Monday, June 24, 2013

Trekking n Camping at KUBANG GAJAH WATERFALL : 22-23 June 2013

Last Saturday, 5 trekker buddies (Sir Mart, Sir Azrul, Hj Yahya, Sir Akmal, Alias Zafnat) and i went to Kubang Gajah w/fall .. aka Kemensah w/fall .. aka Sofea Jane w/fall (if you are wondering why they gave it such a name, just Google it)  .. My previous 2 trips here were day hikes, but this time we decided to do hiking cum camping .. ;)

As promised we met up at 0830 hrs at ABC Maidin, Shamelin Perkasa, Cheras .. i had roti canai and warm lime water (air limau suam) for breakfast ..

After breakfast and a quick discussion to finalize on the agenda of the trip, we did some re-packing of our food rations n pack our backpacks into 2 cars (Hj Yahya's and Akmal's) .. We headed towards Zoo Negara .. took the first left immediately after Zoo Negara and drove along Jalan Taman Zoo View towards Kampung Kemensah (straight on without any turns) till you reach the dead end at Institut Budaya Baru (pic below) ..

Parked our cars at the road side (pic below) .. Better if you can slow talk with the Bangla guy at the Guard Post to look over your car while you go hiking .. Give him RM10 .. ;)

Final re-packing of our rations before the hike .. Trail head / entrance is on the left side of this picture above (just in front of Waja) ..

Group photo at the trail head ..

Thanks to dry season .. the normally wet, muddy and slippery ATV tracks are now dry and easily walk on ..

The puddle .. Now i know why the locals called this place KUBANG Gajah .. 

Taking a breather ..

At this point, take a sharp 90 degrees turn to the left .. just a short uphill climb .. and continue trekking .. ;)

.. until you see this signboard on your right that says "Jeram Kubang Gajah" .. just follow through this downhill trek .. the waterfall is 'just' around the corner .. ;)

First thing first .. we set up camp .. boil water for tea and fry cokodok .. 

Finally .. the ultimate goal : Cool refreshing water ..

Water massage ..

Perghh .. what a life ! Relaxing the mind, body and soul .. ;)

The Gwiyomi guys !

The Dam ! it has an interesting history .. check it out at Google .. ;)
The small pool at The Dam .. the water level is just thigh deep .. may be due to the dry season ..

Starting camp fire before the night begins .. the traditional way of chasing 'the mosquitoes' .. ;)

Makan time .. early dinner with simple dishes of cokodok, white rice, omelette and sardines .. with hot tea ! Hmmm .. masyaAllah tabarakallah .. it's the best ever .. can't beat the food at 5-star hotels !

Tit-bits .. aka JAJAN ..

River trekking .. to recce for a suitable place for 'answering the calls of nature' .. back to nature !

Our camp site .. can accommodate 3 igloo-type tents for capacity of 2 persons each .. plus 2 fly n ground sheets .. The kitchen 'cabinet' was already there when we arrived .. could have been left by the previous campers before us ..

Another view of our camp site .. from the river side (The Dam)

The flora and fauna of KEMENSAH :

This is my third visit to this place since 2011 .. Overall, there is not much changes to the place except now we see more housing developments taking place near trail head, the treks are more widen and clearer, and fallen trees are a common sight here .. :(

Looks like Rambai fruit .. but is it ?

Evidence that some people has been using this steep waterfall for rappelling activities ..

Rattan collected and tied together .. ready for 'distribution' ..

The moth .. resting on our tent ..

Anybody knows what fruit is this ?

The next day we broke camp after breakfast and having the last dip in the cool waters of the river and start hiking out around 1100hrs ..

Met a group of about 12-15 ATVs who just arrived at Kubang Gajah waterfall ..

Saw this by the river .. weird but true .. an overgrown tree trunk 'covering' a cylindrical shaped iron tunnel-like hole which can fit in a small person ..

On the way out of the jungle, we met another group of MT Bikers who were having their short break .. had a friendly chit chat with them, and guess what ? one of them coincidentally is Ali (in white), one of my relative from Kota Bharu .. siapa sangka ? met in the jungle of Kemensah !

At around noon we reached the car park, where we met another group of scramblers just about to enter the trail head .. 

One for the album .. after completing the hike out from the jungle .. ;)

Overall distance is about 2.5km (one way) .. difficulty level : easy to moderate .. took us about 45-50 minutes from parking area to the camp site .. with leisure mode while borak-borak and taking pictures along the trail .. plus the occasional 'stopping' by the trail side to give way for the ATVs, MTBs and Scramblers to pass through ..

In short, the trip was a successful one .. a weekend with the closest of friends .. full of FUN, FITNESS AND FRIENDSHIP .. I would say, Sofea Jane w/fall is one good option or alternative for a weekend jungle outing within the KL/Selangor area .. will definitely come back for a repeat in the near future .. ;)

NOTE: the last two pics of the trail maps were courtesy of my trekking buddy, Sir Mart .. who's our sifu and IT geek in the group .. ;)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pine Tree Hill (1448m) & Twin Peak Combo : 8-9 June 2013

A quick search in Google will show that PTH-TP is more popular for a day-pack hiking than an overnight trip. But this time my trekker buddies and i decided to do a 2D1N trip instead, so that the mode is more relax and we would have more time to enjoy and appreciate the nature and atmosphere around us .. more time to take pictures and smell the roses so to speak.

So last Friday after Isyak prayers, the 14 of us left KL for Frasers Hill through the DUKE - PLUS highway and took the UPSI exit towards Kuala Kubu Baru trunk road (take the right turn at the traffic light after the toll) .. Reached Frasers Hill just after midnight and since the weather is not very cold we decided to put up a night at the corridors of Masjid Bukit Fraser .. all wrapped up in our sleeping bags .. some of us slept in their respective cars parked at the Masjid parking lot area ..

THE BIG BREAKFAST .. the next morning we woke up very early for the Subuh prayers .. After cleaning up ourselves, we headed straight to the cafe just next to the Masjid for breakfast ..

The 7-ladies team line-up (L-R) : Anis, Shila, Posh, Hana, Shida, CRos n Asmah ..

Some of us ordered Nasi Lemak Special for breakfast .. But i went for Double Roti Canai instead, with double bulls-eye and teh tarik .. nyum nyum .. hopefully can provide me enough fuel for the whole day of climbing n hiking .. ;)

The 7-men's team line-up (L-R) : Alias, Shah, Hj.S, Sham Castello, Hj.Y, SirMart n Akmal .. ;)

Group photo (partial) at the parking lot of Masjid Frasers Hill ..


After breakfast we did some re-packing up of ration and other camping necessities .. My checklist : at least 1 set of clean dry clothes (sarong is a must), personal needs like medication n toiletries, sleeping bag and mat, tent, ground and fly sheets, headlamp, ropes and small parang / machete, food ration and water supply (at least 1.5 liter), cooking utensils ..

Fair and square .. everyone will carry an equal portion of the 'public food ration' ..

After registering our names at the local Police Station, we headed straight to the PTH trail head .. look for TM rest house signage for direction .. ;)

We parked our cars at the roadside just in front of Pine Tree Trail entrance (trail head) .. Landmark - TM rest house, Pertahanan rest house and a Private Property ..

All geared up and ready to go ..

One for the album .. at the PTH-TP trail head entrance ..

Briefings and doa for safety before the hike .. Bismillah !

The first Pondok (rest hut) is just about 30 meters after the trail head .. Hiking sticks were provided for free, but make sure you return it upon exit so that other hikers can re-use it ..


At about 900m mark after the trail head you will see this second Hut 'still standing' to provide shade for hikers to take a short break .. 

.. unlike the other two consecutive huts (like this pic above) were already rotten and fallen to the ground .. I really hope the local authorities will do something to upgrade these facilities ..

Taking a breather again .. while waiting for the others at the back to catch up .. ;) This is quite a normal thing to happen when you go hiking in a big group .. there'll definitely be a split as everyone will trek at their own speed and pace .. taking breaks now and then, while taking pictures etc .. that's why it is crucial to have someone capable and responsible as the Last Man (or Sweeper) at the back to ensure everyone reach the final destination safe and sound .. ;)

Gotta maneuver lots of tree roots along the trail ..

Good exercise .. Flat terrain for the calf muscles, uphills good for thigh muscles ..

The PTH-TP trail is a combination of various terrain .. soft ground covered with fallen leaves and branches, man-made stairs (esp at the beginning part), wet and slippery rocks (as above) .. But one thing for sure, be prepared for lots of uphill and downhill climbing .. :-)

Sometimes you have to walk above .. and sometimes under the fallen tree trunks (as in pic below) ..

The 'Cave' ..

The foggy jungle ..

Taking another breather while enjoying and appreciating the free fresh mountain breeze full of uncontaminated oxygen .. SUBHANALLAH !


After hiking (on relax mode) for about 2 hours we reached the campsite (which has two levels) and LWP which is situated at km 3.9 from the trail head .. Has a small but nice camping site suitable for 10-15 people (can accommodate about 5 tents / fly sheet) ..

The top level campsite .. accommodates 2 tents and 1 large fly and ground-sheet ..

Lower level campsite .. accommodates 2 tents ..

To get to the water source you need to climb down the steep ravine about 30 meters .. Even though the water source is pretty small but it provides enough clean, fresh and cold with original sweetness taste of mountain water .. gushing out in between the boulder rocks .. Please take extra caution though, as the path to this water point could be muddy and very slippery after rain ..


The final assault : After spending about an hour at the campsite we headed to the PTH summit with just a day-pack .. and leaving my 35+10 liters backpack at the campsite .. After about 40 minutes of uphill and downhill hike we reached this 80 degrees steep wall climbing rope section which is located at km 5.4 from the trail head entrance .. personally i think this is the most exhilarating experience and awesome part of all the trails to the summit .. you won't find this anywhere else !

Akmal 'The Rambo Man' in action ..

The 5.4 km mark .. we are almost there !

Finally .. the Pine Tree summit .. just about 15 meters more to the left ..


Everyone was smiling even though drenched to the shoes after being caught in the heavy rain the moment we reached the PTH summit ..

After spending about 30 minutes at PTH summit taking photos etc we pushed ourselves to Twin Peak just 'next door' .. Roughly 40 minutes later we reached the TP summit .. the day was pretty cloudy but the cool mountain breeze makes it all worth it .. Subhanallah ..

Masyaallah tabarakallah .. what a wonderful sight .. the weather gets better after the clouds moved away .. but came back again in a short while .. ;)

A slice of 'victory pear' for everyone .. at the Twin Peak summit ! It took me 40 minutes to hike from Pine Tree peak to Twin Peak .. I must say that Twin Peak has a much better panoramic view than PTH .. and it is 360 degrees !

Misty summit view from Twin Peak .. simply gorgeous  and breathtaking ! Alhamdulillah tabarakallah ..

The marker stone at Twin Peak summit that splits between Selangor and Pahang (on the opposite side) ..

Back at the base camp, a full body massage service was provided for free by our very own and in-house masseuse from Kelate State of Che Siti Wan Kembang - Akmal The Rambo Man .. ;)


My personal observations about PTH-TP trails :

The overall trail is generally 'easy' and of moderate difficulty level .. but you need to be physically fit to reach both summits in one climb .. The trail is shady with cool temperature the whole way .. Total distance to and fro from entrance till Twin Peak is about 11km, completed within 9 hiking hours (excluding the over night camping time at km 3.9) ..

NOTE: The above screenshot picture was gotten from a blog named Grace Abundant, to show you the trail map from main entrance to PTH, excluding Twin Peak. TQ Grace Abundant .. ;)

The whole trail comprises of multiple ascends and descends (about four 'small' ups and downs from what i can recall) .. As you can see from the graph (to be read from right to left), the trail head (starting point) is located a bit higher than the PTH-TP summit itself .. meaning that you need to 'climb down' first before hiking up and down, up and down and up again .. ;)

1) Just like Bukit Kutu, Pine Tree Hill is called a hill (bukit) .. but standing at 1448 m (4750 ft) ASL i feel that it qualifies as a mountain (gunung) ..
2) Phone coverage is relatively poor here ..
3) I don't see any pine tree anywhere along the trails .. ;)
4) Leeches here are much smaller and darker in color from other leeches i have encountered before ..
5) Some locations (early stage of the trail) have man-made steps (yukks .. i hate steps, esp the cemented man-made type) .. they were taxing on my knees and legs as compared to the original and natural ground trails ..