Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trip to Gunung Tahan

About three months back i got this wonderful opportunity to follow my friends and the Sikh Camping Troopers to go hiking to Gunung Tahan. Below is the summary of the whole story written by Giani Lakhbir and followed by my experience.
Weeks of preparation in terms of fitness brought excitement on the night of excursion by bus to the jungles of Taman Negara. Eight of us all hyped up, ready to go to try our limits on territory alien to city living folks. The challenge would bring eighty five km of walk on gradients almost reaching right angles for six days through natural but chartered terrain of Taman Negara. Old hats like Baldev, Jagajit, Manjit and Sher had their exuberance mellowed in proportion to their number of trips there. It was the new recruits, Phobinder, Ajit and Navjeet, that exhilaration for jungle tracking was bursting its reams.

At 10pm on 21st Feb 2007 from Putra World Trade Center the journey by bus would begin, a four hour journey to Merapuk, from where private taxis ply the route to reach camp at Taman Negara. Sleep after 3am at the camp was easy as was waking at 6am to wash up, nitnem and breakfast before setting out to register at the Taman Negara office. The morning brought Ed and Will, two English men who were just hoping to hop on a group for their climb to Gunung Tahan. They couldn’t have fitted better, as wavelengths synchronized and group dynamism became fluid. The one way trip from Jeram to Kuala Tahan, by way of Gunung Tahan is nothing short of a six day marathon with back packs that only slowly begin to get lighter as food is consumed and the jungle fertilized.

The first day is a grueling six hour journey from Jeram to Camp Kor. Bathing in the streams of Camp Kor removes fatigue and acclimatizes one to jungle living. A leisure wait for nightfall and campfire followed by dinner from our caterer Baldev brings laughs and intoxicate the spirit of togetherness. Rehraas was the balm that soothed and disciplined the groups froggy habits. After Rehras it was time for Viakhia and talks on Sikhs way of Life. The two foreigners and the guide Kimi participated by observing and leaving their ears open.

The second day brought new challenges as the marathon walk to the peak became a target of obsession. Japji Sahib, Benti Chaupai and a string of one liners from Gurbani and its related themes kept the spirits of the group from dampening and tiring. Hours of quiet walking and hours of noisy strolling strangely lifts the mind to higher stimulations as one balance his faith with reality on situations that could develop and hinder smooth passage through the kingdom of animal territory. A fair share of injuries was borne by Manjit and Phobinder as their shoes tore into their skin causing painful sores but the momentum created within the group tacked them along.

The second night and third morning at the peak unfolded the Khalsa Nishan and the SCAT Banner. Photographs were taken on mission accomplished. The push to Camp Teku from the peak on the third day was a fourteen hour journey that tested the effectiveness of group coherence pitching its fastest and slowest trekker with nerves frayed between positive thinking, energy levels and injury prone. The bystanders, our animal friends must have watched this motley circus passing through their territory adorning lighted headlamps and dangling water bottles resting noisily and walking turtlish as the day’s journey took its toll. It was after 10pm and after getting all wet with intermittent rains along the way that the day’s mission was completed. It was some satisfaction after a little wash-up at the stream that finally cooled our souls for a good night’s rest.

The track from Camp Teku to final destination at Kuala Tahan is a journey between two and three days. It depends on degree of boredom now setting in offsetting sweaty walks to the innate attraction of metalled roads and hotel stay hot baths. Democracy finally dictated three days was the choice of majority as the ten tested their skills in polluting the law of the jungle with their democratic ideals. The animals also needed time to wean of our presence, so therefore a longer stay was only logical. The monkeys must have cheered as DNA patterns are much closer in exclusion to the annoyance of their other jungle creed. It is not astonishing that sufferance is relative if only animals could complain and God sits in judgment. Maybe that’s why all animals keep very much away from the chartered routes of humans through their territory. Another three days of dining, walking, bathing and daily prayers added trunks of treasure memories in regards to the trip.

It was the fifth night that saw a huge branch from a tree one hundred feet up broke and fell like a missile right in front of our camp doorstep, penetrating one foot into the earth. No one could figure out whether it was plain luck that saved us from the jungles unknown or Gods intervention as He was duty bound to lead us out free from any serious mishaps to the safety of our homes. Whatever it is the adventure carries its own inspirations that soothes the soul and let it brush against God’s guiding hand seen by some and missed by others.

Finally, I thank our guide Mr Kimi, who had his own share of humorous stories to tell about half baked adventurers experimenting with the perils of jungle tracking. The sixth day journey finally ended with Gurjeet driving the fourteen sitter van of SNSM to Kuala Tahan to bring us back to the mundane rush of the rat race in the concrete jungle we call home.
~ Phobinder posing at the waterfall ~
Pity him, during the hiking halfway, his shoes was injuring his feet. His feet was as big as a giant's feet and red. It was scary to look at his feet. but he still manage to go to the peak. He was a good companion as he took care of me. Me and Navjeet disturb him all the way and we had fun
doing some pangey all three of us.
~ Manjeet & Sher as usual disturbing each other ~
Manjeet and Sher all the way was entertaining us as both of them disturbed and argured jokingly among each other and we laughed till we tergolek. Manjeet's feet also got injured and had cuts here and there, he was the one badly injured but still with great will power he managed to complete the expedition, he was great. Sher was one cool guy and was relax all the way as he went through many of these hikings before. Sher was there entertained everyone with his great stories.
~ Sher & Kimi crossing the river ~

~ Without Baldev we would be left in Hunger ~
Firstly, MEH BALDEV SINGH DA BHOUT BHOUT THANVAD KARDA HAA, BHOUT BHOUT...Without him there is no trip. He was the organiser and leader of the trip. He took care of everyone and encouraged everyone all the way. He also cooked the food for all of us, we learned a little bit of cooking from him, lolz.
~ Having a short break to recover our energy ~

~ Makan, makan ~
We were like having party there, we ate all the TOP FORM food there, we had Mamak Mee, Veg. Rendang, Rotia, Veg. Mock meat, Corn Flakes, Pappar and not forgetting Cha.
We did not suffer the food side as Baldev took care of everything.
We pitied the Englishman as they only were eating Maggie Mee all the way, we made some extra food and offered them. They enjoyed Punjabi Khana.

~ Camfire ~
We had a campfire on the first night, as we reached there early. We all sang songs, talked and dry our clothes in the fire. The first night sleep in jungle was damm nice, when you close your eyes, and hear the jungle sound, wahh it was fantastic.
~ Jagajit as usual letgoing some "Con Job" to the Gorey, hehe ~
Jagajit was the havoc person during the hiking. He entertained everyone with his jokes and his stories. He took care of me during the Hiking, he was behind me and make sure that I was ok. He thought me a few steps and skills of hiking, and on the second last day, he did something to my beg and all of the sudden it was light, I shouted at him, WHY, WHY now only?? cannot do it earlier ah, hehe. He was the fastest one during the hiking, very fast he will reach the next checkpoint.
The Englishman Ed & Will were interesting people. Learned alot of their lifestyle, their country, culture and lots more.
Normally when anyone reaches a checkpoint, he will shout the JAKARA and who ever behind will reply. This indicates to make sure everyone on the back is ok. On the last day, the Ed & Will were among the earliest to reach the finish and they shouted BOLEH SO NI HAAL at us. We were like blank, then we answered SAT SRI AKAAL. We were like WAH!?!?

~ Jagajit & Manjeet Making their Jaap Sahib "SHUDE" from giani ji~

Giani Ji as a elderly person also manage to hike till the peak, he was great and fit. Giani ji took care of everyone like their children. He was the Doctor of this trip. He massaged everone and applied medicine for everyone. He made sure everyone was allright and he would be at the back of everyone making sure that no one was lost and injured. We also learned alot of Stories regarding the Gurbani and Path from him. He was very knowledegeable and shared alot with us.

~ Phobinder at the peak ~
We managed to reach the peak on the Second day, but the second day was the most tiring, tiring means really tiring trip. As we had to hike very very high to reach the peak. When all of reached the top, we were like Waheguru Tera Shukar Hai. During this whole trip, whoever never remember God before this also will start remembering him. hehe, At night it was very very cold and watching the stars at night was beautiful, Very nice Dating place we thought. Lolz
We could not stay long on the peak as there was no water supply there.

~ Me and Navjeet at the peak, very very cold ~

Navjeet was my companion besides Phobinder all the way. We were together during the climb and all the way. We had fun and enjoyed ourself. He took care of me and made sure i was behind him. We were like challenging each other on who will reach first, we tried to catch up with Jagajit. We shared stories and talk jokes all the way.

~ At the peak, with the banner and nishan sahib ~

The last person is "Kimi The Guide". He was another fun and jovial person. We were very lucky to get a person like him. Every night all of us will sit down and listen to his experience during his trips before this. There were alot of intersting stories. He made sure everyone on the Camp was ok and looked after everyone during the hike.

Normally, all of us will sing kirtan here and there and most of the time we will sing the TUHI TUHI SIMRAN. Suddenly the next day morning, Kimi woke up and started singing Tuhi Tuhi. hahaha, it was damm funny. He was telling " banyak best la itu lagu yang kamu orang nyani" lol.

~ Everyone Smiling as they reached the finish point ~
It was a havoc experience. I would like to thank everyone for making this possible and taking care of me.
All of you out there should go hiking to Gunung Tahan at least once in the life and you all will know how hard it feels like during the Guru Gobind Singh Ji's time when they use to live in the jungle.


Anonymous said...

wah paji wah...
wat a trip it was... learned a lot 2 survive ya... life was gud without phone and any kind of connection with the world... other then connecting 2 d 9 of us in d jungle...

Anonymous said...

Gajkay Jaykara Jakavey!! Jo Fateh Bulavey Nihal Ho Javey!!

Sheda Muridha Dey Manu Sar Pavey!! SaT SrI AkaL !!!!!!

Deg Teg Fateh!! Gurkhalsa Ji Ki Har!! Mehdan Fateh!!

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa....Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh !!!!!

i loved d way jaag used 2 say this... haha... d whole thing he remixed into his version... lol...