Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A challenging and enjoyable experience in Mt. Kinabalu on 16/ 06/11.( By Irene Poh)

On 15th June 2011, our plane touched down in KKIA around 10 in the morning to meet our local tour guide where he took fourteen of us to Mesilau which is located at the foot of Mt. Kinabalu (approx. 6000 ft above sea level). Along the journey, I stay awake to enjoy every bit of the beautiful scenery. To my surprise, the view is just like the chinese saying " Yan Chian Sun Keng" - the sight of a fairy land. We are very lucky as we are able to see the mountain top because most of the time it is covered by clouds. The weather is slightly warm but overall it quite cooling. We wind down our windows to get some fresh air. The journey took us around 2 hours to reach Mesilau Resort Centre around 12 noon and the view is simply breathtaking! We quickly put down our luggages and check into the hotel rooms. The room is rather spacious - each unit comes with three bedrooms, one heater, an attached bathroom, a common living hall complete with tv and a tea set. Although it is not very luxurious, it is well equipped with basic amenities and it is clean too.
The tour guide gave us a quick briefing on list of things to bring, the expectation, emergency aids, toilets and resting spots availability in every 1 km of the hiking route, to take care of other team members and etc. Counting down .... we are finally here to climb Mt. Kinabalu.
We walked around 10 mins to the lobby area for lunch . While walking, I looked at the resort building architecture - very English inspired designed with high ceiling top similar to those ski resort in overseas. I was told Mesilau is only reserved for resort homes and not for other developments. That is why the air is fresh and good. Most of the building structure are made out of wood and the flooring is made from timber to encapsulate a cozy atmosphere.
At night, we had our dinner in a different restaurant. They served very nice grilled lamb. The minute the lamb is on the pot, everyone is rushing for it. I guess the meat keep our body warm and very filling too. I just love the taste of it. After dinner, we sat outside to enjoy my cup of hot coffee along with the cold breeze. Some of the them are having their puff of cigarettes. One of them told me that the first puff is just like heaven especially after a satisfying meal. I was puzzled??
I really had a good sleep after the flight from KL because we were up as early as 4 in the morning. I went to the lobby to have my early morning breakfast teo chew porridge menu such as salted eggs, pickled vegetables, choy poh eggs , american breakfast menu such as milk, cereals,omelette, coco crunch ... malaysian menu such as nasi lemak, fried mee hoon...and much more. Quite a good varieties and the foods are not too bad. While having my breakfast, the tour guide came in and gave everyone a white lunch box with bananas, apples, sandwhiches, eggs in it. That will be our lunch for the day. Do not expect to bring char koay teow because it will be frozen by the time we are at the top. The porter taking us up waited for us at the meeting point . He went through the list of items that they are suppose to carry up. The charges for every 1 kg is around RM10/= for the whole trip. One of the porter by the name of Tony, he is young and lang chai too. I was told that he is the most popular one among the young girls.
We started our jouney at around 830am. The 1st 1 to 2 hour of the walk is kind of relax because part of the journey are downhill. After that, we passed through the waterfalls where the water splashing from the top, you can really feel the mist and the feeling is good. We took some nice pictures of the waterfall and its surroundings. My tour partner, Jason loves to take pictures of birds, squirrels, leaves, flowers, trees.... After a while, we reached the suspension bridge. My biggest challenge has come - to cross the bridge.whoa, it is not easy. I waited for a while and thinking how to do it. Just took a deep breath and with the encouragement from Jason. The very next minute, I am already on the other side of the bridge. I guess only those like me would be able to understand how scared I am before I cross the bridge. Ooh... sweating only. No matter what I tell myself " if you think you can do it then you would definitely do it" . It is only mind over matter. Like what ck always tell me : " Why worry unnecessarily ?" . To face whatever challenges when it comes. By doing so, it will automatically gives me the comfort or confidence to overcome any fears .
The weather is getting cooler around 12 noon and the journey up is getting more and more difficult. The wind cheater with the hood comes very handy. I just put on the hood when the weather is windy just to keep my body warm. Around 2pm, we only reached the midpoint of Lapan Ratar. I rushed to grab a seat to rest my tiring legs. Everyone is almost half dead. We don't have any appetite. At this moment, we only think of resting rather than eating . But, come to think of it we still have a long way to go . So I just gobble whatever food in the lunch box . One of the porter reminded me that road ahead is even much tougher as we go higher due to the thin air . I was snapped by negative thoughts again. Suddently I was inspired of what Jacy and Ivan always tell me during my training in Gasing Hills " kai ma just do it ... just do it. These words really lift up my spirit again. Take a deep breath and go on to the battlefield for another round.
Re-energize after the good rest and also taking some food at the midpoint of Lapan Rata. I realised that I have travelled about 5km, still another 3.5 km to go. Pulling my heavy legs walking step by step uphill. I can hear the wind still blowing and feel the cold breeze. Some part of the journey are so rocky that my legs got stuck in between the gaps of the rocks making it very very painful. Some of the steps are just planks of strip wood at a steep gradient and you just have to walk carefully. Otherwise, you might just fall. After another 1.5 km you will come to a stretch with big rocks. It really test you scale for rock climbing. I quickly grabbed the rope tightly with both of my hands, I kept going without turning back. The cold wind blew so strongly until part of my body tilted to the left hand side closed to a ravine. The height is at 9000 ft to 10000 feet above sea level. You cannot afford to take the wrong steps. Very chi cake ( dangerous). I was so thrilled after completing the rock climbing. I did not realised that my teeth trembled due to the cold weather. I just grit my teeth . No kidding. I nearly cried but just tell myself to be strong. Keep walking until the last 2 km and looked at the time. It is around 530pm and the sky is getting dark. Rested for another few seconds and knew that time wait for no man. The journey for the last 2 km is only uphill with very big steps. I have to use one hand to pull one of the legs up and the other hands holding the stick . Asking myself - Why am I here to suffer??? One of the team members, his leg suddenly cramped. I saw him put on some muscle relaxant cream and sit for while. After that, he is on the move again. Some of these porters carrying heavy loads of bags have never complained a word. They just do it happily. Another porter took up heavy gas tank, cartons of eggs and they walked so fast that we met them on the way up and the very next minute saw them going downhill. We still have have yet to reach our destination. Some of these porters are as young as 10 years old. I asked the porter that took care of me and was told that his monthly earning is around RM1200 excluding the tips. Yet he can still take care a family of seven children . He is only 45 years old but doesn't look like one. All the exercise, fresh air and being happy could be the secret behind it.
The cold air at the hilltop is like the fresh air conditioner. The last 100 steps to Lapan Rata ( around 11,000 plus feet above sea level) was so difficult and my body is so exhausted. . I heard some noices and saw the light from the buidling. The joy for my achievement is unbelieveblle. I feel like the happiest person in the world. Finally reached the despination. When I get into the building, I heard some hand claps and whistling ... I just laughed to myslef and dropped my whole body onto the seat. The time is around 6.30pm. The journey took me exactly 10 hours including all the resting hours. I still did not see the other members in my team. Around half an hour later, I saw Jacy slowly coming in and told me that she worried that I took another route to go downhill. I told her " if there is a will, there is a way" . She noded her head and agrees with me.
Another good news is Jacy has gone up to the summit ( 13,000 plus ft above sea level) with determination, hardwork and the fighting spirit in her. Well done Jacy and everyone is proud of you. Both of us would not have done it without the help and encouragement of everyone. I take this opportunity to thank my team mate, Mr.Jason, my team leader, Mr. Ivan Wong ( Mr. Positive man), my kai lui Jacy, Kent ( Mr. St. John Ambulance ) and the rest for making this a wonderful trip. Mt. Kinabalu has the spectacular world class natural landscape and fresh air. What a blessed land and hope that you could make your trip there too.
Mount Kinabalu has given me a certificate record for my visit to Lapan Rata. Jacy and balance of the 8 members including Jason, Ivan, Kent, Ah Wah, Big Foot, Mark, Christine's husband and Peggy's husband received the certificate for reaching the highest mountain in Malaysia.
Bravo. brothers and sisters. Well done.
Shared with you our group pictures taken in Mt. Kinabalu. Hope that you would like it.