October 27, 2011

Trekking Gunung Ulu Semangkuk

Gunung Ulu Semangkuk is not a popular (among local trekkers) mountain located in Ulu Teranum Forest Reserve in Fraser’s Hill. Only a handful of trekkers ventured to this peak  … not much information can be found on the internet with regards to this mountain. We first trekked this mountain sometime last year after coming across some information from the internet. Subsequently we went there again a couple of times last year.

On 15th October 2011 we decided to trek Semangkuk again after a few fellow trekkers who have not been to this place requested us to show them the trail … so off we go. Five of us met early at 6.00am in Puchong and another group will meet us at the GAP traffic exchange point in Fraser’s Hill (GAP is the place where vehicles take turns to use the one-way road up and down Fraser’s Hill… traffic going up is at odd hours and traffic coming down is at even hours). First we drove to Rawang town for breakfast and then proceed towards Fraser’s Hill driving through Kuala Kubu Bahru. When we reached GAP traffic exchange point, the other group of 4 trekkers were already there. We quickly put on our trekking gears and head to the entry point of the trail leading to Gunung Semangkuk.
The entrance of the trail is just opposite this wooden house ... those new to this trail have to search for it among the ferns and bushes

Group photo ... the entrance of the trail is just behind us

 The entry point of the trail is just opposite the abandoned wooden house (used to be a restaurant) about 200 meters before the GAP traffic exchange point … quite obscure hidden by ferns and bushes. It is a small slope straight up into a fairly dense bamboo forest. From the thick vegetation and fallen bamboo trunks, we guessed that this trail has not been trekked for a while. It was a bit of a hassle going through the bamboo forest but after going through it, the trail starts to get easier with a few fallen trees along the trail. At this altitude, the air is cool and misty … the trail is straight up to a lower peak of Gunung GAP … it took us about 45 minutes to reach the peak of Gunung GAP where we rested for a while. From our previous experience, we knew from Gunung GAP, the trail will go up and down through a few valleys before reaching our targeted peak … about 2 hours of trekking to go.

(Left photo) First timer Mr Ooi getting through fallen bamboo trunks
(Right photo) Ms Yap and husband Ah Seng trekking up a slope

 (Left photo) Mr Ong and I sharing a joke
(Right photo) Lim Chin Keat taking a quick rest

(Left photo) Mr Ho ... slow and steady
(Right photo) Ms Yap, Ah Seng, Johnson and Mr Ong

We saw plenty of bamboo shoots along the trail and a sign board telling us that we are in Ulu Teranum Forest Reserve

After a short rest we trek down a valley from GAP peak and heads towards Gunung Ulu Semangkuk … the trail is fairly clear with some old tape markings still visible. We were quite happy to enjoy the cool, misty and breezy walk in the middle of the forest full of penetrating mid morning sun rays … what a good way to enjoy the great nature! We have to trek though a few valleys, occasionally greeted by fallen trees and a few tricky slopes … nothing we cannot handle. And after about one and a half hours we reached a deep valley … from this valley, the trail is a fairly tough straight climb up to the peak of Gunung Ulu Semangkuk. We tackled the valley carefully and then trek straight up to the peak … finally after one hour and forty minutes, we arrived at the peak of Gunung Ulu Semangkuk … 1,394m ASL (source from Internet).

 An elevation layout of the trail going up to Gunung Ulu Semangkuk (source from the internet)

Not much has changed at the peak since our last trek here many months ago … maybe it is because not many trekkers visited to this peak. From the peak, there isn’t much to see as the surrounding view is blocked by trees and other vegetation. A short trail leads to another side of the peak where the view is better … we can see the surrounding mountains of the Titiwangsa range.
 Mr Ooi and Steven Chin happy to make it to the peak

 Group photo at the peak of Gunung Ulu Semangkuk

We rested at the peak and had our lunch … my RM1.00 nasi lemak daun pisang tasted especially good after being carried up almost 3 hours to the peak. All of us enjoyed trekking Gunung Ulu Semangkuk although the travelling distance is quite long coming from PJ/Subang area. At the peak, we exchanged views and opinions of the trail and as usual cracked some jokes and laughs. Then it was time to descend … after cleaning up and packing our stuffs, we descended quickly. The descent was not a problem to all of us and in about 2 hours we made it out of the forest safely.

 The freezing waterfall where we freshened up

We then drove down a few kilometers to a waterfall to clean up … the freezing water was a bit too much for some while others had a splashing time.

Like all our trekking outings, a good trek will end with good food and there are plenty of good restaurants in both Kuala Kubu Bahru and nearby Ulu Yam. We decided to have an early dinner at Kuala Kubu Bahru … a good dinner it was … we filled our stomachs with a table full of recommended local dishes … a great finale to a good trekking outing.

October 14, 2011

... you TAKE IT !!!

The famous APPLE’s founder Steve Jobs passed away recently and the whole internet world was full of everything about Steve Jobs. I too was reading about him and came across an excerpt from his famous Stanford University’s speech in 2005 … “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” Great words from a great man.

Honestly, many years ago I thought of something along that line … maybe not as sophisticated as Steve Jobs said it, not in the whole context and definitely in a lot lesser words … my thought was a simple question … “when can you live your own life?”. 

I want to ask how many can say they are really living their own lives, listening to their inner voices and following their dreams? Maybe Steve Jobs did it but how many Steve Jobs are there? It is almost impossible to totally avoid being influenced by the things around us … like it or not, a large part of our lives is already dictated by “sensible” obligations etched into us directly or subliminally. So many people are living a life dictated by someone else … they may not realize that they are living a life influenced by other’s opinion and that they are actually living someone else’s life. Even if they knew it, they deny it.

Do you feel that all these while, in your life, you are just an actor/actress given a script to read and direction to follow? Do you feel that something is missing in your life? Look at your life now and ask yourself how much the life you are living is your very own, how much time you have left from where you are now? 

Ask yourself when can you live your own life? Maybe you can start now … maybe you should tell yourself “enough is enough”. Maybe you should put whatever time you have left to write, direct and acts out your very own life. Maybe when people tell you to “take it easy”, you TAKE IT !!!