Left to right: The river boat taking us to the river mouth leading to our trails; there's Bjarte, Marianne, Clarice, Mike Dolan and Kim Choong aboard and on the right, the resplendent backdrop of Gunung Santubong
...Hiking day! To be precise, the Tajoh falls atthe Bako National Park
(click to check out the website). Bako is situated a bout 37km from Kuching (about an hour's drive in regular traffic conditions
). After registering our names and paying the requisite fees (thanks to Asther again...), we took to the river boats from Kampong Bako
to reach the base camp of our trails, situated at the river mouth facing the South China Sea and somewhere near the boundaries of Gunung Santubong
. (According to one version, the mountain was formed when mythical Princess Santubong was speared by her jealous sister, Princess Sejinjang. Falling over, she gave the mountain its distinctive profile, like a pregnant belly. some say you can make out a face, the lady's breasts and her fat hips, frankly, I think these jungle people has had one too many tuak
) Back to the issue at hand, there are numerous trails at the park, all colour-coded with different levels of difficulty and distance. We took the trail to the Tajoh falls, about 4 km from base camp.
The Adventurous 10 (from left): Raymond Leong, Bjarte Olsen, Jennifer Lee, Asther Lau, Mike Tjoa, Marianne Bones, ME, Clarice Bones, Mike Dolan, Kim Choong and Francis Tan
Left to right: Our group heading on the boardwalk through the mangrove trees and towards the platform leading to the trails
The start of the path to the trails takes a short stroll along the beach on a boardwalk, through the mangrove trees
and up a slight climb to a platform with the sign...what else..."To the trails
"... The start of the trail takes an almost 45 degree climb up, till 500m. Yes, there are trail markers showing your progress. At 500m, Francis was out of breath and ready to turn back, but thru sheer motivation and support from Asther, Mike Tjoa and me, we continued. Just after that, there is a rock flatbed, undulated and bizzare formations, probably due to the elements. Francis, Mike and I were in constant radio contact...Mike always 150m in front of us whilst Francis and I played the "sweepers" behind.
The sun was beating on our heads and I sweated buckets! The trail progressed along thru undergrowth and bushes. Finally! We reached the 1km mark! Up to this point, we were all mislead by the signs which read "2.75km" to the falls. Unknown to us, it was 2.75km from the 1km sign! Man... I just kept counting the colour markers along the way...after a while, I couldn't be bothered...only now, I realize how out of shape I am...but we gotta tarry on....
It's amazing with the amounts of energy I was expending, I could think of taking pictures of the trail markers, only to be put off by the distance we had to go..."Are we there yet?"....
Francis was beginning to wonder if we had been duped by the locals...the trail took us again into dense undergrowth and true the woods. This is one of those times I thank myself for getting meself a good pair of hiking boots, waterproof some more...dry feet = comfy! 1.9km!! Another 1.8 km to go...damn....SOMEBODY SHOOT ME!
10 minutes to go!!!
Cutting the story short, I was at the 3.4km marker (and shortly, a signed which read "10 MINUTES TO WATERFALL") when I radio-ed Mike Tjoa (I'd figure he'd reached now), "Mike Tango, Papa Charlie here, how does the waterfall?
", to which he answered, "Papa Charlie, I've never seen anything like this
!!!". Those words got me going even faster (Mike and I trekked at Sg. Chilling before and the falls were huge!!!) , every minute counted...I was tired, my legs were killing me, my thighs collapsing, my T-shirt drench!!! What's worse, my hiking pole malfunctioned (now, how often that happens! But then again, it cost RM25.00...)....I heard the beautiful sound of water gushing...when I cleared the path, THIS WAS WHAT I SAW! --->
AAARGH!!! I looked at Mike and all I said to him was "You have a SICK sense of humour!"
*Grin*... This is it??? In retort, our cheeky friend said "Well, I did say I've never seen anything like this before and I never said it was big!
". I will deal with you later, Mike!
Oh well, after a hearty meal of Nasi Lemak, char siu pow and taking a dip (water was cold and nice!!!) and getting a tan, we took off again now, back to where we came from... but the trip back was easier...as much as I wanted to complain, the short splash and the rest really refreshed me...so, we made our way back to base camp...and back to Kampong Bako
Labels: Vacation; Adventure