And up the Endau we went.

Lim Wee Siong. Used with permission.

One of the boats we got on.

Floating on the river was something I thoroughly enjoyed. I, as well as everybody else I think, was mesmerized by the jungle. The tranquility, only disturbed by the clumsy boat engine was something I had not experienced for a very long time. The last time I had such experience was at the Dungun River: an emergency evacuation.

Ignore the racketing motor noise and one would lose oneself to nature, free of limitations of the body. It was as if the soul was leaving the body, socked wet with bliss.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

On the boat, looking downstream.

As we were moving upstream farther into the wilderness, I could not help but feel the water with my finger. It was sweetly cold, tempting me to jump off board. It was just too bad that the boat was roofed. While I had the wind gently swept across my face, it would have been better if it were roofless. It was a blue sky but the roof wanted me to savor it instead of the sky. What jealousy is this?

Trees grow happily all around us, protected from reckless development, possibly have outlived many of our ancestors. Possibly, will be outliving us and our children too. Through casual reading over the internet, I found out that the jungle complex is older than that of the Amazon and Congo with 200 over million years rock formation. I am not a geologist and so, I am easily impressed by such numbers.

On our boat were two Danish couples that reside in Kuching, Sarawak. One of them speaks Malay, just like Patricia expect that whenever she speaks Malay, she sounds like a ten year old girl. Her intonation was rather of cute, as with any ten year old girl. She also is quite well-versed with biological jargons that I just shrugged my shoulders whenever she asked me questions about the flora and fauna of Endau Rompin. And then, there were silver leaf (sp?) monkeys jumping merrily from tree to tree. Everybody was excited but I remained calmed, mostly because I was daydreaming.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

The water pattern enticed me to daydream, reeling a rollicking me.

MNS does seem to have a lot of foreigners as its members. In fact, if the membership of MNS were to represent a country, I think that country would be Singapore instead of Malaysia. But perhaps, this proves that regardless of one’s background, there is only one environment. If it is lost, we all lose.

Talking about Sarawak, I have been to all Malaysian states except those on Borneo. I must someday set my feet on Borneon soil. That is a promise.

One mountain, or hill, looked like a pyramid. The peak was shaped as such and I thought it was noteworthy. I told Christian of what I thought and he replied, it would be great if we were to be at the top. Indeed.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Beyond the trees, a pyramid-shaped hill, or mountain.

Endau River is a winding river. I cannot remember how many curves the driver negotiated but that made the experience all the better. Sometimes, at one part or another, the current was so strong that it seemed the boat was not moving at all.

At the very end of the boat ride, there were rapids. I was kind of nervous upon seeing size of the rapids because I thought we were going through it. The rapids looked dangerous and I could not imagine how a boat such ours in could pass the rapids without disintegrating into pieces. Readying for the worst, I braced myself. But instead of roughing it out, we hit shore about 100 feet from the rapids. Silly me.

I wished we had stayed in the boat a little bit longer but we needed to get off and start hiking to the next rendezvous point, Kuala Jasin. We were the first boat to leave Kampung Peta and be done with the boat ride. So, we had honor spending the longest time at Kuala Jasin.

The walk to Kuala Jasin was not demanding at all. With the exception of a minor climb at the beginning, the trail is relatively flat and sandy. On both sides are soft trunk plants that look like cassava. Farther down the trail, the cassava-like trees give way to tropical trees like the highly precious merantis of various kinds.

Kuala Jasin is the meeting place of Endau and Jasin River. The rapids make the place a highly attractive place to be at. I myself would not have minded camping here for the night. The magnitude of water rushing through the rapids truly caught my attention as I had not seen anything like it in Malaysia; the rivers run wild.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Endau is joined by Jasin here.

The marvel of nature is inescapable to many and this probably is the reason why there are chalets at the river bank. Given the relative remoteness of the facility, sadly, the infrastructures are left in the state of disrepair, abandoned. The flood that occurred earlier has made the situation worse. An observation deck, which would have been marvelous if we could use it, has collapsed into the river. After the fact, I would rather not see any development here. An observation might be okay but 10 to 15 chalets, unused and abandoned at a remote location no less, are out of the question.

Gary, one of the de facto sweepers, got us back in line once the last of the boat had arrived. Some of us we reluctant to leave so, it took some effort to convince us to leave Kuala Jasin.

Soon, everybody gathered at a t-junction, with a direction lead us to the park HQ, another to Jening Barat, another to Upeh Guling as well as Tasik Biru and of course, the last one back to Kuala Jasin.

So much had been said about Upeh Guling and Tasik Biru, about the legend and stuff. Therefore, it is understandable why everyone was eager to start the hike. Quite contrary to what had happened at Kuala Jasin just moments ago.

Before we embarked for Upeh Guling, we had a roll call, just to be safe. Getting lost in Endau Rompin is not an experience anybody would want to go through. And then, finally, we started marching.

The first obstacle was the Jasin River. This perhaps several hundreds meters away from Kuala Jasin. It would have been shorter if we have stayed true to the river but the river route is too challenging.

It was groin-deep at the time we crossed Jasin while the current was not strong. Still, the rocky riverbed caused some difficulties to some. I almost fell into the river but by sheer skill (ha-ha), I stood firm. And my boots and socks turned wet all over again. At this point, I stopped caring about being dry.

This point is the last point accessible with 4WD. Not too long ago, a bridge was constructed across this river against the advice of the Orang Aslis. Human arrogance ignored the advice and the authority begun building the bridge. It was not long before nature humbled arrogant builders, forcing the abandonment of the project. Till this day, a notice board informing the public of the project still stands while a lone pillar seemingly dedicated to humility.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Expected to complete in February 2007, it has been abandoned. The major flood earlier this year wiped out whatever kind of bridge that was dreamed of by the local authority.

And so, we hiked, and hiked, and hiked some more.

About an hour or so, he had to cross yet another river. The name of the river is unknown to me but it was fiercer and deeper than that one path crossing Jasin. A strong rope was tied from one tree to another across the river to provide support.

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Azmi, supervising the crossing.

All went well and the hike continued.

The next point of interest was Kuala Marong. This is a meeting place of two rivers: the one we just crossed and possibly, Marong River. Conservation wise, Kuala Marong is special but I will touch about it in later posting.

From there on, we needed to cross yet another river. While crossing, five or six butterflies, probably Raja Brooke were found frolicking by the bank. As expected, photographs swarmed the butterflies.

After that crossing, people were noticeably quiet. This is not surprising considering that at Kuala Marong, some already had wanted to have lunch. My stomach itself was growling but we pushed on instead, thinking of having lunch at Upeh Guling itself.

Upeh Guling is a large waterfall and from what I gathered from limited resources, I the most well-known of all fall in Endau Rompin. We knew that we were getting closer because the sound of gushing water was outdoing the sound of insects and birds combined.

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A member of the expedition, Farah, relaxing at Upeh Guling.

With each step, anticipating grew and finally, Upeh Guling with all of its glory was visible. The size of the waterfall was only clear to me after as we climbed up higher. If one would fall into the fall, death could be guaranteed. The name of Upeh Guling itself is associated with death.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Years of erosion produces mind-boggling landscape.

An Orang Asli legend has it that long ago, a man by the name of Upeh was walking somewhere near this fall. While exchanging glances with his fiancé, he slipped, fell, rolled over and over again to his death. In Malay, guling means rollover. Hence, the name. The legend further says that whoever found the skeleton of Upeh, he or she would be full of luck. I for one am unsure how one would be lucky to find such ghastly remain.

It was a hot day and the water was cooling. Upeh Guling tempted us to take a dip but with strong current, Azmi prevented us from doing so, citing safety precaution. Nevertheless, we had our much needed rest. While I was getting ready for lunch, I discovered two leeches were already having me as their lunch. I pulled two fat leeches off my foot.

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You creep.

While laying down on one of the rocks, I noticed dragonflies!

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Possible, my best photo for the trip.

And more butterflies!

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Oooo… donut. I mean, butterfly.

After lunch, I, as well as many others, took a cat nap before moving on to Tasik Biru. Transliteration would render Tasik Biru into Blue Lake. But as we would later find out, the word lake is an exaggeration and so too the word blue.

Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved

p/s — thanks to L** W** S**** for the permission to use the first picture (the boat) in this entry.

2 Responses to “[1206] Of breathing in Endau Rompin: Part IV”

  1. […] A short lunch and cat nap refreshed my muscle. I failed to train for the hiking trip though as the whole, it was not as demanding as I had thought it would be. Still, my poor legs were exhausted and the short stop was most welcomed. It was just too bad we could not jump into the pools at Upeh Guling. […]

  2. […] gathered at the t-junction that I mentioned earlier. Yesterday, we took the route towards Kuala Marong. Today, it was Janing […]

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