Saturday, June 4, 2011

Gunung Gading summit hike - part 2 (June 2011)

On our way up, it started to rain just a few hundred meters before we reached the summit. Thanks to heavy tree cover however, the ground stayed relatively dry so we weren’t worried about slippery rocks etc. We could hear the thundering roar of heavy rain not very far off and at first, it sounded like the storm was fast approaching so we quickened our pace, muscles sore from over exertion. But then the sun suddenly came out and the loud roar started to die off, much to our relief!

At about the 3.7km mark, the steep climb eases into a more flat, easy walk. We reached the summit at exactly 2:19pm, having started the climb (from Waterfall 7) at a quarter past twelve. 2 hours 9 minutes, not too bad considering the several stops we made to rest and recharge.

After resting for about 15 minutes, we started making our way down. The rain had completely stopped and the late afternoon sun bathed the jungle in a warm yellow light. There was also a light mist in the air and sunlight filtering through the trees created shafts of light that illuminated the forest floor. It was really beautiful!

The hike down was fast; we made only one stop and it took us 1 hour 20 minutes to reach Waterfall 7. Even though it was already quite late, we decided to go for a dip to cool off, rest and relax. The water was so cool and refreshing! We also totally used up all of our drinking water by that point so had to refill at the waterfall.

The hike down from the summit was really tough on my legs. After dipping and resting at waterfall 7, the pain really started to kick on the walk back to park HQ. For nearly an hour, I was walking like I had wooden legs. Without the piece of wood I used as a walking stick, I probably would have had to crawl my way out! 

My left thigh muscles which I had strained on a previous trek two weeks ago were hurting but not as bad as my right hamstring tendon which started hurting on the way down to Waterfall 7. By the time I got to my car in the parking lot, I could barely bend my right knee!

In less than 2 weeks, I’ll be leaving for Mulu National Park where I’ll be joining a group of friends to trek up Mount Mulu. At 2376m it is more than 2.5 times the height of Gunung Gading. I’m a little worried. Will my muscles heal in time before then? I hear the the climb up to the summit is a gruelling task. The entire journey totals 48 kilometres (24km each way)!

I’ll just have to hope for the best! But no more training, just rest and relaxation from now till Mulu! :)

Part 1:

Here are photos taken during the hike down:

After the rain, there was a light mist in the air and sunlight streaming through the tree canopy created beautiful light shafts that illuminated the jungle.

The jungle bathed in warm light from the late afternoon sun.

When a huge tree falls, it often takes down a few other smaller trees close to it. Sometimes the trees fall right across a trail. The park rangers then have to clear the trail by cutting up the fallen trees.

Orchids growing on rocks at the waterfalls. Coelogyne species.

There are three or four waterfalls in this area, collectively known as "Waterfall 7."

Beautiful light show at Waterfall 7. Look at that shaft of light in the first pic! You almost expect an alien entity being beamed down like in a cheesy sci-fi movie haha.

The shafts of light are created by sunlight filtering through foliage and illuminating waterfall mist. We went dipping here after the tiring summit trek. It was so relaxing to just lie on the rocks, cool mountain water lapping at our toes, watching the lightshow put on by nature.

This small horned frog is sporting a pair of cool shades! Looking like a dead brown leaf on the forest floor, it was perfectly camouflaged among the leaf litter. Would have missed it if it weren't for its sporty armanis standing out against the dull, dry earth. This one measures only about 2 inches long and has a pointy snout. Probably Megophrys nasuta. Horned frogs can grow to several inches long and feed on scorpions and other invertebrates.


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