Has this ever happened to you?
Something happens during your routine and there are so many twists and turns that you feel almost lost. Like an easy drive home from work can be disrupted by a car accident which gets you stuck in the traffic for hours. How about planning to get settled down at the end of the day to read a book, only to be disrupted by a baby’s crying? You try to get a quick something to eat and the phone rings insistently or an email that pops up in your mobile which comes with the heading “Urgent?”
You are not alone.
Life’s surprises can pop out, disrupt and frustrate you in any circumstance, even during the simplest of routines.
That perfectly describes my weekend hike to Broga Hill. It’s a popular hiking spot located in Broga, Semenyih which is about 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. The 26 of us from the SG Trekking Group left at 2am from the Woodlands MRT station in search of a sunrise from scenic hike which was termed “Easy” even for beginners.
We cleared both custom checkpoints in Woodlands and Johor in less than 30 minutes and I thought that it is going to be a smooth and easy accomplishment.
Broga Hill is frequented by casual hikers because of its location on the edge of the Titwangsa Range. It is approximately 400m in altitude and takes its name from the local river, which was actually named after the Buragas, a mythical beast that once called this area home.
The hill is unique as it is rather devoid of trees, which is an uncommon sight amongst tropical rainforests. Remnants of burnt out tree trunks indicate that the area may have been ravaged by a forest fire and the trees did not regrow. It offers a good view of the surrounding area and has become a popular picnic and photography spot.
Broga Hill is mentioned as a place where rebels, who were backed by the British, fought against the Japanese during World War II. Because of this, some say that the town is haunted by those who were massacred by the Imperial Japanese Army. It is easy to see why this belief has taken hold because it is remarkable that there are very few trees. Traces of a forest fire remain that was so devastating that the forest never grew back.
Nature’s loss is our gain, however, because it is a beautiful picnic spot. An easy hike and a beautiful sunrise would be the perfect beginning to the day. We were greeted with a downpour instead.
The rain must have started somewhere during the long journey when we were sound asleep on the bus. We reached the Broga town limits at 7am, and with the pouring rain, any hope of catching the sunrise soon evaporated.
The carpark at the foot of the hill was crowded with hundreds of eager hikers all geared up for the hike. There was a sense of disappointment in the air. In spite of all this, I could still see many people braving the rain, not to be deterred, to continue the hike to achieve what they came here to enjoy.
Underneath the canopy, the upcoming hike didn’t seem like it would be so difficult. What’s a little rain, after all? Remember, however, that there are no trees near the top of the hike, which means that all of that rain water must wash down the hill without interruption. It was a little wet and a little messy, but not too difficult when first starting out.
The muddy paths posed a big challenge to all hikers less than 20 minutes into the hike.
The chunky mud were stuck in the boots making it very heavy for hikers to lift their legs and take the next step. Hikers were trying their best to scrap off the mud from their boots with whatever branch or rock they can find. We can see some hikers who started the journey together with us, shook their head and turned back.
Some have described Broga as a dragon. That might be accurate on a regular day, but today it was more like a waterslide. There are three unique climbs that must be accomplished in order to achieve success and only a few small ropes are installed to help climb the most difficult sections.
In the middle of a downpour, however, every section becomes a difficult section. This caused several long waits as everyone needed to use the ropes in order to climb. We did finally reach the first peak after 30 minutes.
The view that waited for us there may not have been a sunrise, but it was beautiful in its own right. A perfect moment, there in the haze of the falling rain. It may have whitewashed the lalang fields, but still wonderful to see nonetheless.
As we continued on toward the second peak, the lalang field turned into a flat bed of grass as hikers who were descending from the top were sliding down. Fun on a gorgeous day perhaps, but this easy terrain turned into a hiker’s nightmare and you can soon see a lot of people giving up at this point.
I managed to get a good shot at the “untampered” lalang field off the main trek though.
There was no slowing down once the final peak was in sight. The route to the final peak was more forested and there were a couple of huge rocks to overcome. These are not to be messed with on good days, but especially avoid them if you are just beginning to hike in wet weather conditions.
Coming down was no easy task too. One wrong step would land you on the butt sliding down the slippery and muddy terrain. It would make you look like you have just emerged from a mud wrestling match!
To show the gravity of this matter, I learned later that 2 female hikers had injured themselves during the hike and had to be rescued by 6 firemen and 1 ambulance standing by (http://www.nst.com.my/node/33004)
What seems to be a normal easy hike turned out to be a challenge and to others, a day in the hospital.
How do you deal with life’s little twists and turns? Do you turn back at the first sign of obstacle, leaving yourself frustrated and felt that you have travelled 400km for nothing? Or do you bite your teeth with grittiness and press on?
Meeting new people, helping each other to overcome obstacles, and forging new friendships along the way are a great reward in themselves. The chance to see some amazing views is simply another reward on top of that!
Life will be inconvenient. Some days may feel perfect and you will get to see a beautiful sunrise at the summit. Then there are days when you will get all wet and muddy. Your butt might be bruised.
On this day, on a hill name Broga, I was glad to have chosen the 2nd option.
How to Get to Broga Hill?
- You must first get to Jalan Semenyih. 333km from Singapore or approximately 4hours drive. If you are taking the journey on your own, then you’ll need to reach Kajang Town.
- Once you reach Kajang Town, you will continue on straight. Go through SKVE and then take the exit after the second toll.
- Continue on Kajang Seremban Highway and exit toward Jalan Bangi. Make a right to turn to Jalan Semenyih.
- Continue along Jalan Semenyih until you see the signboard for Broga. Look for a Petronas fueling station that is right opposite of a T-junction. Turn left and cotinue on toward Nottingham Campus. It will be on your left.
- As you progress, you will reach a rabbit farm. There you will see the entrance to Broga Hill opposite of the farm. There is a small parking charge.