Wednesday, September 16

Gunung Ledang - Mt. Ophir

Yes! We went to Gunung Ledang and despite everything, we managed to get to the top as well! As in all "expedition" stories where a lot of people say they are coming, in the end for various reasons it was just the two of us, Marian and I that is. Oh well, you could say the three of us because I swear he fondles his new iPhone 3Gs more than ... erm, he listens to me!
This trip had two purposes, other than just going in the hills, yay!!: a) to test our new boots, and b) to introduce urban friends to the art (and it is an art, people!) of camping. Point b) having failed as mentioned, we were down to point a) only. And test our boots we did. And our patience. Before we go on I want to say that Marian was in charge of planning this trip - how we get there, where we camp, when we trek, etc.

Day 1
We left home at around 6:30 am and finally left JB at around 9:30 am. We took the bus to Segamat from Larkin, and amazingly, it started almost on time. The bus ride took about 3 hours during which time I finished "The Kite Runner" which I had just started. I get a lot of negative points for this because a) I had tears flowing down my cheeks and booger marks on my pants (figure it out how it got there) for the entire bus ride, and b) I didn't have anything else to read for the entire trip (except food wrapping, but i've read that on previous trips so there are no surprises there, baby!)

From Segamat we took another bus towards Muar and ask the driver to drop as at Gunung Ledang. Marian volunteers that we should be there soon because there are about 5-6 km. After 40 minutes or so he takes out the map for the first time since he had started to plan. I gasp "what do you mean there's a 3 km dirt road from where the bus leaves us?!" at which point Marian quickly hides the map away. Ah well, to make a very long story short, the bus driver left us at the entrance to Gunung Ledang Resort (Pintu A - or gate A) which was about 1 km asphalt from the main road. After we got to the resort, we found out that we were supposed to be at the other entrance, Pintu B, which involved either a) a strong right turn through the palm tree forest (it had No trespassing! signs with one stick figure shooting another) or b) going back to the main road, walking for 2 km on it, reaching Pintu B and then going for 3 km on the dirt road. We toyed with option a) for a while including a stop in the palm tree forest to have a good refreshing fight, and then decided to try our boots on asphalt.

I know this is a picture of my back, but can you see that I am fuming? I calmed down in the end because last time when I did the planning I DID lead us to an uncrossable river.

And below is the palm tree forest.

We finally got to the Lagenda trail entrance at around 4pm. To make a long story short, the rangers told us that camping is STRICTLY prohibited at CP4 where we planned to camp. Instead, we camped at the foot of the mountain, near a creek.

We settled all our debts: 140 RM for the guide omg omg, 70 RM for the car that would take us back to Segamat (for this money i would have walked the 5-6 km except that in reality they were FORTY km), 20 RM per head for camping, 40 RM deposit for the trash etc etc. All in all the fabulous sum of 304 RM. We only had 300 RM so Marian gave the guide 2 SGD. By 5 pm the tent was up and i brewed us each some cup noodles.

By 6:30 pm dinner was ready - mashed potatoes with salad - so we stuffed our faces and retired for the night.

Marian stayed outside to read while i killed time in the tent.

Guess who's the tidiest walker ...

Day 2
This story is actually not very long... We woke up at 06:30 am to pack up camp. Declared everything we were taking on the mountain (including underwear) at the ranger's office, got a little briefing from one of the rangers - he said the trek took 6 hours to go up and 4 hours to come down - but that generally smaller groups made it faster, and then we were off.
We managed to reach the summit and be down in 5:40 hours to the dismay of our guide who was coming down with a cold - he had to stop from time to time to cough his lungs out. The trek was ok, with some steeper portions but very tamed with ladders and ropes.

Reached a cave (Goat cave i think) which is again very tamed with plenty of ladders and ropes.

Then a sequence of rock faces the last of which was the most serious.

The last rock face has maybe five meters of vertical wall and then about 6 more of a slab.
Very nice views and at the top you reach a bonsai forest.

Next up was Botak Hill (Bald hill - i know because there's a food chain here called Botak Jones) which, you got it, was totally bald.

Some more boulders, some more rocks and we were on the summit. No exciting views because everything was super fogged.

Marian as I said, was busy with his new iPhone.

And down we went. I spotted a lot of plants and insects and animals this time!

Nepenthes rafflesiana - giant raffles pitcher plant:


Unknown phallic flower Ginger flower (thanks doris!):


Unknown bug

Malyasian horned frog:

On our very fast descent we met some singaporeans that were descending also. We had not met them on the way up and one girl did say that they had camped but I did not ask how come (too shy). The rangers again stated after we asked that you cannot camp, so i don't know the story of this. Ah well ... at least the mountain is super clean! Chop chop again and we were back in Singapore by 7pm eating at Botak Jones of course!

The rest of the pictures, as usual, are here.


dor said...

phallic flower is ginger flower! :)

ah well..u noe...guys and their tech stuff.. (but if I had an iphone 3GS i think i would be pinching it more than I pinch pinchers)

claudia said...

THANK YOU for the name! As for the iphone, there will be some protocols in place soon, i means it!!

Robin said...

how many bus timings are there at larkin to segamat?
thanks alot!