and said that the journey up was not so difficult after all. We camped there for the night and looked forward to reach the peak of Gunung Tahan.

DAY 4 (2nd JUNE 1997)
The day we had waited for finally came. We moved to our next destination, Padang Camp. With the thought of reaching the peak in our mind, it took us less than four hours to reach Padang Camp. To do so, we had to climb a 100 metre vertical, grasping our ropes and tree roots to reach the peak of Gedung. This was so far the toughest part; this steep route could be seen from afar and one needs to be very careful while climbing. We enjoyed a bath at a nearby stream which really was very cold and later filled our tummies with the water.

At 1 p.m. sharp we started on the journey to the peak. All of us were in very high spirits. We had to conquer a final mountain, Gunung Berapit, before reaching the peak. On the way to the peak we were suddenly attacked by a swarm of hornets. A few of us got stung. A senior was stung eight times, yours truly once, but we still continued our journey, although in pain. With the peak in mind this minor setback was forgotten. We reached the peak of Gunung Tahan at 4 p.m. after three hours of walking. At last, the summit was right in front of us after four gruelling days. Our tiredness disappeared as we took photographs and enjoyed beautiful view plus the cool breeze. We really felt on top of the world and we will cherish this historic moment all our lives. The sense of pride and the ability to lift the name of the Victoria Scout Group was really rewarding. It was an invaluable and rewarding journey for the great effort and team spirit put in. This expedition marked another milestone in the quest of success for our troop.