By Lily Ho
Since I started the hiking habit in Malaysia in 2014, I have been taught that there are 12 mountains at/above 7,000 feet in Malaysia, termed as G12. There are also 7 mountains at/above 7,000 feet in Peninsular Malaysia, termed as G7, which are worth to be explored too. It sounds like a wonderful challenge, but I have never had the wishful thinking to attempt a climb of each mountain. This is despite organising a climb to the seventh highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia, G7 Gunung Ulu Sepat, two months ago.
G7 Gunung Ulu Sepat was climbed by 23 members (14 were from Singapore) was a wonderful project to me. According to our guide, G7 is the easiest climb compared to other six mountains. That doesn’t mean there weren’t any challenges that would need to be overcome on this trip.
A close hiking friend of mine gave me a ring saying that his friend is organising a day hike to G3 Gunung Yong Belar and asked whether I was interested. Wow! Suddenly this legendary G3 is so near to me, if I were bold and daring enough to take the challenge and say one word, “Yes,” I could experience something amazing.
Hesitating whether I was fit enough to join, I was disappointed by the subsequent call that the trip is cancelled due to an unforeseen issue. Oh no! My legendary G3 lady was suddenly to be apart from me. For a moment, I could not accept the fact that I had lost the chance to embrace her. I could not be reconciled. I had to do something.
This is how the G3 experience came about. Together my friend and I went through all of the plans we would need to make to ensure that this would be an exciting experience for everyone involved. I would discover my G7 experiences would help me very much with this trip planning.
To our surprise, the response was overwhelming. Many are fresh faces. Our itinerary is simple:-
8-8.30pm: gather at Tesco Puchong & set off
11-11.30pm: check in, rest & sleep
5.30am: wash up, wrap up, breakfast & check out7am: meet at temple (关帝庙）to move to trailhead with 4WD
7am: meet at temple (关帝庙）to move to trailhead with 4WD
8am: reach trailhead & starts trek
12pm: must reach Kem Kasut to prepare summit to peak
1.30pm: summit, lunch & group photo
2pm: descend back to trailhead
5-6pm: reach trailhead
7pm: back to temple via 4WD
8pm: wash up at temple
8.30pm: dinner at temple & drive back to KL
The night before, we were gathering at the meeting point Puchong Tesco to drive up to a condominium located nearby the trailhead to check in and take a rest. We booked two units: one is kept for the old hiking buddies, and another unit is for the new members which we shall know each other in the next day.
The next day we got up pretty early to prepare ourselves and drove down to a small pasar near the temple to take wantan mee as our breakfast. Some of the members also order for the lunch pack.
At 7am sharp, everyone leaves to meet at temple (关帝庙) and wait for the 4WDs. I had ordered two 4WD for the team to reach the trailhead. The trail condition is rough and it took us at approximately one hour to reach the trailhead. To hike Gunung Yong Belar, there are two trails: the old trail from the popular ‘big pipe’ and the new trail from the ‘farm.’ We are lucky enough to set our trailhead from this farm. There were a simple briefing conducted by KY before we starts our hike, where basically we are required to reach Kem Kasut by 12.00pm.
We took some photos in the farm before starting our hike at 8.00am. The weather is good, which means the trail is not so muddy. Most were on schedule due to their fitness thanks to their trail running or some other kind of sports. We reached a false peak before coming to Kem Tudung Periuk. The trail is not difficult – just some up and down with a few bearable steep portions, so there is no stress to reach our first stop.
We felt delighted to reach here before the targeted time at 11am. KY was so happy and suggested we take a short break before we proceed to Kem Kasut. Some of the members took a rest and ate some snacks to replenish their bodies, while some decided to move on to Kem Kasut to take a proper rest by then. And I decided to follow the latter group.
I found it interesting when we saw the real “Tudung” and “Periuk” hanging in this camp. Who took all the troubles to decorate an unknown place to become a popular camp point?
The challenge started from Kem Tudung Periuk to Kem Kasut as the terrain turned steep. The speed became pretty slow and eventually a point came where I had to totally stop myself and request to have a short break. When tI ook out some chocolates to replenish, I aslo asked how far it would be to reach Kem Kasut.
The reply is, “I do not know how far to reach, but I know if you keep sitting here, you will not reach the Kem before the cut off time.”
This sentence really woke me up despite my body being in an exhausted condition. I decided to stand up and walk slowly. Not long after that the mossy forest started appear in front our eyes. It is an encouragement to us as it signals we have almost reached our next stop. I took the opportunity to snap a few photos as I think the memories are more important than time competition.
The trail condition is better at the mossy forest. I looked at the watch: it is 11.40am, I was so eager to reach Kem Kasut by then, I must reach before the cut off time and don’t want to miss this G3. So I keep on walking and rushed and asked took how long to reach. Yeah… this is a common question in hiking and the answer you can expect is, “Almost.” Haha!
Finally, I reached Kem Kasut at 11.50am and the majority of the hikers were already resting there, taking some snacks before we get ready to reach the peak. To my surprise, there are real “kasut” hanging in this Kem Kasut. I really admire the hikers’ effort in making the camp be popular.
After half an hour of rest, it’s time we pack ourselves to proceed to the peak. My body was a bit unfit, so I am quite worried, but what touches me is my besties MeiSee, Pink, SiongOhh, and my hubby decide to walk together with me at a comfortable pace. I know they can walk faster, and I told them not wait for me. In return, they said its ok as it is not a competition. This is called friendship, isn’t it?
It took an hour to reach the peak at 1pm or so. With my first step onto the peak, I saw a pair of warm hands offering homemade cake to me. It is Eddie, I felt so sweet. He was smiling and said I should take some sweet food to reboot my body. My tiredness is gone as soon as I saw the view at the peak.
I saw everyone resting under the tree busy in settling their lunch, so I started my usual style to ‘bo bek bo bek’ with everyone. KY and Yong are busy cooking Maggie Mee and hot coffee for us and they are so warm. So I took some little time to take few photos with my bff MeiSee & Pink. Think back, this is the only photo that three of us took together.
Around 2pm, we took a few precious group photos before packing to descend. On the way back from the peak to Kem Kasut and Kem Tudung Periuk is easy. The terrain from Kem Tudung Periuk, however is exhausting as we need to walk up and down again. It reminds me of the Pine Tree Trail,or something like the double loop of Pine Tree Trail. I appreciated KY and William buddying up with me when descending.
When nearing the trailhead, I “saw” an English man wearing a hiking hat. He is wearing looks like from a different century. I was following his steps for awhile, but I found he was walking off the trail to the cliff and that was enough for me. I shuddered at that moment, especially the forest has started turn into dark at 5.00pm. William suggested to let KY walk in front of me, but I insisted to walk as usual as if nothing happened. Not long after walking with the “Englishman”, we have reached the trailhead at 5.30pm.
I have long heard about G7 in Peninsular Malaysia, and thanks to KY’s offering, I have had the opportunity to hike Yong Belar. Hiking and reaching the peak is one thing, but what I appreciate more is to know more friends. The fun and memories are something I will never forget..