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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

4D3N Camping at Cameron Highlands + Hiking at Gunung Irau.

with Carmen's family, Jack and Koay.
on the 23-26 October 2014.


WARNING: SUPER SUPER AND I MEAN SUPER SUPER LONG POST AHEAD. NEED A LOT OF PATIENCE AND TIME TO FINISH READING THIS ONE. PLEASE READ WITH EXCITEMENT TOO :)


Since beginning of the year, Jack & Carmen and the both of us was already planning for a getaway together, along with other friends and we wanted to make sure it was going to happen, that it wasn't going to be just another idea in another year. Since most of us are already working, we decided that this year we should start making it like an annual thing to go for holidays together.


Initially, we wanted to go for Perhentian Island but that did not happen, sadly. Along the way, there were other suggestions but nothing got finalized. 


Not until when Carmen's parents suggested camping at Cameron Highlands. Not just camping though. They wanted to bring us go hike up Gunung Irau.


We said yes immediately without really knowing what we are getting ourselves into. Heh. As long as holiday straight okay. They have hiked up Gunung Irau two times, Jack and Carmen once and both of us, zero. They told us that this hike is going to take at least 6 hours. Climb to the peak and back to the base.


I remembered giving Koay that confused look because as keen and excited as I was, I doubted kuat-kuat if I could ever do it. Koay even brought me to hike Youth Park and I stopped at number 3 because it was too much. "I had period cramps that day okay" was what I kept telling him. Hah.


So, we "made sure" that we go for enough training but that never happen. Never. We didn't go for ANY hiking session after that Youth Park hike incident. We couldn't find a time that we were both free. Both got caught up with work the entire few weekends that we had, so yeah.


Zero preparation and I was still looking forward to it. One thing though was I made sure I eat healthy and that I do not fall sick.


At first, Koay was quite sure that I wasn't going to be able to finish this Gunung Irau hike. In fact, he was already preparing himself mentally to piggyback me in the mountain, or pull and push me all the way.


His doubt was my second motivation to finish well. I don't know what my first motivation was really. It could be because I know if I end well, something in me will be super proud. Also, could be because I became very unfit after the x-ray of my lungs showed three dark knots and I stopped floorball and all kind of sports and I wanted to just prove to myself that somewhere in here, I still have that desire to be fit again. 


The furthest hike that I have ever did was probably Monkey Beach and Pantai Kerachut. I don't know which one if further. They prolly took like less than 2 hours one way and I remembered begging to take the boat back.


This one 6 hours hike to and fro. Minimum 6 hours you know. MINIMUM. Let's just say that my other preparation was spent most in Google and reading other people's blog about it. One group took 10 hours FYI.


With all that, I was mentally ready to accept that challenge I give to myself. Gunung Irau, I will conquer you and I did. Heh. 


The other fun part that I was looking forward to was the camping part. I have never really camped like camping in a tent kind. So, this was something I can tick in my list of to-dos. Camping in a winter like place, the more fun okay. No mosquitoes, no smelly socks, no sweating and no need to spend so much money. Best!




THURSDAY/FRIDAY

That week finally came, then Thursday happened. Sorry ah but the mind wasn't working that day. The body was there for 8 hours then straight red mode all the way.

The moment my desktop's clock hit 5:28pm, I started packing my laptop and cleared my table and off I go. After taking a nice warm shower, stuffed all the last minute items into my luggage, kissed Sha Lynn at least fifty times and get prayed over us by dad and mom, we left my house and headed over to his. He did the same thing as mentioned above and then we went to pick Jack and Carmen. Had the quickest dinner at Pelita and it's on.


We didn't want to reach the camp-site too late since the place was going to be quite dark and his parents were there waiting for us, with our four-men's tent already set up.


We reached at about 11pm. By the time we carried our bags and stuff, we were super exhausted but ain't nobody got time for that. We hung around our tents and chatted for a bit with Carmen's parents before we went to bed. 


Oh! Photos will be according to the days okay. I made sure I try to take as many photos of the happenings so I can read back this post next year or something. Heh. 


Any kind of lights is important. Be it handheld torchlighs or the one you wear on your head. I think it's called headlamp. Any lights would be good.


There are some fluorescent lights around the camp-site but it's still quite dark since it's surrounded by tall tress and nature. Also, you will really need one or a few (depending on the size of your torchlight) in the tent itself. 




We didn't have any yoga mat so we brought 2 sleeping bags (thanks Nikki for lending us one!), 2 blankets and 1 pillow that can also be a blanket. We opened both the sleeping bags and lay them as base. Then, we put another blanket as base since it was a hard floor we were sleeping on. The other blanket and pillow-blanket, we used them as blanket.

I fell asleep as soon as my head touched my pillow. It was so comfortable okay. It was so cold and I have my socks and gloves on, all warm up. Koay on the other hand tried to sleep but don't know why he wasn't able to. 


He sat up straight suddenly while it was still dark outside and I turned and asked him what was wrong. He explained that he cannot sleep already and that he wanted to go to the toilet to shower. So, I also got up, get my shower bag, towel and told him that I'm going to follow him to shower also since the toilet is quite far from our tent. 


With all the movement in the tent, it must have woken Jack and Carmen up. Then, Carmen asked where I was going and I told her I wanted to go brush my teeth because it's 6am already ma. She looked at me so confused and said, "Huh? It's only 4am!"


I straight looked at Koay, waiting for an explanation from him. 


He laughed. 


"I never say it's 6am already. I just say I wanna go shower"


"Then, why you never tell me to go back to sleep and that it's only 4am when you see me getting all my things to go get ready?"


"Saja lo, since you so semangat"


He laughed some more. Can you believe this guy? WHO SHOWERS MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?!


Obviously I went back to sleep. I can't remember if he went to shower or he waited till 5:30am. 


I woke up at the sound of people talking outside our tent. Carmen's parents and him chatting about stuff. Jack, Carmen and I were still snoozing. It was until I started hearing some chopping board sound that I got up and went outside.


I shall try updating them according to the photos, if not it's going to be the longest blog post any human has ever typed. Hah.



He only slept for one hour the whole night. As you can see, he was shining the torchlight towards his pan using his mouth. 

He finds joy in cooking them luncheon meat. This and bread, makes the best camping breakfast meal!

The sun finally came up at about 7am and we were still enjoying our fellowship and breakfast. 

The kind of view that I enjoyed for that few days. Tall trees are so beautiful!

The tent that houses us four :)

It could be more spacious on our side if I didn't bring my luggage. Haha. Who brings luggage bag to camping? Me, the dumb dumb. Heh.

Before I continue on the Friday morning and the hike to Mossy Forest, let me first introduce this camp-site.


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The place is called Pejabat Hutan (The Forestry Department) Daerah Raub dan Cameron Highland. Its at Brinchang town. It's a left turn after an Indian Temple, just before the golf course. Then, go all the way straight, ALL the way straight and you will see this entrance.




After you drive in from the entrance, slow down and make a left turn. It will be quite narrow but still big enough for 4-wheels-drive to go through. Then, can slowly find a space to park your vehicle.

You will see this walking entrance to the camp-site.

There you have it, the camp-site. In this photo, you can see a few huts where some people prefer to set their tent in so that when it rains, it won't be too noisy. Noisy cos the rain drops direct on the tent. That or you can set another roof on top of your tent.

Close up to some of the tents that were set up near the river at Level 1 of camp-site. The place is huge so can cater to a lot of campers actually. Very happening during the weekend.

You can't really see it but there is another level above. If you see in the center of the photo above (the panaroma one), you can see steps. Level 2 of the camp-site which you can see in the photo below.



Far left is where our tents were at. The rest are empty when I took the photo, but it was filled up by a group of people from KL.

 The front row orange and green tents are ours. The back ones, about 6-7 tents are families  from KL. They have one tent that houses 10 people. So nice okayy. 

View of level 1's camp-site from our view.

One of the questions we asked before the trip was, "Got toilet ah?"


Yes, and when you first walk in, there's this orange building on the left right? That's where the toilets are. Please don't expect nice clean toilets at camp-sites. It's camping, so by right everything should be done natures way. Hah.

No fancy-schmancy toilet but usable.

When the families from KL arrives, they also set up a 'shower room' at level 2 near to our tents. There is a pipe that channels the mountain's water for our usage but there isn't any thing around it to make it like a 'cubicle'. People only use that pipe to wash things.



My bodyguard, while I forcefully enjoy the ice cold mountain water. I even washed my hair with shampoo. I think any normal human being would just rinse them with water and leave. The water is seriously brain-freeze-cold okay. So, when they have that up, I took every opportunity I have to shower there. Especially after the hike. More on that later. 



There you have it. 

Now, you can save money and stay at this camp-site at Cameron Highlands, provided you have rain-proof tents okay?

If I'm not mistaken, they only charge RM3 per person. If I'm not wrong.. I know it's RM3 lah. Not sure if it's based on per person per night or RM3 per person for the one time stay.

Still, it's ridiculously cheap either way and so much fun. Natural air-con for you. 

This camping site is open to public but you may want to give them a call to book a place during the peak season or weekends. Call the Forestry Department at +605 -491 1384.

Also, if you need to use the electricity to charge your phone etc, you may do so by paying RM10 per night. Maybe you might want to bring your extension cords so your friends can use them too :)

Very convenient right? :)

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FRIDAY

After we eat to make sure we've got the energy for the hike, we brushed our teeth (yeah, after eat only brush - apparently it's better this way - I don't know - please google then tell me - I'm too lazy at this moment) and packed our bags. And take OOTD shot. 


Look at those still-intact-shoes. LOOK!

We kept our bags in the tents and zipped them up. We left the place and drove to Mossy Forest. Took quite a while to get there. Heavy traffic since it was school holiday season. So annoying okay the traffic jam. 



The entrance where people park their cars. We heard that last week, there were close to 300 people on this hike at Mossy Forest. This time, our car was the only car. There were a few young men who hiked up and camped there later on that day. Respect. 

Welcome to the MOSSY FOREST  to which the trails will lead you to Gunung Irau!

Fun fact: Do you know that Gunung Irau is the highest mountain in Cameron Highlands?


It's all wooden steps at first before we get to the main hiking arena. So, along the way you can see some mossy tress hence the name, MOSSY FOREST.

Haven't even start our real hike yet and the view is breathtaking already. Wait, actually I can't remember if I took this after hiking for hours, way nearer to the peak or at the end of the wooden steps. Err..

Wooden steps also haven't walk finish and the bottom of the shoe came out already. Never mind still can wear.

See. Still can walk sink into the mud and hike.

The start of a real hike. The trail to Gunung Irau starts at the end of Mossy Forest's wooden boardwalk. When you're in Cameron Highlands, you could drive up to this place and walk along this boardwalk and enjoy the beautiful scenery :) Open to public of course.

The right shoe straight gave up and there is no way to save it. So, only socks shall do.

The trails started out easy and then it got more challenging and interesting. Please do feast your eyes on the photos of those trails. Some are almost 90 degrees. No kidding. 

Someone's a happy boy and a bit worried since I lost one shoe and that makes it harder for me to finish well? Haha.

This hike requires 100% full focus and concentration. You see somewhere else and you will break a leg. Haha. 

Then, the other side gave up. Straight give up with no sign of warning whatsoever. 

I took the thin cushion and layered it inside my socks. Thin but at least it gives me a little cushion. So, with shoes or not, Gunung Irau, here I come :)

See how the mist is around the trees? The mist was coming towards us and the next second, we were standing in the middle of it. SO COOLING AND NICE!

 This is taken from my angle standing below. It's THAT steep. 

This small but firm branches are just life-savers! Without them, I have no idea if I ever could climb up those steep trails. So fun and very tiring.

 We got to Mini Irau, another one hour to the peak but because the trails were really muddy and it started to rain, it took us close to 2 hours after this and we didn't even get to the peak. If we continued to the peak, we could still be in the jungle somewhere at night in the dark with no food. We only had few slices of bread with luncheon meat. So the wisest thing to do was hike back home. 

Checking out the place where landslide happened.

Oh! Before we hiked back, we got to the mossiest place in the forest, hence the name MOSSY FOREST. The entire forest is mossy but this is the most beautiful already! SO GORGEOUS!
"Babe, you go first so I won't slow you down"

"No, it's okay. I can help push your butt when you can't go up"
"Babe, eat the chocolate"
"Babe, stop a while and drink water"
"Drink one more mouth"
"Baby, your feet okay?"

God-sent angel :)

Towards the end of the hike (so we thought!), all that we wanted to see was those wooden steps. We do still want to look at the scenic mountain views although it was covered with mist most of the time but those wooden steps were the priority at that time. 7 hours and half into hiking and we just wanted to sit down.


Oh! We did not go all the way to the peak as the trails were getting too muddy and it started raining. We were prolly 30 minutes away from the peak but with the muddy trails and rain, it might take up to 2 hours. For safety reasons, Carmen's dad decided that it was wise to start hike back which took us about 4 hours. 

If we have continued to the peak, we would be stuck in the jungle in the dark still trying to hike back with no more food left, so thank God we didn't continue all the way. 

As I was saying, I just wanted to sit down. I wasn't tired. I wasn't out of breath. I was just out of feet-strength. My legs were giving ways already. If Koay was already expecting to piggyback me before the hike, that was the time. 7 hours and 45 minutes in and legs turning off already. 

Even when we got to the wooden steps, it was still quite a distance of ups and downs' steps. Crazy I tell you. Koay literally had to push my body through those steps. 

It was the most satisfying feeling I've ever felt. I mean, I really did it. And I did it without shoes. So awesome okay. When we were walking towards the car, Koay stopped suddenly and stood straight, gave me a salute. It was one of my proud moment. Not the part where he saluted me, but the part that he made me realize that I really did it. I really went all the way through with no complains and no shoes. I know I know, I repeated too many times of not having any shoes et cetera. I'M JUST SUPER PROUD WITH MYSELF OKAY! Ahhhh. 

Sure there are cuts and bruises here and there but for sure there will be more times hiking Mossy Forest for me. Maybe during the summer next time. No mud and better shoes or thicker socks. Either one. Haha.

Still finds it hard to believe that I actually hikes for 8 hours non-stop. The longest break I had during the whole adventure was 10 minutes. This is really insanely amazing. It is impossible for me to try and describe how it feels like to have accomplished this.

Running  continuously for 8.5km in the 10km's Penang Bridge run sometime after the surgery was an accomplishment that I never thought I could achieve and I did. So, when I managed to also did this, it's another add to that list of things that I doubted if I could ever do them.

And I did. 

The wow factor this time is the fact that I did them WITHOUT shoes. 

I can be in Guinness World's Record or something, yes? Hehe.

I know I've said it quite a lot of times the WITHOUT shoes part, but please entertain me a while okay! I'm just really proud of myself. Very very proud. I'm not that weak after all :)

Thanks baby for always making sure that I don't fall back and break any bones and always giving me that back-push when my hands were starting to feel weak. You besttttt. Although initially you thought I couldn't finish it, I know that deep inside you knew I could do it. I know that you said it because you wanted to motivate me even more, knowing how a bit of a kiasu I am. Well, it worked. Your reverse psychology  worked :)



After trying to get rid of the mud stain on our skin (didn't know mud stains are like marker pen ink so hard to get rid off!), we headed back to the camp-site only to get stuck in the jam for close to an hour and when we got back, we planned to shower quickly but that didn't happen.

Because the water was too cold and we were too muscle-pained everywhere.

Carmen's parents were too tired so they wanted to stay back at camp-site and cooked dinner. Four of us went straight for steamboat. Our lunch in the jungle was just bread and chocolates. So, steamboat shall do us good. It was such a cold night some more after it rained. Perfecto :) RM18 per person with herbal and tomyam soup. Fresh vegetables can refill for free :)


Then, we walked to the Pasar Malam and just took our time enjoying every bit of this holiday. The body was shutting down but the mind was still wide awake. Heh.

Needless to say, four of us crashed when we got back to camp. No wait, actually both of us went to bed first. Jack and Carmen was still outside hanging around. This time, Koay slept the longest and possibly the loudest. I couldn't really tell because our neighbours were equally loud.



SATURDAY


I was the first person to wake up in the morning about 10am because I was so hungry. I felt so refreshed that I even take my time trying to snap as many photos as I can to show you guys how awesome it is. This place is definitely one of my favorite place to be. Also, those muscle ache hasn't really set in yet. They prolly came after I showered I think.. 




Crazy right waking up to this?

Straight grabbed a packet of Tomyam Maggi and one egg and cooked. Koay only came out after I finish cooking my breakfast then he went and searched for his Nona Pancake Mix. 




Our mini kitchen right in front of our tents.

Boy, was he excited to make them pancakes. That morning was nice because we didn't like rush things. We did our own things according to our own timing. Oh we also brought cocoa crunch and chocolate milk, his favorite :)


To make instant pancake, all you need is:



A box of ready-made pancake mix whichever brand you like.
1 egg
320ml water
30g vegetable oil

Okay, I'm typing this measurements solely based on memory. So, please check behind the box when you buy them because they give you clearer instructions than this. Basically you just mix all together until there are no more lumps and then cook them using a non-stick pan.





Of course, the first one will be burnt since the fire is too big for that small pan. Oh how we all love to learn.


Plain pancakes where got nice right? So, we had banana, peanut butter and fried eggs to go with them. At one point, he even tried doing ban chang koay style. Let's just say he couldn't even finish that 'ban chang koay' piece himself. His masterpiece konon.

One thing that is quite troublesome about cooking own meal at camp-site is the washing part. Maybe not so much for him since he likes doing it. I guess it's not so much of whether one likes doing it or not but the fact that sometimes we've got to bring all the pots and pans and utensils to the river and scrub them and all, though that was one of the fun things we did together. Heh. Maybe it was just me lah because I was already having so much trouble walking down those steps to the river. 

After all the washing and getting ourselves ready, we were ready to explore Cameron Highlands. We ate so much right for brunch but by the time it was lunch time, we were hungry again. Must be because of the traffic that literally drove us crazy. 

We had simple choo char at Tanah Rata since Brinchang is packed with vehicles and humans. Seriously ridiculously packed okay. Just as we wanted to walk to our car after lunch, it started pouring like mad so we went into an Indian Eatery and ordered roti canai and teh tarik. 

No wonder I gained 1kg over the weekend. Pffft.

We waited a while and headed straight to Boh Tea Plantation, where I had one of the nicest scones and sardine puff ever and also forced to walk up thousands of steps (obviously exaggerated!) to supposedly see a breathtaking view of the plantation, only to have them covered with more mist. So, all we saw was white stuff in the sky. Heh.


Mind you that at the time of the walking up, both my feet were already in pain at normal walking speed. So, walking up these steps were pure torture. Since it was such an effort-full thing and nothing to see also in the end, we spent more time up there playing chor tai ti, until a man came up and told us that they were going to close the gate on us already. 

Good times passed so fast you know. We didn't realize it was already 630pm. Where did all our hours go to? Confirm traffic jam. Hah.

Then, on the way back we made few stops here and there just for fun. We also spontaneously decided that we were going to have a little barbeque party at our camp-site. Headed straight to Pasar Malam again to get things that we wanted to have for dins.



He saw few people holding ban chang koay and searched the entire pasar malam for it. Maybe he just needs to have a real one after being scarred with his own edition's one. Haha.


RM2.80's teh ais.

Back at camp-site, I had some time doing my own thing since the boys needed to start the fire first, so I cleared our tent a bit with the headlamp that he got from Malacca. I LOVE THIS HEADLAMP! It's so much more convenient than using handheld torchlight. So bright some more. 





In his zone doing this kind of thing :)


Baby carrots for me thank you. 


"Wahhh so nice lah weii"


Everyone was getting ready to go bathe, and then you find him still at the pit because he just too in love with this set-up-the-fire-thing.

That night, we all showered at the girls' toilet because it's way cleaner there. Carmen and Koay were waiting for the water to boil (yes, we took the kettle and gas to the toilet) so I went in and got myself a wonderful icey cold shower, which I jumped at every second when the water touches my skin. BATHED AT MIDNIGHT WITH MOUNTAIN WATER, CHECK.

Jack too went straight for the cold water. Koay did also lah at first then he took some of the hot water then he finished his shower with cold water so he proclaimed that he did it also. Haha. Nope, not counted. 


We washed the plates and utensils by the river, then we spent the entire night/morning playing chor tai ti. We spent 1-2 hours outside our tent at first but it got too cold so we went into our tents and since then, it was warmer and we were more awake and all the crazy things happen. Laughing at jokes that aren't even funny, laughing at one another just by looking. I don't know man, it was just good times. 

At one point, Koay even said, "Let's all just laugh non-stop!" Whhhhhattt?

Crazy fun times. Before we knew it, it was 3am and I snoozed first. Then, I don't know what happened after that. At all. 


SUNDAY

The next morning, we all woke up to breakfast already prepared by Carmen's parents. So blessed. We had a can of baked beans left so Koay decided to just cook them for brekkie. He fried some eggs then mix the baked beans altogether. So yums.


Koay wanted to go 'dip' in the river first before he goes to bathe so I followed him since I needed to brush my teeth. He didn't dip. He rolled on the water. It was too cold apparently. Haha. I cannot post the photos of him doing that because he was in his underwear, only underwear.

Gargled with river water, gum also almost become frozen.

Walking back up to our camp, after few rolls in the river.

The one thing that I didn't bring back home. No, I didn't forget. Inside was already quite worn out and since it's all muddy on the outside, I decided that it shall just spend the rest of its remaining life at camp-site. You served us well, pink polka bag from the land of chicken rice balls.

Then, we packed our things slowly and said the hardest goodbye ever to the camp-site. Oh, not before we took a photo with our WhatTwoEatHere's banner!

So funny okay. We did this so that we could take a photo with it on Gunung Irau, but guess what? We forgot to bring it up. 

WE FORGOT!

Of all the things we forget, we forget this one. Gerammm. So, since like that, we take at our camp-site because it's also our very first experience. For sure won't be the last one. 


By far, this has been one of the most memorable travelling moments I've had. I believe that it is because camping has always been in my want-to-do-list since I was a young girl but never got the chance to experience it like that. In fact, it was also one of Koay's wish to go for outdoor camping like that.

And the cooling weather definitely makes it even more enjoyable. 

What's not to like about camping?
Nothing!

Unless you are a really clean-freak or something because staying in tents like this, you've gotta just learn to adapt with the surroundings and most of the time it's not going to be as clean and proper as you want it to be. 

Even if you are a clean-freak and think that you will not like it, you should still just try at least once. I really believe everyone should give camping a try! It's really fun!

And if you really didn't like it, at least you had the experience of it. Anyone who wants to give it a try, let us know! We'll be happy to help you out with anything you need to know. Not that we're experts or what lah but we know a few things that might help you out I guess.. Haha.

Ohhh! You definitely needs to have a rain-proof tent. 



Thank you for reading. If you didn't read through it all and skipped along the way, please scroll to the top and start again. Kiddding.. Not.. Depends. Hmm, just read slowly lah okay? It took me two days to finish this post. 


Have a great day you :)

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