The first hiking trip this year for me and colleagues went on smoothly. There were 32 of us including 2 children of less than 7 years old.
I left my house at 6.10am to meet up and pick up people along the way to Seremban R&R. On the way there, someone sent sms saying he's already there. Ooops, he didn't get the email that the meeting time at Seremban R&R has been rescheduled to 7.30am instead of 5.30. Some people complained that they may not be able to drag themselves out of bed that early, therefore the time change!
At Seremban R&R, I was so pleased to see that everybody was punctual with the exception of one car (I thought he's not joining as he didn't pick up call and replied sms). I was glad that he called later on saying that he's on the way as well.
We gathered again after Pedas Linggi toll (exit 322) and we waited for 5 more cars to arrive but upon contacting them, they opted for a different route, exit at Senawang instead. By the time, we reached the base camp, everybody was there.
After a short briefing, we started the climb around 9am with me leading the way armed with dual color confetti that I dropped along the way. The first group reached the 1st Check Point half hour later. The first check point is 1/3 of the trail. That means we'll reach the peak 1 hour later. I must thank John Iverson for agreeing to be our sweeper on this trip. John did a splendid job, ensuring that a guy being sent back to the base as he was unfit to continue.
I had good chat with the other two trekkers who are first timers to Gunung Datuk. Both of them (a guy and a lady) were very fit and they had no problem at all to reach the peak. Along the way up from the first Check Point, I met one familiar face and it turned out that we were in the same group in Ulu Semangkuk.
At the peak, the wind was strong and weather was good. We could see Straits of Malacca too. The last few people reached the peak an hour later with John with them to ensure that everybody reached the peak safely. After enjoying the view, having energy bar/snack and resting at the peak, it was time to leave the rocks covered peak.
On the way down, I became the sweeper and it was challenging as one girl was very tired and she fell a few times and suffered minor cuts on her fingers. I must salute the mother and her child, despite the numerous falls (the mother fell one time too!), they never grumbled, instead they were grateful that nobody got injured. And we reached the base 2 hours later!
It was a good trip and everybody enjoyed themselves. I am glad that they know how to enjoy the trip, it's the climb that's important, not the peak. It's the journey and not just the destination. I hope to arrange for similar trips soon. Gunung Ledang, perhaps? And it's for serious hikers only!