I woke up with extremely sore legs at about 5:30am. I had a solid 6-hour sleep, but it felt like just 3 hours. I could hear the raindrops on the metal roof. For a brief moment, I considered going back to sleep. But I received a text message from Esther, asking me if we're still on for jungle trekking. I in turn texted Liaw, asking him for decision; and he replied that we should all go to the meeting place in Donggongon before we can decide. This was the second day of a back-to-back trail training (30th & 31st August).
I arrived in Donggongon at about 7am and found Liaw and Esther waiting in front of the public library. It was still drizzling, but we decided that we should still proceed with the programme anyway. Some people, as expected, did not turn up, while others went straight to the starting point at the Kibambangan Water Resort.
In the end only Liaw and I were from the original group of trekkers the day before. The rest of them from Part 2 had opted either to rest, or to continue their training at the Bukit Padang hills. Almost immediately after we started, I could feel my quads burning up. I thought I would soon get the cramps. Thankfully, however, shortly before we started it stopped raining. We went up the steep path as usual, but when we reached the dirt road, it was exceptionally slippery.
Liaw was soon ahead of the rest, but Tania was tagging along. I could still remember that during one of the previous trips, I ended up walking alone with Tania from Terian. And I told her that "I suck on the hills". I meant that in a slang way, of course, so I hope she didn't misunderstand me—that I meant "suck" literally. Obviously, I had no intention of sucking any part of a woman's body on the hills, but, y'know, sometimes figures of speech can be quite mind-boggling.
Anyway, to continue with the story, we remained mostly together in a group, except for Lawrence, the forestry fellow who was terribly out of shape for this trip. I was for the most part walking together with Esther, Velerie and her sister, Judy, the self-proclaimed "biasa punya doctor".
A little over two hours later, Tania emerged from the opposite direction. She had only planned to trek up the hills for about two hours before turning back. The rest of us continued up the hills and finally reached the top at Pondok Tinipot where we rested while waiting for Lawrence.
We spent quite some minutes at the pondok, and Esther took the time to amuse herself with this colourful bug.
When Lawrence finally arrived, complaining about cramps and aching knees, we proceeded on the trail and then began descending to Terian shortly after. A little while later, Liaw, Esther and Judy left Velerie, Lawrence and I behind. The three of us were doing a nice comfortable pace when suddenly Lawrence, with his keen eyes, suddenly stopped when he saw this hardly-visible frog. If I were alone, I doubt that I would spot this creature, but now that it has been brought to my attention, I, too, spent a few moments observing it. To be honest, I can't see anything special about it, except that perhaps it has a striking resemblance with Bernard Dompok.
Further down the path, while we were doing a good brisk-walking pace, Lawrence suddenly stopped and told us to go ahead, saying that he needed to rest his legs for a bit. So Velerie and I went ahead; and I carefully refrained from telling Velerie that "I suck on the hills".
Well, I thought Velerie was doing great going downhills, and I found myself doing almost my racing pace keeping up with her! Eventually, we arrived at the stream where we had to cross by leaping onto boulders. Velerie decided to play safe and avoided risking falling off the mossy rocks by simply wading through the stream. I tried to balance on the rocks, but slipped and ended up soaking both feet in the water too.
We climbed a hill and reached the top where we could get a panoramic view of Terian.
Crossing the hanging bridge. We saw Liaw and the two girls waiting under a tree. We spent perhaps 15 minutes or so waiting for Lawrence. It was about 12:15pm then. We were beginning to get worried for Lawrence when he suddenly appeared from across the other side of the bridge.
We made our way to the top of a hill where lunch had been arranged. We took off our wet shoes and socks and dried them in the sun. And then while we were waiting for lunch to be served, a female cat which was pathetically in heat was going around, crying meow-meow, pleading for someone to relieve her urge! And just so that we are clear about the word "heat", I didn't mean heat as the one below as recommended by John Chin for this trip!
Anyway, Esther gave the poor cat a stroke on its head and she absolutely got a kick out of it. Ummm... I mean the cat got a kick, not Esther (no, I couldn't tell for sure whether Esther was also in heat then). But after a while, when nobody could do anything more for the cat, it finally decided to hit on our wet shoes. Damn!... where are the male cats when you need them to do their job?
After waiting for a few minutes, we all sat down to a glorious lunch. Very simple dishes but they all tasted so good, as can be seen from Liaw's gesture below.
Throughout lunch, we could still hear the poor cat crying meow-meow. After lunch we spent a few more minutes resting. Finally, at about 1:30pm, we started our return journey to Kibambangan. I was fairly impressed with the girls, crossing the bridge—or what's left of it—with no sign of fear at all!
As usual, the climb from Terian to the midway shelter was very punishing; but especially so for one who has done another trip the previous day. I thought we were gonna get caught in the rain, but we survived the whole trip without any rain.
Somewhere in the middle of the jungle, the girls suddenly walked a little faster, and I followed suit. In fact, after a while, I decided to overtake them. I don't know if it was the glorious lunch in Terian, or was it because I couldn't wait to get home in the hope of finding Mia behaving like the Terian cat, but I reached the clearing at a little after 4pm. From that point it would take only an hour, give and take, to reach Kibambangan.
We arrived back in Kibambangan around 5:30pm, but we had to wait for Lawrence who was suffering from severe cramps. In the end the girls managed to get hold of him on the phone. It was fast getting dark; Velerie and Judy, and I decided to make our move, whereas Liaw and Esther waited for Lawrence.
Well, two days of madness. I think I must have burnt at least 5000 calories over the two-day workout. It was truly an amazing workout, but in the end I am still alive, though perhaps not exactly kicking because my legs are just sore beyond words.