Saturday, March 7, 2009

Night Trek Up Gunung Nuang

On the 6th of December 2008, 11 of us headed for Gunung Nuang for a night trek. We first dropped by the Sungai Gabai Waterfall, before heading to the Hutan Lipur Gunung Nuang compound to start our climb. Upon entering the car park area, we each had to pay RM1 to the guardhouse as a entrance fee of sorts. There we met with Loong Twi and ‘Pika’ who would be joining us for the climb.

 

Mount Nuang-81

The start of the trek is marked by a boom gate flanked by two large stone walls which was to prevent people from driving up the trail. Why they would want to do this is anyone’s guess, as the beginning part of the trail was an extremely long gradual road that was already tarred! This road is nicknamed by many to be ‘The Neverending Road’ It is not difficult to climb per se, but the same boring monotonous road that ran for an hour and 15 minutes really does take it’s toll on you mentally, as every time you crest a peak, you see more road ahead of you…

 

Mount Nuang-109

We started trekking at 1615H and by 1630H, our group was gasping for breath and stopped to have a drink. XD

 

Mount Nuang-101

About 25 minutes into the trek, the foliage began to change. We were surrounded by hundreds of bamboo trees. Many had fallen, crisscrossing the trail. It would not have looked out of place in a kungfu movie such as “Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger”.

 

Mount Nuang-111

 

Finally at 1730H, we came to the end of ‘The Neverending Road’ and there, a rest stop was built. Here, there was a river, and technically one could camp here.

 

Mount Nuang-127

From here on, it was typical Malaysian rainforest trekking, with narrow dirt trails surrounded by thick foliage. At 1750H, we came upon the remnants of an small old dam of sorts. It was rotting and falling apart.

Mount Nuang-140

Continue past the dam by sticking to the left of the stream for a few metres then ford the stream and continue the trek. Kem Lolo is just 10 minutes away. Kem Lolo is built around a large rocky river, providing a near perfect place to camp. Kem Pacat further up the trek at approximately 800m ASL has an extremely inconvenient 20 minute walk to the water source making Kem Lolo much more conducive for camping.

 

Mount Nuang-148

We made camp that night at Kem Lolo. At 0100H the next day, everyone was up and about, and we were getting ready to trek to Nuang’s peak. We started off at approximately 0200H. Within 15 minutes, we suffered our first 2 casualties. ‘Pika’ and Connie were the 1st to call it quits and turned back to Lolo Camp. The remaining 11 of us continued the push. At 0338H we made it to Kem Pacat (literally translated it meant Leech Camp). Fortunately, no leeches were in sight. A note of caution though, on the way up, a snake was lying prone across the trail. We were fortunate enough that Loong Twi, being the navy reservist, was extremely alert, and noticed it, thus we were able to avoid stepping onto it, which would have resulted in some serious complications.

 

Mount Nuang-158

Sometime after Kem Pacat, our group had several casualties. Apple Tang developed severe knee pain. Further questioning and examination of the knee led me to suspect it was some sort of meniscus injury. We were undecided as to whether to turn back or not. Finally, it was decided that only 5 of us would continue to the peak: me, my brother Peng Han, Loong Twi, Yiaw Hong and ‘kugua’. At approximately 0550H we reached Nuang’s false peak. From here, we headed left and continued for another 50 minutes before we reached Nuang’s peak at 0640H.

 

Mount Nuang-163

Our original plan was to watch sunrise. Sadly however, it had begun to rain, and fog was rolling in. We couldn’t even see 30 metres ahead. We decided to wait until sunrise before returning down. Meanwhile, it was chilly as hell. I was soaked to the bone, and being dressed in a quick drying nylon jersey, each gust of wind evaporated sweat, causing me to shiver… My Protrek PRG-110T showed a temperature of 16 degrees Celcius. We started a fire with some solid fuel tablets and some twigs which we gathered.

 

Mount Nuang-164

We were fortunate enough that Loong Twi had brought up cup noodles, coffee and tea. We boiled water atop a solid fuel stove and hot instant coffee tasted better than Starbucks Iced-Blended Frappucino that day. At 0740H we snapped some pictures of us at the peak and started our descent down at 0755H.

 

Mount Nuang-177

A worthy thing to note is that there is this strange odd metal structure built atop the peak of Mount Nuang. Why ever did anyone bring up so much heavy iron only to build a structure as ugly as this is anyone’s guess.

 

Mount Nuang-189

At 0830H we made it back to Puncak Pengasih (Lover’s Peak) aka the false peak we came across earlier that morning. You’ll probably have noticed in the picture below that I was drenched and dirty as heck due to the mud and wet soil.

 

Mount Nuang-194

Coming down was rather treacherous, as the ground was slippery. The worst was a segment between Kem Pacat and Kem Lolo. There, the yellow mud caked trail was so smooth and there was absolutely no handholds. Imagine walking down a mossy rock and you’ll get my idea. There was literally no way to stop yourself from falling down at least once. We fared relatively better, as the other group which had turned back earlier, had given up on walking down that segment, and instead just sat down and slid down the slope…

 

Mount Nuang-200

We finally made it back to Kem Lolo just before 1100H and packed up our tents and started back for the park HQ at 1120H.

 

Mount Nuang-204

By 1310H, we reached the Park HQ. There we took a bath, packed all our dirty gear into large garbage bags and snapped a couple of photos before heading back for home.

 

Mount Nuang-214 Mount Nuang-216

It was upon reaching the base camp that i realised that technically, this was our hiking group’s worst outing ever. We had 13 people and only 5 people reached the peak. A success rate of 38.4%. Even our Gunung Tahan trip had a better success rate… In addition two of our hiking members were down with injuries; both Apple Tang and Pui Thye had menisceal injuries and were out of commission for the next few weeks, which explains our mountain hiking hiatus until our next mountain, Gunung Irau in January 2009.

 

See also

Mountains & Hills

Preparing Yourself

Preparations For Gunung Nuang

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