Thursday, July 1, 2010

My 2010 Expedition: The Chronicles

* super long post with tons of pics ahead  *
* click on pic to enlarge * photo credits goes to its respective owners *

It was sometime in December, that I have decided to make it happen!
Make what happen? Scale Mount Kinabalu, raft at Padas and check out / do whatever else I can in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah!! Thanks to Jesmond who informed me of Huey Min, Jasmine and Mei Fun's intention...Yay, finally someone initiated. I was excited for sure, but also scared 'cakap tapi tak buat' scenario will happen. Normal la me.. overly anal about things. Hehe.

Fast forward 7 months later, after A LOT of planning, organization, efforts, sweats and tears, we finally made it!

On June 17th, a group of 26 pax made their way (separately) to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
We have people flying in with AirAsia, people flying in with MAS... from Kuala Lumpur, from Taiwan, from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur then to Kota Kinabalu... A whole lotsa stuffs going on at one time. Glad it all went well with the airport transfer.

Our 1st destination, check-in at Borneo Backpackers! Lovely place in my opinion. Totally recommended! Clean, safe, nice and friendly staff, located right smack at the city, cheap (RM 25 per night per person - dorm).. Aww :) Good enough. Thanks Julian Lim for the recommendation!

After checking into our rooms, chit chat and get-to-know everyone, we had our briefing session (on the itinerary) at Diddy's grandpa place. Lunch/tea was on the house. Thanks Diddy :)

Then some sight-seeing, picture-taking, camwhoring at the Waterfront area.

Started raining, rushed back to Borneo Backpackers and start packing for the upcoming activities - rafting, climbing and via ferrata :)

June 18th... 7.15am. It's time for RAFTING!!! Rise and shine early, had 2 piece of toast and hop into the van we go after a short briefing session by Alan Lam of Skyland Adventure (our agent).
Had 2 toilet pit-stops. One at the Crocker's Range. Nice view. Cold. Snapped lovely colourful pictures at the mini waterfall!

Had a 2 hour ++ ride to Tenom, to board an antique train to Panggi - the starting point.

Yay! Finally it's time for some action! Briefed by Edar of Wave Hunters. Funny instructor. Like to repeat the lines "My point is... " *chuckles*. Was also the guy in our van who briefed the gang (me, Winnie, Shino, Ming, Jesmond, Peter, Choong, Diddy & Shaun) on the day's itinerary.

Here's a picture of Raft 1 - Kamikaze, Raft 2 - Pimps & The Hot Girls... Seems to be missing shots of Raft 3 - The Family Raft. Hehe.

Found a pic of the "Family" raft :)

After hours of rafting, and capsizing once (will upload video when ready), we reached the end point! A group shot to commemorate the event!

Another train ride... to Beaufort Town, followed by van ride back to Borneo Backpackers. Dinner at KFC / Burger King. 

Slept early - tired. Required too... to ensure we get enough sleep and be prepared for tomorrow's early pick up (5 am!!) ala Day 1 of Mount Kinabalu climb.

June 19th, 2010... 
Agenda of the day. Hike up Mount Kinabalu, via Mesilau Trail...
Destination? Pendant Hut at Laban Rata (3272.7 m).
View of Mount Kinabalu, from the bus, in Kundasang

Getting ready upon arrival at Mesilau gate. Introduced to our tour guide - Mr Roland; our climbing guides cum porters - Mr Arnold, Mauries, Bobby, etc!

And the journey begins....

 1.5 km... 2 km... 2.5 km... 3 km... lunch break

4 km... 4.5 km... 5 km... Timpohon-Mesilau junction... Finally, LABAN RATA!!

I just realized... we didn't have any (almost none) pictures of the Pendant Hut! Probably everyone was too excited at the sight of it, totally forgotten to snap a picture of it. Not to mention, too shock with the number of steps on the staircase to go through before we reach the entrance... (-_-")

See what I meant?

Reached at 4.50 pm! JUST 10 minutes before the cut-off time for Via Ferrata briefing.. Phew!! Thanks guys for pushing me up! It was much relief. Hot drinks were never so welcomed by me. Hehe.

Took a quick shower. Wait, correction... a quick 'towel down' 'coz it was too cold. The water were ice chilly! Worn whatever that's needed to be worn for the 2.30 am hike to summit; Low's Peak Circuit. 

Then it's time for makan. Dinner was... umm, how should I put it? Too tired to eat.

Tried to sleep as early as possible. The pillow's so flat... I think my head felt flat by the time I woke up. Put jackets on top of it to make it more puffy = comfy to sleep on. Hehe. Poor Ming... was awake by someone's snoring from 11pm onwards. I manage to stay on bed till about ~1am.

June 20th, 2010... Yawns! Must wake up and prep for summit hike. The scariest part - the weather. So cold I can barely breathe as soon as I step outta Pendant Hut.

The early risers!

It's time! My pace was ok in the beginning... despite feeling giddy and having slight problems breathing in the cold air. I was slowly but surely following Jasmine's pace. Then when the bionic women speeds up, habis I. Lol. So sad... end up, getting by so slow.. I had to make several stops. The result; I failed to reach the peak's peak before sunrise, and I had to give up altogether, in taking pic with the infamous signboard because I wanna make it on time for Via Ferrata. Decisions decisions. So emo that time... 

It may seem like nothing for some... but I was truly sad at the fact that I didn't make it to the peak's peak. Hmm.. prob another attempt in the future? Not in the next 1 year though. Phobia. Of the steps and rain! It was raining every day i'm in Sabah (-_-"), making it - the expedition all the more extreme and challenging.

Anyway.. .more pics! Of my 'byk susah' hike up to Low's Peak....

Highlight of the day! VIA FERRATA.
Finally, only 9 decided to go ahead. Mike, Alfred and Shino decided to continue their journey to the peak's peak, which is what I gave up on... over Via Ferrata. Sure hope I made the right decision. Great experience nevertheless. I shall have no regrets (need to keep telling myself that...!) LOL. After all... find out why at the end of the post!

We were divided into groups of 3... under 3 different instructors.

Sabrin (Instructor) - Jesmond, Ming, Jasmine
Jay (Instructor) - Choong, Su Fen, Peter
James (Instructor) - Shaun, Diddy and myself

 All set, gears on, ready to go!

Spent the next 4-5 hours scaling the mountains, making our way down back to Pendant Hut. The journey involves Low's Peak's Circuit - Crazy Thick Jungle Trail (300 m) - Walk The Torq Circuit - Descend Summit Trail - Pendant Hut. Yes, it takes 4-5 freaking hours! And guess what, RAIN + WIND decided to greet us again... All was good... see the pics below... 

.... Until it became colder and wetter as we descend instead of the opposite, which is usually the norm! Gave up taking photos, to avoid spoiling the camera too. We reached a point where we got so tired... mainly due to the weather and fatigue, that we find it's no longer fun. 
The truth is, it was indeed fun, thrilling... totally recommended for any adrenaline junkies like me.. just that mentally and physically, we're tired. We've been awake since ~1am ++. In additional, my group got split from the other 2 groups lead by Sabrin & Jay... and a slow 5 or 6-men group in between us. (-_-") x infinity. So, it's normal for complaints to start pouring in... We just want to end it asap and get back to Pendant Hut. 

We were frustrated...
I was personally afraid that the other 6 will reach Pendant Hut way before us and actually left to descend via Timpohon already because we were taking too long. 
U know what I did/requested? 
I asked for our instructor James to 'roger Pendant Hut' and ask if our friends are leaving us already? (Phones weren't working) Desperate le... It's no fun walking down the mount alone. 
Imagine my relief when we were informed that they'll wait for us *cheers* Thank you peeps!

Thank you James for bearing with us... and the continuous encouragement to keep us going despite the harshest condition (we ran outta water supply too, mind you)

Finally... at 1300 hours, my VF group is back, safely, at Pendant Hut. All drenched and totally uncomfortable though. Can't stand the wet clothings.. Changed, and requested help from the porters to port all my wet clothings/gears down. Thank you porters! (if they ever chance upon my blog).

Thank you... I think Peter for saving me a cup of instant noodle!
Thank you Jesmond... for the sausages and eggs, and the cooking!
Thank you Ming, Jasmine, Su Fen, Choong for waiting for Shaun, Diddy and myself!

Next worry in mind? The journey down Mount Kinabalu via Timpohon. Didn't know what to expect. Just knew it will take hours before we get down to the headquarters... and we're running late.

Finally got moving by 1430 hours. Left Pendant Hut (Laban Rata). Peter, Su Fen, Jasmine and Choong practically zoomed down as fast as possible. Haha. Leaving behind Shaun, Diddy, Jesmond, Ming and myself to 'fend for ourselves'!! Just kidding. 

Practically at this point, my leg was on auto-pilot mode (aka zombie mode). My legs were moving... taking one step at a time, down the Timpohon trail... but my mind ain't really thinking. Rain was pouring. Never felt so 'broken and numb' in my life... The rain was knocking me out senseless. Luckily I had an extra durable raincoat/poncho. Such a God-sent, luckily I went to Daiso the day before I left for this trip and spent RM 5 on this!

Threading down through these kinda trail for 4 hours!

Exactly 4 hours later.. at 1830 hours. Finally, I see steps!! That leads to a building; the check-in point! I believe I let out a cry/scream of delight. Hahaha. So happy to say my number (007 by the way), reporting to the guy at the counter of sort, to confirm I have arrived at Timpohon gate!

Retrieved our stuffs from the porters. 1-2 hours bus ride back to Borneo Backpackers. Unpack, clean-up, bath... gathered at Texas Restaurant & Bar for dinner. Food looks good... but I just did not have the energy or appetite. Finished quarter of the meal only (so not me!)... Dinner's on Diddy again. Thanks man! Your mood must be darn good. Haha. 

Pack till I fall asleep...

June 21st... The last day at KK. Spent my last few hours in the town at a MASSAGE PARLOUR! Since we couldn't make it for Poring Hot Springs or island hopping to Mamutik-Manukan-Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. 

The guys... Shaun's first. Muka macam kena 'raid'. Haha.

1600 hours... time to head to the airport for our flight back to Kuala Lumpur *sob sob* Missing that place already. Should have extended our stay... to paint the town red! Hmmph. 

Bye Bye Kota Kinabalu!

To the following (in alphabetical order):

  1. Alfred 
  2. Ben
  3. Cathy
  4. Chew Yee
  5. Choong
  6. Diddy
  7. Gun
  8. Huey Min
  9. Jasmine
  10. Jesmond
  11. Jet Fong
  12. Kim
  13. Mei Fun
  14. Miau
  15. Mike
  16. Ming
  17. Penny
  18. Peter
  19. Shaun
  20. Sherie
  21. Shino
  22. Su Fen
  23. Tanny
  24. Wei
  25. Winnie
Thanks for making this expedition/trip happen. Without your participation, this may not take flight at all.
Thanks for your company, thanks for your encouragement, your support, your help, your everything.
Everyone played a role in this trip and made this trip ever so memorable!

I'm glad I met each and every one of you. There may not been many chances for me to talk and really get to know each and every one of you, but well, we can work on this (^_^)! Just keep in touch yeah.. unless you really wanna avoid me. Haha. Just show me the hints, I'll get it!

Any more adventure-related trips coming up? Well, if you have any, I would appreciate it if you can keep me in the loop. I'll do the same! Till we meet again (July 16 maybe... ??)... TAKE CARE YO!

Oh yeah, why I shouldn't regret anything (as mentioned early)? Coz.... thanks to Peter...
I'm at the peak's peak!! HAHAH


Anonymous said...

HAHAHA love the last pic!

Wai Yip

Mayz said...

Kelakar kan!

Anonymous said...

Loved this...It refreshed my memory :) Such a wonderful and well-planned trip:)

Wat's next to explore.....? I hope i can make it with you ppl again :) Take Care and Keep in Touch!!!