6:25 a.m. 

I’m sitting on the staircase, lazily chewing my cheese sandwich. The meeting point is at the Bell’s court in 5 minutes time… and dad is still in the shower. *sigh*

6:50 a.m.

We finally arrived. And oh, btw, we drifted. DRIFTED. FOR TWO WHOLE SECONDS. MY DAD DRIFTED. I mentally issued Dr. Angus a professionalism pinform for giving a bad example of punctuality and proper safe driving. As I stood there, staring at the dark window of the Dean’s office, a great amount of thoughts were gushing through my head: my pinform for non-leather shoes during CSC, how much I  want a mug of teh Tarik *drooling*, I have to study, my notes are with me, where will I find time to sit and go through them properly, I have to stop being late to lectures( blame my dad), I’m still sleepy, though I was shocked and bemused by that two-second-first-dad-drift-in-my-life (not like I haven’t drifted before, Steven -.-). Zhi Jiun and Rizwana were riding with us, and the fact we were having company turned out as a dose of additional thrill to my “first hiking trip” excitement.

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE~ *on our way* … *out of EduCity* 😀

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7:30 – 8:30 a.m.

We had no idea which direction to drive… But with the help of our mobile GPS (we no need no Peter to show us da way), we were able to dash through the highway towards the Lambak mountain. By the way, our GPS eventually led us to a Police station on the opposite side of our mount-to-be-conquered.

8:45 a.m

Finally, here. Our position from being the third on the road switched to arriving the last. *urgh*

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9:00 a.m

Alas, our adventure begins…
Due to the absence of any timing device, I will further omit any exact indication of time to avoid any inconsistencies.
The hiking trail of Gunung  Lambak is in a shape of a heart, therefore has two peaks. My lovely Malay girls and I decided to take the left starting point. Mainly because my dad was there…with a first aid kit. Just in case there would be bruises, joint dislocations, major injuries or… any life-threatening monkey attacks D:

And there they were. Les Monkeys. Staring at us. Judging with every squint. Anxiously retreating at every eye-contact. Accompanied by the shrieks of passers-by (okay a bit exaggerating here). In the middle of the trail we were also able to enjoy the sight of loudly conversing leaf monkeys in the trees. I was quite exhausted by that time and a part of me ( probably the envious daydreaming one) wished I had the ability and strength to swing with ease towards the top so I could finally enjoy the sun that teasingly sent little warming rays through treetops high above our heads…

More than 1,5 hours of climbing up felt like my typical 3 hour exercise in the gym after ravishing a cheesecake or two, when the guilt is like a massive weight that forces me to push myself and work harder, after which I instantly fall asleep for at least extra 3 hours! *sobs*. It seemed there was no end to the trail and it would eventually lead us up to the sky (naive me). Me and my girls made a few water, chocolate and banana breaks *thank you, cuties* that reminded me how valuable could be such little things like an extra drop of water or another second to pause and breath in fresh, clean air. The five of us: Azwa, Rasyida, Izzah, Hidayah and me- have gone through a lot of struggle and muscle pain by the time we reached peak #1. It was absolutely great, not only because I reached the top, but also because I was given care and trust of others.

Around 10:50 I was able to enjoy the breath-taking view. On the glorious top on Gunung Lambak, with its adorable rusty sign and beautiful steel tower, for the first time in my life I had such an urge to hug a metal post. After a bit of resting and munching, I decided to make a wreath while waiting for other Numedians, but the flowers didn’t have stems flexible enough to be bended and entwined in a circle, so I, sadly, gave up.

From that point we’ve split up, as I planned to conquer the second peak. During the downhill travel I managed to slide off a steep area, which caused me to run and grab a tree with all my might. Unfortunately, the trunk was partially eaten up by ants, so the brittle part broke under the pressure of my body and I was smashed against a bigger tree blocking my way. Part of me was thanking God for saving my life, the other part was wondering what was going through Peter’s mind, since he was right behind me. It took us about 30 minutes to reach the divarication where majority, or let’s say the smart guys, decided to descend, while a group of 10 (including me, Azwah and Rasyida from our little group) continued their journey to point #2. I was wondering how my father was coping, being left far behind.

As we were approaching the steepest pathway I’ve EVER seen, the little voice inside kept on telling me this wasn’t the best of ideas. Who knew I should’ve listened to it… But instead, I cleared my throat, started a song and ran upwards. I bet those seniors at the back could see nothing but a magical singing mountain goat in me, but I was inspired, I was ready to sweat another gallon.

The ascent wasn’t as long, as it was…ehm…vertical. Well, almost. I kept on playing “Owl City- To the sky” in my head while doing my best to grab all the branches within the reach to pull myself upwards. The only positive thing during that climb was probably that I had one more banana and a chocolate chip cookie :3

AAAAAND FINALLY,  the second top!.. But there was no any mark at all. It was just a green mini-plateau, a little field with two plastic chairs. TWO PLASTIC CHAIRS. I hope they’re made of biodegradable plastic. We were all displeased and ended up grumpily sitting in a group and grasping for air. But the chairs weren’t the only thing that surprised me. There was one nice musical guy that pulled out of nowhere a quarter of a burger. High up in the mountains. 1080 meters above the sea. THE RECOGNISABLE AND NEVER CHANGING SMELL OF A McDonald’s BURGER.

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After a short while, I wandered seeking for the pathway down. But all in sight was a questionable narrow steep slide covered by leaves and twigs. And probably snakes. Yikes. Three of us girls decided not to go ahead, but wait for the others instead. Peter, as a most fearless warrior, was to lead us. As the voice inside me creepily sang “Imagine dragons- Lost cause”, I decided to do something and got the last two blank A4 sheets I had in my folder with NME notes. As we walked deeper into the unknown, I kept on tearing bits of paper and attaching them to branches and stumps to mark our path, while listening to Peter complain about walking into cobwebs. I guess the main reason why we stubbornly kept on marching forward was the presence of a few red “pathway” indicators and cuts on trees. We wandered down the hill until we reached a point where there was obviously no possibility of going any further.

And there, stuck in the middle of a tropical jungle, with the humidity level that provides an instant in-shirt sauna and no network coverage at all, I had nothing more to do rather than take a sip of water and offer my group-mates a durian candy. We definitely had to turn and find our way back following my cute white paper indicators. Despite starting to feel scared and a bit helpless, I was able to reassure myself that this was just a little draw back. Our retreat was still not without obstacles, but provided us some story-telling material (who got lost in the mountains and actually lived to be able to brag about it?) and gave another calf-stretching opportunity. This event revealed the meaning of teamwork and friendly support.

We returned to our two-chaired hill to investigate where to go from there. It turned out there was a pathway located to the right of the ascending track. And we missed it, since earlier after hours (exaggerating) of climbing up, our confused brains couldn’t process the view of those mesmerising minimalistic coloured chairs. As a result, the initial way down was just an experiment in loop-hiking.

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We found the real trail and hurriedly descended. The two constantly repeated exclamations during our journey back to civilisation were “Guys, hurry up!” and “Devina, it’s steep ahead!”. I, Peter and Rizwana were moving forward leaping on the protruding intertwined roots, others not far behind. There was a great surprise awaiting. A tiny fresh spring brought an incomparable heavenly relief from the heat with its crystal clear ice cold water. It gave a new boost of energy to continue our journey.

Though earlier Peter told everyone to be at the meeting point by 1 noon, our group of adventurous 10 turned out to be more than an hour late. But all the Numedians were still there waiting for us. This made me feel that our university unites people, providing us a second family.

On the way home in the car, I keep on smiling remembering our plan with girls: in case we get lost for real and have to keep moving forward after days of wandering in the jungle, we would tie a string to the last chocolate bar and throw it few meters ahead, hungrily crawl to it and throw it again…

3:30p.m
I’m sitting in the Machop kawasan rehat with my dad, Rizwana and Zhi Jiun, sipping teh Tarik I’ve been craving for since morning and being grateful for such a wonderful day filled with excitement, bonding time and adventures in the wild. I definitely say yes to hiking and will impatiently wait for the next trip opportunity by the NUMed outdoor activity club.


Lessons learned:
– A4 sheets are useful even in the jungles
– always bring spare clothes, whenever, wherever, we’re gonna be together~
– chocolate bars are not just a source of fast energy… can save life by making you go another mile(don’t forget the string)
– listen to your inner voice
– while climbing up, plan for the descent
– when in doubt, don’t…
– stay in a group, preferably of 10, hopefully one of them has food for all
– never bring fast food to mountain tops, it can spoil an experience…if it isn’t enough for everyone
– you never know how strong the tree is unless you smash yourself against it
– stating the obvious to Devina won’t make her or others go forward any faster
– a tree is never sure to catch you. Peter is.

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About The Author

Katya Aranan

I'm a little mix of everything. My mission is to make people smile :D

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