Catatan Gunung Tahan

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JeNaL
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Catatan Gunung Tahan

Post by JeNaL » 24 Mar 2011, 15:00

Tahan`s Ethereal Bonsai Gardens

The kaleidoscope of intriguing miniature trees, all gnarled, twisted and bent over into amazing angles with many displaying an amazing burst of colourful shoots and blooms, rewarded every pain and ache we endured to get to this ethereal-looking natural wonder.

Here, we were standing on a vast rock-covered space, constantly swept by chilly, cloud-laden winds, breathing hard after hiking for almost three days.

The peak of GunungTahan, the Malaysian peninsula’s highest mountain at 2187m, plays hide and seek behind the clouds, looming above and beyond like an elusive wall just several hours away.

Apart from the whistle of winds that were getting to our bones, the only other sounds you would encounter here are the constant chirping and songs of mountain birds.

Further away, parting clouds unfolded, revealing row upon row of fading blue walls of mountains giving way to lower lying hills in the distant that eventually meet with the forest-cloaked lowlands of the Taman Negara National Park in Pahang and Kelantan.

The amazing settings presented before us at these heights, coupled with the changing colours and moods that come with the day between sunrise to sunset, made us forget all our sore muscles, setting our minds into dream mode.


The Imposing Gunung Tahan

Gunung Tahan may not be as high as several other mountains in Malaysian Borneo, ranking just sixth in the highest Malaysian peaks list. Nevertheless, this mountain in Taman Negara presents one of the toughest hiking experiences only suitable for those who are reasonably fit. The climbing route was popularly done from Kuala Tahan but being much further and requiring more days to complete, the focus route is now from Sungai Relau in Merapoh, which is 31.9km each way and takes three to four days for a round trip.

The trailhead from Sg Relau is at Kuala Juram, reached either by walking 18km or by four wheelers from the Wildlife and National Parks department that manages the accommodation facilities at the parks gateway area as well as to protect the park itself.


River Crossings

River crossing at Gunung Tahan via Merapoh TrailHalf a km into the trek, trekkers will have to do their first river-crossing, which is through a slow-moving clear stream just about half a metre deep and 30 metres across. But after a heavy downpour, the scenario could take a turn here as bad weather can seriously delay your journey, turning placid streams into raging torrents. Safety measures are crucial during any of the seven river-crossings that riddle the journey to the peak. Guides will look into the distant hills to ensure it is not raining on the mountains, before deciding to cross. The last crossing is at Kem Kor and along this stretch, there are several camping sites to break the journey or camp out the nights. Among them are Kem Kor, Lata Luis and Kuala Luis.

Several mineral water sources along this stretch of the route help replenish our drinking water supply. With the ample supply of water and the relatively less rugged slopes, many ardent climbers here categorise this part of the journey as just a warm-up for more challenges to come.


An Arduous Climb

Campsite Kubang, Gunung TahanThe real challenge came just after crossing the first mountain ridge beyond Kem Kor towards the Bukit Botak peak. The steep uphill climb sometimes required us to use all fours as we got closer to Bukit Taubat. Needless to say, it was a real test to our nerves and stamina. Several camping sites such as those at Kubang, Berlumut and Bonsai, provided the space for much-needed rest breaks. Natural water sources start to diminish from here and are limited to a couple of small streams.

You know you have passed through the difficult Bukit Taubat zone when you arrive at a spot called Permatang (Ridge).

With our wobbly knees and energy nearly drained out, the sight of Bukit Botak within reach gave us a new shot of hope that we will finally get to our destination without failing. Clouds were obstructing the panorama that lay ahead but we could see the dramatic drops on both of our sides. The place that we were standing on is after all, a ridge.

From here on, the trail was not difficult but the rainy weather made it quite muddy. However, the rain and strong chilly winds that soon ensued severely tested our nerves.

When we got closer to the 1943-metre Bukit Botak, the thinner air added to our exhaustion and steep rocky slopes did not make things easier. Our trail now is not a path but a small crevice that drains away rainwater.

The arduous part of the trek to Bukit Botak was quickly forgotten as we marveled at panoramic landscape before us, an experience of a lifetime that will remain etched in our memories for a long time.

Drinking water can be collected here before resuming the journey to the highest peak. Bukit Botak is also a popular camping site but the open space allows strong winds to sweep pass and torment any campers with bone chills. The view of the Titiwangsa Range from here is also simply awesome.


Conquering the Peak… At Long Last

Summit Gunung Tahan at year 2007Gunung Tahan is just 2.4km away and a good steady pace will get you to the top in one hour. It is an exhausting hour though but a flat piece of land and the sight of a signboard signal you have reached the peak, will sweep away all unsavory experiences or regrets.

Words cannot describe the exhilaration of reaching the peak. Colourful rhododendrons, wild orchids, pitcher plants, and striking young foliage added to the overwhelming feeling that was beginning to engulf us and redden our cheeks. Up here the distant, peaks of other challenging mountains, piercing through smokey looking clouds, can be seen.

Further down on the other side towards Kuala Tahan, Padang Camp awaits alluringly for visitors. But it takes 5 hours through a 7km journey to get there. The trail will pass by a World War II warplane wreckage. Some may want to proceed another 55km in their descent to reach Kuala Tahan, just for a different adventure.

Conquering the peak of Gunung Tahan is not the end of the journey. The real ending is when one reaches safely back to the trailhead where they started. Thus, proper planning is essential to ensure that the whole journey is smooth and ample supplies are catered for.

Sg Relau – The Gateway to Gunung Tahan

Rentis Gunung Tahan via Kuala Juram, Merapoh, PahangSg Relau is about 7km from the small town of Merapoh, which is half-way between Kuala Lumpur and the Kota Bahru road, about 100km from Kuala Lipis. You can get there by driving or taking the east coast bound train to the Merapoh station.

Apart from being the gateway to climbing Gunung Tahan, Sg Relau is a haven for the endangered and fully protected Kelah (Mahseer) as the fish is protected in a river sanctuary at Kuala Juram. Visitors can visit the Kelah sanctuary here and participate in feeding the fish or even swim with them. There is also a viewpoint along the way to Kuala Juram and those who cannot make the climb to Gunung Tahan, can get a good view of it from this 40-foot tall tower.

There are several caves in the vicinity before reaching the boundary of the national park. Among them are Gua Gajah and Gua Pegingat.

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rainmaker
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Re: Catatan Gunung Tahan

Post by rainmaker » 12 May 2011, 16:04

xkan ku lupa kenangan mendaki Tahan. mmg layak diberi nama Tahan
You tell me we can start the rain, You tell me that we all can change, You tell me we can find something to wash the tears away.

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