Aug 6, 2009

Cemerong Waterfalls - Gunung Berumbun - Terengganu

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July 24 - 26 2009. We were informed by our organiser 'Lau Lee' that Cemerong Waterfalls would take about 4 hours. On checking on the website, the time taken from the carpark of Hutan Lipur Cemerong or Cemerong Recreation Park to Cemerong Waterfalls would take only 45 mins. Excited that it requires less than 4 hours of trekking that I decided to invite new comers to join us for this trek. We even offered to carry all the food and floor sheets to lighten their load. Tempted by the offer 3 couples and San Kow's (Wong) wife San Yong decide to go along. Even TJ from Ipoh join in the trip.

Due to the long road trip from KL to Kuantan, we decided to stay overnight in Kuant
an before driving about 2 hours to Hutan Lipur Cemerong. Had a delicious seafood dinner at one of the many restaurant here and then help to repack their backpacks optimally to suit the new comers. We retired early to make sure we rested well for tomorrow's climb. We arrive at Hutan Lipur Cemerong around 10 am and started trekking in around 10.20am. Thats when we realised that we underestimate this trail as for the next 7 hours there were river crossing, many steep uphils and downhills. The new comers look really tired. We trek with them at their pace which gave them confidence and finally reaching Gunung Berumbun 3,405 ft (1108m) around 3.30pm. Thats when we told them it was another 1.25 km to Lansir Waterfall and our campsite. The ladies were complaining, well who wouldn't as they have never experience such difficult trek. Well after resting awhile and cracking some jokes, they felt better and continue for another 45 mins before reaching Lansir Waterfall.

As our group numbered about 40+ there weren't enough space to set up the tents. So we decided to camp over the boulders, overlooking the waterfall and valley which turns out to be the best spot. Easy access to water, good clean places to sit and a great view of the valley and in the night full view of the stars. Well after 7 ho
urs of trekking everyone was hungry. So instant noodle to satisfy their stomach and a hot cup of tea. Dinner for tonight consists of 'pan mee' or mee made from flour and eggs with vegetables and anchovies soup for flavoring. As for supper, hot ginger sweet potatoes really make our day and at the height of about 3000 ft it becomes chilly after chatting for a while we all went to bed around 10 pm, very early.

Morning rise and shine, simple bread and peanut butter for breakfast and hot tea. Took some photographs of the wild orchids seen near downstream. We started our descend around 8.30am and our next stop is at Cemerong waterfall with more uphills and downhills to climb and finally reaching the junction at around 1.30pm .This junction is a small river crossing which is about 3 mins to Cemerong Waterfalls. KC and myself reach first and started preparing hot instant noodle and waited for the rest to arrive. By this time they all look really really tired. After resting and eating hot instant noodle they manage to smile and for a moment forgot about their fatigue. We urge them to soak in the cool stream which really made them relax. Then off to view Cemerong Waterfalls which is estimated to be about 1000 ft high or less than 300m, (can someone confirm on that?). Cemerong Waterfall is worth a visit and looking impressive. We took photographs but the sunlight from that angle makes it difficult to set the exposure setting of the camera. After spending a short time we started trekking back to our carpark which is about 45 mins away and back to civilisation.
After taking a good bath and into a new set of clothes we headed to Kemaman to have seafood before driving back home with wonderful memories.

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Aug 1, 2009

Gunung Irau - Cameron Highlands

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Gunung Irau (6,924 ft - 2,110 m) or Mount Irau, sometimes also called mossy forest is situated beside the Perak - Pahang border near Cameron Highlands. At 2,110 m it stands as the 9th highest peak in West Malaysia. Usually a mountain at this height will require about 3 days/2 nights trek but since you can drive up to Cameron Highlands it has become a 4-6 hours trek. We drive up using the Tapah - Cameron Highland Road and drive down using Cameron Highland - Simpang Pulai road. And 'camp' in comfort from the many accommodations available in Cameron Highlands. Even though a 4-6 hours trek might look like a tame affair but don't be mislead by its nickname mossy forest as the trails past through many steep terrains, muddy trails and because of the many 'bonsai' trees with exposed roots makes it difficult and sometimes hands are also required for the trek to Gunung Irau. From the car park (trail head) to the Gunung Irau peak the straight line distance is about 3.5 km but actually may be about 5 km.

Sometimes if space permits you can actually camp around the car park area but water source is not available and you have to bring your own water with extra for cleaning yourself up after the muddy trek. Needless to say it will be muddier when it rains. Things to bring are a good trail shoe, rain jacket, torch light (small led type) if you go in after 12 noon, whistle, first aid kit, snack food, camping gas and stove are optional unless you like to enjoy a hot drink and perhaps instant noodle, about 1.5 liter of water, optional gloves.

This trek will be different as in addition to our usual team of 4, we have 19 friends who were lured to join us especially being told that we would be staying in apartments with hot water and nice warm beds. Together with the rest of other members it was estimated around 60 people trek up to Gunung Irau. The trail will be noticeable with so many trekkers but for safety reasons the lead group laid small pieces of paper (biodegradable) along the way to mark the trail. As experience shows sometimes people due to tiredness may sometimes end up trekking the wrong trail. As early from 7 am people were trekking in, so as to avoid 'trekkers jam' (traffic) so you can see people walking in and out from Gunung Irau. Today's weather was sunny, the air was cool and the trek was fairly dry and clean except for some muddy paths.

As we started trekking in, you can see the excitement for newcomers with much anticipation and pace but for our regulars we just took our time and especially with lots of photographs. Man Tuck (Puchong) and TJ Tan (Ipoh) were photography enthusiasts and were having a field day. After about 1 hour, hah!.... you start to see tired faces and muddy shoes, we reach baby Irau after 2 hours. Another less than 1 km to Gunung Irau peak which will take about 45 mins. For new comers they started to complain about 'pain', 'my arms and legs are tired', 'why so long havent reach yet', 'how far more', 'look my hands and feet are shaking' and the best 'I dont want to go anymore'.

Now is the time to motivate them to go another 1 hour of trekking. You have come so far and the peak is yet so near, 'don't give up', 'we will wait for you', 'take your time its still early'. You can really see the look on their face. Most of them continue but for the few they will wait for us on the return trek but having doubts about them waiting which I later confirmed that they trek back to the car park when we continue to Gunung Irau peak.

Upon reaching the peak, it was already crowded but nevertheless we still found a good spot to make a hot cup of tea and some biscuits to go. Practically everyone was taking photos with the movable sign (Welcome To Gunung Irau 2110 m). Once we took enough pictures and rested enough and started descending to the car park. Along the way you could see 'new trekkers' applying counter pain ointment to their muscles with hint of cramps coming. Finally to the carpark around 4.00 pm and like most mountainous regions it will get misty and cold. We wash off the mud and dirt (spare water for this purpose) before getting into our cars and back to our comfortable 'camps' with hot water waiting for us.

One of the best meal you can have among friends is the hot steam boat in cool and cold Cameron Highlands prepared by the ladies. After our satisfying dinner we went to the night market in Brinchang where food, vegetables, fruits, clothings etc. are available. We laze around sipping hot chinese tea and chat till bedtime. Breakfast in one of the many coffee shops and off to buy vegetables and a leisurely drive back home to hustle and bustle of city living but with good weekend holiday. (our next stop in July to Cemerong Waterfall in Trengganu)

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