Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Yes, I made it to the summit of Gunung Tahan. A feat that I never thought possible and I never dreamt about.

Personally, I prefer day hiking activities as I don't have to carry heavy back pack and I don't have to apply for leave from work as it always takes place over the weekend.

Reaching the summit of Gunung Tahan is a very important milestone in my hiking activities. With this achievement, I am confident that I can climb any of those mountains listed in G7 namely, Korbu, Gayung, Yong Belar, Chamah, Yong Yap and Ulu Sepat and Ulu Sepat. A friend who is 50 years old that I met in Tahan, was already going for his 2nd G7 (Chamah) last week.

As for me, I am thinking about doing Korbu and Gayung, no date as yet as I am now recovering from my back problem. It could be next year.

In the meantime, let me complete the diary on Gunung Tahan.

May 29
The biggest challenge for me on the first day was carrying heavy back pack. Being a day hiker, I am not used to carrying heavy load at all. The heavy back pack had slowed me a lot. In fact until today, I still have the mark of the back pack strap on my chest! That should explain how heavy the back pack was!

On the second day, the challenges were to ascend from 750 meter to 1,943 meters, going through slippery trails with heavy back pack. I had reduced the weight by leaving behind some rations and clothes at Kem Kor, however the back pack still felt heavy.

The climb on the second day was to reach Kem Botak (1,943 meters) where we will camp for another night. We went through several check points along the way namely Permatang (874 m), Kubang (1,406m), Belumut (1,493m) and Bonsai (1,705m). The distance was around 15km.

From Kubang onwards, the temperature had dropped by a few degrees. As it was quite cold already and we were sweating, I told myself that I couldn't stop for long. No stop for proper meal as we also lost the appetite. We were really tired and lunch lunch was just apple, raisin and nuts.

From Bonsai onwards, the view was beautiful and the vegetation was shorter and stunted. Conifers were abundant.

We reached Kem Botak around 5.30pm, after hiking for 10 hours. It was very tiring and at times, I was just dragging my feet. I had more and more stops. After a few steps, I stopped to catch my breath. I was in the last group with another 3 climbers and by the time we reached Kem Botak, some of our friends had already been there for 3 hours and they had their tents ready. These people were super fast!

That night, it rained heavily after dinner. It lasted for almost two hours. We were lucky as our tent was on a slope. For others, their tents were flooded.

May 30
It's the day that we'd hike up to the summit which was an hour away. We left at 6.45am and 45 minutes later, we reached the summit. Yes! I made it.
Nothing much to say about the peak, no 360 degrees view of the surroundings! Nevertheless, it was an ecstatic feeling being at the highest peak of Peninsular Malaysia!

Upon reaching back Kem Botak, we had our breakfast, packed up everything and left for Kem Kor again for the last camping night. On the way down, it was raining. I was always scared of rain while hiking, first the surface will be slippery and then it's going to be cold. Much to my surprise, I welcomed the rain as helped me cool down my body temperature.
Another thing that I always try to avoid is to hike at night. The group that we met at the first night at Kem Kor, they reached there at around 9.00pm. Considering it took us 10 hours to climb up and if it took us the same time, we'd reach Kem Kor when it was already dark. The descend took only 7 hours and by 5.00pm, we reached back Kem Kor. I was relieved!

May 31
It's the final day and the pressure is off. We left at 9.00am and took 3 hours to reach back the starting point.
In conclusion, it was very challenging for me. However, all the preparations have helped a lot. By conquering this mountain, all other G7 seems possible.
In the meantime, I'll take a long break to recover from the spinal problem that has deteriorated. There will be physio sessions to attend!

Sunday, June 20, 2010


It's the last week of mid-term school holiday and as planned we left for Bukit Merah Lake Town resort for 3D 2N holiday.

The children were having fun, the eldest two went into the theme park, while the youngest two boys enjoyed themselves in the swimming pool at the apartment.

On the day that we were supposed to check out and left for Penang to attend a wedding of our niece, I had a bad sneeze that affected my health until today.

Before leaving, I was already not feeling well. I had my MRI done and based on the result I had to undergo physio treatment as I had slip disc (no too serious as the nerves were not affected!) between L4 & L5 and between L5 and S1.

When I sneezed that day before performing my solat subuh, I guess that I was in bad posture, it caused me severe pain on my back as if it's going to rip apart and break into two. I continued praying on sitting position. When I was done praying, I realised that I couldn't walk anymore, the pain was so unbearable. I couldn't even lie in bed! We decided to cancel the trip to Penang and headed home instead.

Luckily I had hiking stick in the car that I can use as support to help me move about. The hotel staff was surprised to see me again as I was okay and could still swim the day before.

Luckily, I had my wife who could drive us back home. Upon reaching home, the pain had subsided but I still couldn't move about freely without the help of walking stick.

I am resting at home now and will see the Orthopedic again on Monday!

What a holiday!

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I am sad as I had to cancel the hiking plan to Pine Tree Hill with my colleagues. We have made the preparation for over a month and everyone was looking forward to it. We were supposed to leave on Friday afternoon next week and spend a night at Fraser's Hill.

However, I had to cancel the trip as I was scheduled to see an orthopedic on the same day. Seeing the orthopedic on the same day is not really the reason to cancel the plan. The persistent pain on my back is the reason for it.

I have been having back pain for almost a year. It all happened when I was cleaning up my storage room when it was attacked by termites. I was overcome with emotions as I had to throw away some books and other paper products that had sentimental value from the storage room. I didn't pay any attention to my posture. And as fate had it, I injured my back then!

Anyway, it was a slight injury, I thought so as I could move freely and it only caused me pain every now and then when I exerted myself too much.

After coming back from Gunung Tahan, the pain was becoming unbearable, the numbness on my right leg would cause me pain right to the sole of my foot. And it always happens when I am in the car for a long time (that's always the case as I drive for more than 1 hour a day). At times, it was no longer numb but it was also painful!

So I have no choice, I am scheduled to see an orthopedic to see the extent of my injury. I don't want to write much of what I have in mind now until the specialist assesses my condition. After that, I can plan of what to do with my life especially when it comes to fitness exercises!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِي

Three words that sum up my Gunung Tahan experience. I Made It!

How did I make it? That's another story and the diary entries on my experience will shed some lights on the how!

May 27

After packing up everything in the backpack, we left for KL Sentral to meet with the others and to board the train to Merapoh that was scheduled to leave at 8.35pm.

The road was jammed as it was the peak time for people to leave their office. Nevertheless, we made it to the station at 7.30pm, enough time for us to have our dinner at the food court.

We lined up our backpacks near KFC

The train was delayed by half hour. We were all booked in 2nd class coach with sleeping berth. I chose the lower deck as I didn't think I could sleep at the upper deck. For this trip, I really had to have a good rest, especially so I wasn't fully recovered yet from my fever. I popped in panadol and piriton to help me to sleep and have a good rest.

May 28

The train reached Merapoh station at 8.30am. Everybody was excited and started snapping pictures the moment we saw Merapoh signboard. I believe everybody wanted to document their trip. I was told it's everyone's first trip to Gunung Tahan.

Breakfast was a simple nasi kerabu yet delicious!
Our guide and 4WD driver were already there waiting for us while we had our breakfast. There were two 4WDs for 16 of us. It was a short 7 minutes ride to Taman Negara Pahang office. Here we had to wait until 11am for the officer to settle our registration and for him to inspect our stuffs. We had to lay down on the floor all the stuffs from the backpack for him to inspect. Items that they were particular about including bottled drinks, plastic wrapped food items, batteries, cooking gas and clothing items.
My items were on the floor for the inspection

There were 16 of us including 2 ladies. Both ladies and another 3 guys were going for 9D challenge. As for 11 of us, we were going for 4D challenge, Merapoh - Summit - Merapoh. It's going to be 64km return trip of hilly terrains, steep slopes, river crossings and muddy trails! I guess everyone was ready for it. As for me, I was ready too, all the hiking trips for the past two years had already prepared me for this trip.
After the administrative matters were over, we were taken to the starting point by 4WD. It was a roller coaster ride through bumpy and hilly narrow road for about 17 minutes. On the first day of hiking, we were scheduled to camp at Kem Kor (750 meter asl), 13 km away from the starting point. There were two check points, Kuala Luis and Lata Luis.
Here I had the first taste of my heavy backpack of at least 15 kgs of rations, clothes and tent. I felt as though someone was strangling me from the back and it was so constricting. A buff that I used to wrap around my neck was such a heavy item too and I had to wear it on my hand instead. The 13km trekking seemed to take almost forever and the heavy backpack had really slowed me down.
We had to cross over the river four times and thank God, the water lever was up to 3 feet high only. I was told that the water level could be as high as 5 feet and it's there on video on You Tube! After crossing smaller river for another 3 times, we finally reached Kem Kor at around 5.30pm. That means it took us 5 hours. That's the average time allocated to reach Kem Kor. And of course, there were a few of us who made it in just 3 hours including the two iron ladies! Boy, they were fast!

The last river crossing

After resting for a few minutes, we quickly set our tent and prepared the dinner. Dinner was rice and chicken curry. After dinner, I popped in panadol and piriton again. I was really hooked onto the pills during my trip as that was the only way for me to have a good rest. Otherwise, I may end up having sleepless nights and and didn't have enough rest. For any camping trip that I have been, I could only sleep for less than 3 hours.
I also learned a few days later that another two hikers were also having similar problems and I had to share the pills with them.

I woke at 3am and managed to sleep again until 5.20am when I heard azan prayers. A group of students reached back Kem Kor from the summit the night before and I didn't notice it at all. I was told that they reached Kem Kor around 9pm! I took the opportunity to join them for subuh prayers.

May 29
By 7.30am the next day, we had to leave for even bigger challenges, going from 750 meter asl ascending to 1,943 meter asl.
Here at Kem Kor, we were advised to leave behind rations and some clothing items that we don't need for the next one night. It helped to reduce the wight of our back pack. As for me, I felt it was just as heavy as there weren't that many items that I left behind!

To be continued for Day 2, 3 and 4!