Saturday, June 20, 2009

The climb up Mount Batukaru

When I saw the poster of Mount Batukaru hanging under the Lumbung, I knew I had to climb it. It would be good training for me too because I am going to climb Gunung Kinabalu in July. I didn't really think what would happen (like Eat First Think Later, it's a Do First Suffer Later hahaha) up there. What bad can the climb be?

The night before the climb Wayan, had his family chiropractor over to massage his leg. He mentions that he has not climbed Batukaru for a year because of his injured ankle. He wanted to climb this time because the temple at the peak was refurbished and he really wanted to visit and pray.

I took this at the base Batukaru. There is a huge temple at the foothill.

There were 5 of us including myself. Wayan my host, Kok my buddy, Made our porter and Pak Susi our guide. We started at 7am at the foothill. I was excited! My adrenaline was pumping! We trekked about 250m into the jungle and reached a river. Rocks… wet rocks. Ironic because I slipped and my foot was in the water. My right shoe was under water. Wet and soggy. There goes my excitement. Blahh..

Part of the river. I took this on the way back. If you noticed, the picture is a little blur. The weather was so cold up at the peak that it was condensing my camera lens when we reached to high temperature.

At that moment, I did have a split second of "chicken out" moment. It was just 250m from the starting point. I fell. It was actually a bad omen. My ankle did feel weird, but it wasn't least not yet. I guess my ego and stubbornness got the bigger of me (I knew it will be dangerous if my leg plays up.. but...) and I decided to shut up and continue trekking. Who would want to wake up early, prepare and then turn back after a 250m from the starting point?

Cute brown mushrooms on the ground. It was actually tiring to stop to take pictures. I end up keeping my camera and just trek. Didn't manage to take a lot of pictures.

It took us 3 hours to reach the first stop. On the way up, Wayan warned us not to look up, or down. Because the sight of the steep mud and root treks might lower our determination to climb to the top. Wayan also said never ever say that "It's too hard. I can't do it. Are we there yet". If we really wanted to say and give up... "say it to yourself, not out loud". He also thought me to listen. If I hear machines (bikes and cars) and birds, we are still at the bottom. The sound of birds change, were are near middle and the top.

Leach on Kok's foot. There were plenty of them. We had to take 2 minutes breaks every 30 minutes just to check if any were crawling up the shoes and socks. When I trekked I kept looking at the ground just to make sure I don't get leached. There was one part of the trek where I saw about 4 of them vertically standing from a leaf from the ground.. (who says leaches only hangs from leafs?) scary shit because I almost brushed against them. But so many of them, it's hard to avoid all. I was blood sucked on the way down, with one under my socks. ...the mark is actually on my foot now.

Wayan said the dreadful part of the climb was over when we rested. I was relieved. Haha! We had our packed lunch. Nasi goreng seafood never tasted so nice when it was cold.

We continued to trek to the second stop. I lead and it was easy peasy. We reached the second stop in 45 minutes and that really boosted my confidence. I though the remaining trek up as this easy.

Boyyyy was I wrong. Damn wrong.

I noticed that not only the sound of birds change, the growth is different as well. This little berry grass was growing all over the ground at the second stop. The temperature was lower here.

The trek only got harder and at a few areas, we practically had to hug trees to cross over to the path. Let go and you will fall to your death.

It started drizzling a little after that. Pak Susi Kok and I stopped to wait for Wayan and Made because Made was carrying the waterproof tarp. Thank god for the canopy of trees, because much of the rain water did not reach us. We were lucky the rain only lasted 10 to 15 minutes and we didn't have to wait out the rain under the tarp. It started to get cold. The wind chilled my skin when we stop to rest.

The mists drifted in and shorten our vision. Wayan told us to trek on ahead while he accompanies Made. (But after the trek, Wayan actually told me his leg was in pain and he used Made as an excuse to slow down. That way Kok and I will still have the mental strength to trek on.)

Finally the third stop! I lost track of time but I think it was 2pm or so. We rested a while. Made unpacked a little and took this burner out to make coffee.

It took quite long to boil the water. The burner used this as the fuel. No idea was it was but the purple liquid was highly flammable.

Resting for too long isn't good for me. I started thinking negative. The trek will only get harder. When will we reach? Are we there yet? Will the trek get easier? I think Wayan noticed (because I was quiet, I'm usually the noisy chatty one hehe) and tried distracting me.

He pointed out the water droplets on spider webs around the area. "You have to take this. This will turn out nice". I was so tired that I couldn't manage to hold my camera still for the shot.

Pak Susi, Kok and I continued our climb up.

The trek wasn't as rooty as the first part of the climb but I was getting tired. I ate all my chocolates and couldn't find my other power bars. I had little motivation to climb and really just wanted everyone to disappear so I can shout "ARGHHH I'm so freaking tired!" but I can't because if I did, (I remembered what Wayan said) I would make Pak Susi and Kok feel tired as well... and my ankle was beginning to hurt.

Cadbury milk fruit and nut chocolate bar have never tasted this yummy and healthy and not fattening in my life! HAHAHA!

We took a break an hour later. Pak Susi called out to Wayan and Made (syn). No syn ack. We were far ahead so we needed to stop and regroup. Instead of thinking negative again, I took out my camera and started taking pictures.

Young fern around the area. We encountered a freaking thick fern growth nearing the peak. We were stepping on chopped and burnt ferns. To our left and right were ferns too. The trek was a bit like walking on sponge because the layer of dead ferns were so thick! I wanted to ask about the whole fern trek because I didn't feel right walking on it. My gut was right, and I was lucky I kept the questions until after the trek. I asked Wayan after the climb about this trek. Wayan said "It's ferns and air. There's nothing below.". *glups* That's how strong ferns can be if you have a thick thick layer of them.

Pak Susi knew Kok and I are tired. He was too... but he said "It's a short way up from where we were at. Another 30 minutes". That motivated me to climb but one thing he said which was suppose to motivate me did the opposite. He told me I had strong feet. I had no idea what he was talking about until it hit me a little while later. My ankle! It was bad. Bad because what kept me going was the fact that I have forgotten all about my ankle.

45 minutes later and we were not at the top yet. I asked Pak Susi about the peak when we were resting and waiting for Made and Wayan to catch up. He said.. "Oh.. it's near. 30 more minutes"... yeah right. I don't think I will fall for the same trick again. During the rest, blood have taken opportunity to flow to my ankle. One word. Pain. We continue to trek until I couldn't take it anymore. I ankle started to hurt like crazy but I kept it to myself while Kok took the lead.

It was another 45 until we came to a tunnel. Pak Susi said "Ahhh dah sampai!" (We are here!) I went through the tunnel, and was reborn. Why reborn? Wayan said coming out of the hole is like coming out of your mom womb. I don't know how I felt when I left my mom's uterus, but coming out of this hole left me ecstatic, relieved, in pain, tired, and confident all at the same time. FINALLY! YATTA!

The peak of Mount Batukaru.. at last! FINALLY! YATTA!

But too bad. The rain clouds were still lingering and the wind wouldn't blow it away. It covered the sky the whole evening. I didn't get to see the sunset =(

Wayan, Pak Susi and Made proceed to the temple area to pray and meditate. While waiting for them, I actually had to answer nature's call. A whole day of climbing, drinking water, and it was cold! Something have got to come out! :P I didn't dare though... I didn't want to pee on some temple or holy ground or something else. Wayan pointed me to a "public toilet" later on. (Public toilet as in public open area with small fern growth as walls) ... phew.. relieved.. but was freezing cold and I think I had butt freeze for a moment. HAHAHA ... but it was really an experience. The same thing happen the next morning when I had to go again. :p

Anyway, I snacked on this bean biscuit keropok this while Pak Susi and Made setup the twarp to make a tent. Good stuff. I didn't think the red bean cake thought. ...have always not like stuff with red bean in them.

We took pictures, hung out, prayed for the clouds to go away. I brought my notebook (the paper version, not the laptop) with me so I had a chance to enjoy writing at the peak. It was really nice to write in cool (cold actually) air. Having just me, pen and paper. With my shoes and socks off and feet freezing to death. Laying on the grass. With nothing but the sound of wind. Made the climb all so worth it.

Anyway, we had an early dinner and right after that, we were forced into the "tent" because of the weather. It started to rain with the whole package. Wind, lighting and thunder. Thank god for the tarp and the cement floor because the wind blew really hard and would have froze us to death and the rain soak us all wet. But even with that, I was still freezing. I was totally unprepared for the cold. After a while, the tent started leaking rain water.. but I found out it was just water condensing in the tent.

I stared at the torch tied above the tent the whole time (until it went out of batteries) trying not to think about the cold and my ankle. be continued.

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5 pieces of worms:

Sugar Bean

Oops, the weather didn't seem too good on the day you climb the mountain. Sounds adventurous, and you still have the time to take photos! Haha! Geng!

Nice photos. ^^

550ml jar of faith

What a rocking climb! Never mind the sunset! Ooooh, whatever does a butt freeze feel like?? Like sitting on a bucket of ice?

ai wei

teckiee, that's really cool and adventurous!!! geng ler!

and there are leach... aw...


Tiring huh but a good experience indeed!!!


I think you're most probably one of the fittest flogger around ^^

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