You have no idea where I came from / We have no idea where we’re going / Lodged in life / Like branches in a river/ Flowing downstream / Caught in the current / I carry you / You’ll carry me / That’s how it could be / Don’t you know me? / Don’t you know me by now? – Street Poet, Before Sunrise
Dawn distinguishes itself from day with the presence of a weak day of light while the sun is still below its horizon. Some look to the horizon in anticipation for a new day, excited with the hopes that are promised. Yet I wonder if the burdens of the night can really simply dissipate with the arrival of a new day.
You would really love to move forward, but the melancholy strains of yesterday sometimes hold us back. Nothing but the sight of a sunrise will bring the restless spirit into a more congenial level.
“You will be in luck if you can see the sunrise on your first visit to Broga Hill,” someone in my team remarked. I couldn’t agree more as I think back in bemusement on my very first visit to this old battleground between the Japanese and British soldiers.
As part of Trek For Hope’s training hike, the 26 members of our team departed Singapore on a late coach to Semenyih, where Broga Hill is situated.
0030 – Depart on a coach from Woodland MRT station
0530 – Reached Semenyih, breakfast at MacDonalds
0600 – Start of Hike
0730 – Summit Broga Hill
0800 – Onward to Gunung Tok Wan
0945 – Summit Gunung tok Wan
1000 – Start of Descent
1200 – Reached the foot of Broga Hill
We trekked in darkness for the first 30 minutes under the canopy of trees. There is already a steady stream of hikers coming in search of the sunrise. The track ahead is almost fully lit up with the lights from the head torches of the hikers alongside us. Having said that, it is important to bring one’s own torch, especially when it comes to hiking in the dark or early hours.
Shaped like a dragon’s back, there are 3 peaks at Broga Hill where one can view the sunrise. The 3rd peak (Broga Hill’s highest point) is a rather small area and views are usually blocked by trees and vegetation. The first peak is always crowded as it is a mixture of hikers and casual visitors who just wanted to view the sunrise (with no intention of making the rest of the hike). We trekked on to the 2nd peak which is just about another 15 minutes away.
Like a peacock who has just awaken from its sleep, the sun took its time to reveal itself to us on this morning. The blue and purple twilight soon became a palette of radiance with streaks of red, pink, and orange slowly blending through. The town of Semenyih in the background is illuminated by nature and it is beautiful.
The sun then crept out, hesitant at first, but at last unveiling itself like the feather eye of a proud peacock, saving the very best for last. The glow of the sun warms the skin, like an instant boost of adrenaline to the soul – one can live it up and face the day bravely.
It was a morning with a clear and beautiful sky, swaying lalangs in the fields, and smiling faces everywhere. Broga Hill has turned into a wonderful playground for hikers, both young and old, and it was very much unlike the muddied state of chaos I was here the first time.
If I were to describe Broga Hill as a overly commercialised shopping mall, then Gunung Tok Wan must be an abandoned and forgotten amusement park facility you find in some parts of the world.
Reportedly discovered by a group of prison officers from Kajang as recent as 2010, the starting trail to Gunung Tok Wan is only a stone’s throw way from the Broga Hill’s 3rd peak. It was just our group and a small group of 3 Malaysian hikers that ventured in that direction this day. It was like a leaf out of Alice In Wonderland where Alice departed from the beautiful garden and followed a ghostly trail leading to the rabbit’s hole.
Standing at a height of 675 masl (compared with Broga Hill’s 400m), you will be disappointed if you are expecting to find Marmoreal (the beautiful pearly white castle of the White Queen) at the end of the journey. The summit at Gunung Tok Wan looked more like one has wandered into Underland with its surrounding tall trees and a thick blanket of scattered dead leaves.
The distance to the peak of Gunung Tok Wan from Broga Hill is 3km, but one has to overcome a series of ascending and descending hilly terrains to reach the top. If you are up for a good workout in nature, the trail to Gunung Tok Wan is the perfect route for you!
Like my lesson learnt during my Gunung Angsi’s climb last week, there is much to appreciate in the open arms of Mother Nature. One just has to slow down, pause, and observe.
Be sure to follow Travelled Path’s Instagram account for all of the sights found within Gunung Tok Wan.
The route to Broga Hill and Tok Wan can be likened to Alice’s journey to Wonderland. When we are kids, we look into the world with unprejudiced eyes. We are always in a world where the sun is always rosy and people are always smiling. Through our inevitable fall through the rabbit hole as we grow up, the rose colored glasses broke. We discover that Wonderland has turned into Underland (Broga into Tok Wan).
We will walk with creatures, some loving and some treacherous. We soon learn that “everyone is mad out there”. But upon reaching the peak of Tok Wan after an arduous journey, we can find ourselves strengthened, both body and soul. Like Alice, we will all grow up.
“I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Read about our other visits to Broga Hill:
Life’s Little Inconveniences On a Hill named Broga (Broga Hill, Malaysia)
Broga Hill with the Family by Nicolas Chan