So, where were we?

Oh yes. We were back in Kampung Peta after that boat ride and hiking trip to Upeh Guling and Tasik Biru.

I do not remember anything special that night. All I remember is, there was dinner, a story telling session and a lot of tired people. The whole camp went to sleep relatively quickly. It was not even 2300 if I am not mistaken.

During dinner, a person announced that she was conducting a scientific quest of finding an endangered palm tree species; female palm in particular. She needed to find out how large an area would spores travel. This information is useful for conservation effort as well as the enrichment of human knowledge.

The next morning began, again, quickly. I would have loved another hour of sleep but we needed to start early. I skipped my morning bath as it was too cold to have one. That opinion is not unique to me, that much I could guarantee.

Today, our goal was the peak of Janing Barat.

While all members were informed of the expedition itinerary, I do not think many cared about it until now. One the first day itself, a lot of people, including me, were clueless about the details of the trip, despite the fact that the information was freely available previously. So, when some heard that there would be hill climbing today, a few chickened out, choosing to stay idle by the river and read some book, or whatever they could think of. Not a bad idea really. I myself brought a book with me, thinking that I could finally have some time to make some good progress with my reading list. Unfortunately, time for reading is something of an elusive luxury.

We left those that wished to stay behind and headed to Kampung Peta for a boat ride to Kuala Jasin.

Do you remember the flower that Gary said could switch color from red to white? Well, the flower stayed white. When we brought that to Gary’s attention, Gary insisted that it did not bloom that day. I took it that Gary was joking but after viewing somebody else’s photos on the expedition back in Kuala Lumpur, what Gary said was true.

So, we got on the boat.

Yesterday was a bright day with blue sky. Today, the sky was slightly cloudy and dull while the hills and mountains were covered with mist. It was hard to make out the peaks as the mist hid it among the cloud.

Copyrights by Katrin Schmidt. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Where does the earth end and the sky begin? Photo by Katrin Schmidt.

The weather did affect me. The cloudy day made me a little melancholy and drifted away, daydreaming, longing for something I did not know what, despite being slightly at peace with myself. I played with the water, loving every moment of solitude that I had. The individualist in me wished the moment to last forever; the moment of being alone.

By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

The dude is contemplating on life. I lost that cap. But Go Blue!

That solitude was interrupted when the boat hit ashore. It was time to get out and hike.

Kuala Jasin did not lose the charm it had the first time we was here 24 hours earlier. The sound of water sculpting the rocks was pleasant. The birds would sing in chorus while the wind and insects providing percussions. Neither Bach nor Mozart nor Vivaldi but harmonious nevertheless.

By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Another shot of Kuala Jasin.

We gathered at the t-junction that I mentioned earlier. Yesterday, we took the route towards Kuala Marong. Today, it was Janing Barat. I was in the last group that started the ascend to Janing Barat.

Now, Janing Barat is referred to in Malay as gunung; meaning mountain. Just like Tasik Biru, it is a misnomer as Janing Barat stands at 427 meter up, which is about 1,400 feet. That however does not make the ascend any easier for a person that fails to exercise even once a week.

The first hundred steps or so were painfully challenging. I could feel my leg muscles being overwhelmed with lactic acid. The worst part was that I could not take a rest without hurting my ego. Luckily for me however, circumstance was in my favor. In our group, the camp’s only nurse, a female by the name of Dayang had problem with stamina. She stopped quite often to catch her breath and for some water. I was only happy to stop whenever she stopped, cleaning my system of lactic acid.

The trail to the peak is interesting with the trail lying on a narrow plateau. On either sides of the path, one could see how one is walking on the highest point of a cross section of the hill. The slope of the sides was probably stayed typically in between 60 and 70 degree. I definitely would not want to fall sideway.

Copyrights by Katrin Schmidt. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Observe the slope. This looks downward. Photo by Katrin Schmidt.

As I acclimatized myself, I built some stamina. Slowly, I noticed that I needed less rest though, for some reason, I yawned a lot.

It turned out, there were other people with even lower stamina. Our group, being the last to start walking up, started to overtake a number of fellow hikers. At some point of time, I and the rest of my group overtook Dayang, fastening our pace to the top.

Copyrights by Gary Phong. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Gary gets artistic. Photo by Gary Phong.

If one carefully observed his surrounding, concentrating not on his breathing, he would notice the interesting floras. At the bottom of the hill, typical tall and hard trunk trees like meranti are prevalent while the jungle floor is filled with undergrowth. Halfway up, palm trees dominate. Farther up, the palm trees still dominate though the floor is something like those in North America — clear and covered only with dead leaves.

By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Typical view of a not so typical environment. This is somewhere up.

We took some photographs. Some photographers required more time than others and we overtook more people. Soon, the group that started last were leading most of the expedition. Indeed, our group probably was the second one to reach the midpoint and the peak.

The midpoint is a relatively wide open space covered with a combination of tall hard truck trees and palms with a bench by the side before the ground falls to an abyss below. A perfect place to for a short stop. Time for a drink. Time for a sip. Probably for a nap too.

Copyrights by Katrin Schmidt. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The bench at midway up. That is Azmi, waiting for slow folks like us. Also notice how the palm trees dominate the scenery. Photo by Katrin Schmidt.

In time like this, water is gold. The fact hit me as I realized that I did not fill my bottle with water!

Oh crap. With no choice, wishing not to beg for water from others, I reluctantly economized my consumption. It was déjà vu all over again. That however did not prevent me to enjoy nature.

Roughly ten minutes later, people started to pour in, making the place too crowded. Rested, it was only fair for us to give up space for the others. After a short exchange, we moved on, onward and upward.

The trail so far was between 0 and 30 degree. After the midpoint, the trail took a radical turn. At one place, we had to climb up with the gradient being something in the 70s or the 80s. It was practically rock climbing. For my personally, that part was the most exciting part of the climb.

For about another hour or less, we reached the top. It was a palm trees-covered plateau, nearly 500 meter up. I am not sure how to explain the plateau but I had a feeling of being in a lost world. It was as if I was expecting dinosaurs to roam the plateau. My imagination was running wild.

The atmosphere was very different with no undergrowth and only large wild palm growing liberally everywhere. The wide palm leaves tamed the sunlight and that probably explains the lack of undergrowth.

Copyrights by Katrin Schmidt. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Making mountain out of a, er, hill? Photo by Katrin Schmidt.

Not too far up, W** S**** and gang as well as Katrin and Christian and our Orang Asli guide, Azmi were enjoying the view. From here, we could see Upeh Guling in the horizon amid the uneven green background with cloud-filled sky overhead.

By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

View on top of Janing Barat. Near the center is Upeh Guling.

With Azmi’s aid, we explored the plateau and found varieties of pitcher plant. There were other plants of course but pitcher plants were the stars of the day.
There were cute pitcher as large as my pinky and there were bigger ones which could fit a few of my fingers at one time. I did insert my pinky into one of that pitcher plant just to see if it would eat me. Carefully, of course since I did not want to hurt it. At the end of that exercise, both of us survived. I especially was disappointed to see my finger was still intact.

By Mohd Hafiz Noor Shams. Some rights reserved.

Nope. It did not try to eat me.

Also, we were hoping to see tiger’s prints but we did not find out.

Then, it was lunch, Upeh Guling far out there with the wind softly blowing much to my delight.

2 Responses to “[1238] Of breathing Endau Rompin: Part VI”

  1. on 24 Nov 2007 at 15:38 akma

    firstly,i’ve just came back from endau ROmpin this morning with my classmate because the recreation tourism subject.The journey from south to the north of malaysia was very tired.3 days 2 night there was very memorable thing in my life,we stayed at kuala Jasin campsite.The cold and the flora and fauna mesmerize me and my friend.Tour guides there were very frienly,i remember abg bai(kamal),loop(azmi) and keme.They share with us many stories about this place.Upih guling and tasik air biru was the beautiful place i’ve been.The water was cool and clear but the trek was long,i think hehe:)…i also tried their games and blow pipes and many thing there.Althougt i was tired but it the best journey in my life.If i got a changes i want to go there and meet the people at kampung peta,there was friendly with us… 😉

  2. on 24 Nov 2007 at 20:17 Hafiz Noor Shams

    I am glad that you enjoyed it.

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