Lex Petros: Through Storm Culverts and A Leech-Infested River

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Through Storm Culverts and A Leech-Infested River

From left: Mike Tjoa, Me, Jennifer Lee, Asther Lau, Simon, Francis Tan and Adeline Lew

Saturday, 24.11.2007: Barely two weeks after trekking through the jungles in East Malaysia's Bako National Park in Sarawak, I found myself too eager to volunteer for another trek. This time, to Gombank, specifically, Sg. Pisang (Banana Falls), known for its famous leech infested waters and a path trough a giant storm drain. For most novice hikers, this would be a suitable trail to test out their mettle. For me, this would be the easiest one so far, compared to the Chilling Falls Trek in Kuala Kubu Baru and the Tajoh Falls in Bako, Sawarak.

Left to right: Mike ascertaining our route vie GPS whilst the others took it easy
and me with my trusty hiking pole...

How to get there:
  • From PJ: Take the LDP (Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong) towards Batu Caves/ Kuantan (Middle Ring Road 2). Pass Batu Caves and keep left. Look for the road towards Sg. Pusu and International Islamic University, Gombak, on the way to Genting Highlands/ Karak. Just before toll booth, turn left. Once you clear the curve, keep left and just go straight all the way until you see a sign which reads Alang Sedayu. You will come to a narrow road which goes up to a pump station, at a dead end. Just park your car on the side and proceed to the river trail...that's Sg. Pisang

  • Then, once you get into the water. The falls are located upstream, about 1 kilometer from the starting point, near the pump house.
  • Just follow the water upstream and about 200 meters later, you'll be face to face with 2 huge storm drains, about 6 meters in diameter each. Go through them. The walk through the storm drain is about 100 meters (you can choose to wad through the water or take the easy way by the sides)
  • Follow the trail and approximately 800 meters and you will hear the distinct sound of water crashing. Congratulations! You've found the falls! (the water is clean but not deep...but beware of leeches)

The falls are about 12 meters tall, with a small 'waddle pool' at the bottom, but the crashing of water produces one hell of a natural fan breeze. Stay at the bottom too long and you'd freeze. Bottom: We chanced upon several climbers who allowed us to try repelling down the falls.

When we reached the falls, we found a few climbers repelling down the falls. Jennifer was the first one to ask if she could try doing so. Followed by Simon, Mike and Adeline. Though prompted by Francis, I was in no hurry to test my skills at negotiating heights and absailing. For lunch, "sumptous" char siew pows and chicken pows.


After eating, Francis and I decided to let nature's way of providing a soothing message. All anyone had to do was stand below the crashing water... the thumping force was really good on our backs and shoulders, not mentioning I nearly let the water wash my shades away...

The dip was really refreshing and any wariness of leeches and other parasites were clearly distracted from our minds. Whilst the others took their turns to absail down the falls, I spent some time in the water, like a little kid, building my damn with river rocks and carving a perfect triangle from the river stones.

We spent a good plus before heading back to our cars...only to find out that a 'few lucky ones' had become an involuntary blood donor.

As everyone was changing, we heard Adeline sheepishly going... "Asther, I need help!" ...He he he....One of the nasty blood suckers did manage to get one of us after all. Solution, an amber cigarette and oxide spray applied after burning the sucker off. (It's ok la least you gave me a chance to get a live one on film) *grin*.

Actually, I got "bitten"too, on the left foot, between the 2nd & 3rd toes...but looked like the tiny sucker had dropped off before I could take a pic of it. (in fact, I didn't know I got sucked) Simon had got one on his shin too, but that was a tiny sucker (no pics, sorry).

For some reason, I was bushed, even though this trek was child's play. So, we went back to Francis' place where I found my cozy corner in his living room and crashed before dinner...

Later, my observant friends commented on my ability to sleep next to an open balcony with the sun on my face... now you can sleep anywhere.

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Wow.. this looks fun.... gonna make a trip there.

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