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.
We did not suffer the food side as Baldev took care of everything.
~ 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.
~ 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.