Opportunities to go camping anywhere in Malaysia is always there but to camp, hike and explore parts of Taman Negara is something that requires some special arrangements. Having done the Mycat Trailblazer and the kayaking trip, I seized the opportunity to join Ash from Mycat on a 4 days 3 nights trek along the border of Taman Negara, Merapoh Pahang.
We were at Merapoh a good solid 5 days. The first day is the typical drive from KL, close to 4 hours one way there. See Tho was willing to drive and thankfully he did. Otherwise it would take us forever to get to Merapoh in my beat up Pajero. As soon as we got there, there were some exchanges of greetings and getting to know each other. It naturally went into discussions and planning for the following few days. After that, it was all about gear and packing and repacking. T.W ordered a new Hennessy Hammock from Outdoor Gear Malaysia and he took the time to try it out.
There were 8 of us and we all just endured a 4 hours (at least) drive from KL to Merapoh. Some did not know each other and hence the entire stages of group dynamics sprang into action. This was obvious when it came to dinner time. Some wanted to stay back and just cook dinner while others (most were keen) to drive out to Gua Musang (which is about 30 min one way) for a good meal. I think everyone was deciding whether they want to trouble the drivers to drive out or give in to their tired body and just sleep (which would seem anti-social at this point). Well, I obviously wanted both (a good meal & an early nite) but decided for the later. Food can wait (in this case!) but sleep and rest I need more.
Day 2…we are all set. Everyone had a good night rest and seems very eager to start the day. Breakfast was on our own but as usual we are never low on food. We had bread, cans of food, noodles, you name it.
Well, to be honest, there wasn’t really a ‘trailhead’. Our plan was to walk parts of the border of the park. The aim is to either spot illegal traps/ snares and also to report anything suspicious along the way. We had the map, GPS, compass and a ‘start’ and ‘end’ point but that was basically it.
We began the trek by first crossing the river that separates the border. Getting down to the river was tricky business. Steep and slippery on the slopes and potentially getting our entire kit wet is the other.
Lee and HO was given the task of navigating on day one. HO was also the trail cutter, making sure it was easier for the rest of us to follow suit. It was tough going. Some parts of the jungle has been logged while other were covered in vines that seems to wrap us inside. HO’s slashing parang worked like a charm.
We weaved in and out between the jungle and the river. There were parts of the jungle that was just too challenging to cut through. The river also seems to be the better choice rather than hills with close contour lines. Well, at least water is plentiful.
Well, after many hours of walking, we stopped for a quick lunch break on an island on the river. This small patch of rocky island is probably due to the low water level. It was a great relief, a great opportunity to fill tummies, check for leeches and taking a breather.
First two days walking in Taman Negara Merapoh Malaysia has been interesting. I remember telling myself how fortunate I was to be able to join the trip. The group members are excellent and the jungle has been kind…well…so far.