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Father & Son Backpacking 2009 (Son’s story)

In preparation for the 3D/2N backpacking expedition from 15th – 18thMarch 2009, the Rangers and their fathers had 2 training hikes so that the fathers could get into shape for the camp. For the Rangers, it would be just a walk in the park!

DAY 1: We arrived at Church at 6.00am. After Pastor Steven prayed for us, 7 fathers, 8 sons and 4 commanders started to get ready to go to for the exiting camping trip to Endou-Rompin National Park. We drove through Kluang town and stopped at Kahang just after 9:30am for breakfast and bought our packed lunch. After that we drove 54KM of dirt road through oil palm plantations and finally reached the Visitor Complex just after 1pm. We had our lunch and started walking with our backpacks. We walked on paved roads for one and a half hours to a river that was up to our waist line and even though crossing it wasn’t easy, I could see the river so clearly as if I am looking through a window. Along the way, we soaked up the serene atmosphere and marveled at the ageless vegetation. The slight drizzles did not dampen our mood, but rather enhanced the freshness of the air. Mist seemed to hang perpetually over distant mountains. Intermittently, we noticed Orang Asli settlements and marks of human occupation.

I am pretty sure that this is how God intended the Earth to be. Only this close to nature, are we able to appreciate God’s wonderful hand of creation.

After wading across the river we walked on for about 15 minutes through the forest trail and reached another river. A rope spanned the width of the river for support because of the strong current. After crossing the river, we continued walking for about half an hour before reaching our beautiful campsite- Kuala Marong. Our campsite was very peaceful and it has a river nearby that has crystal clear water. After we had finished setting up our tents we all had a nice bath in the river. It was 8.00pm when we started cooking our first dinner in the forest. After having our dinner we all got to socialize a bit before hitting our sleeping bags, listening to the cacophony of nature that was very relaxing. We dreamt the dreams of Adam and Eve.

DAY 2: Waking up with the sounds of birds singing, sounds of animals around us made us feel very much ‘one’ with nature. We cooked our breakfast at 7.30am and I have to admit – it kind of tastes nice even though it was only pre-packed, cooked food on mess tins. After having our breakfast, we had two choices, to hike up to a waterfall calledBuaya Sangkut (which would take 8 hours track back and forth) or go to Upih Gulling, a waterfall with bath-tub like pockets amidst powerful cascading falls (about 30 minutes walking distance) – after which a 15 minutes walk to a place called Tasik Air Biru follows. After taking a concensus, only 1 pair was eager to go to Buaya Sangkut. They went with some Commanders, and the others stayed back a while before making the hike to Upih Guling and Tasik Air Biru. I was hesitant about going to Buaya Sangkut because it sounded kind of tiring, but my friend did it anyways and both he and his father proved they weremade of ‘strong stuff’.

Around 10.00am, we waded across the river near our campsite and started walking towards Upih Gulling. When we reached the waterfall I knew why they called it a bathtub, because the water rushing near the rocks formed  pit-like pockets kind of resembling bathtubs. We didn’t really enjoy the view because we were occupied with checking our legs for leeches and it turns out, they seem to love crawling (and puckering up’) on you without you noticing it. We lost much blood!After checking our legs I could see the many bloody legs and I too had many bites, so we dipped in the ‘bathubs’ for a wash. After taking in the sights, we went back to our campsite. The journey was full of shouts because of the leeches and I found it quite hilarious because some of the boys were new to the experience of dealing with leeches.

We then proceeded to Tasik Air Biru. Upon reaching there, I saw that this part of the river that was really blue and seemingly untouched by pollution; the water was so clean and clear that I could see my own reflection and swimming in it was extremely nice and comforting. We played there for about an hour before heading back to camp for lunch. After that we had 3 hours to play in the river near our camp site before breaking camp because we were waiting for the party at Buaya Sangkut to return. We had a great time in the river and when my friend from Buaya Sangkut came back, he told us that the waterfall was really a majestic sight and there was a rock formed like a crocodile. We broke camp and started our journey to a new campsite:- Kuala Jasin.By the time we finished breaking camp, it started to rain so we had to make haste because we needed to cross the river with the rope before the current grew stronger. Tracking through the jungle trail in the pouring rain was an awesome experience in itself, and crossing the river was great too. The hike took us about an hour to reach our new campsite.

After setting up our tents we washed up and started to cook our dinner. I had a really nice dinner because I wanted to finish most of my food, so we ended up having a 2-course meal. That, with the scent of natural air, the sound of the river, and birds chirping made it even more majestic. When we finished our dinner it was raining again, so we hurried into our tents although it was only 8.00 pm. However, since we had such a tiring day, it was relatively easy for us to fall asleep (very early).

DAY 3: I woke up to the sound of the rushing river, and the birds chirping. It made me appreciate nature even more. We had our breakfast and broke camp to walk back to the NERC (an education and research center). We walked for about an hour before reaching NERC and at the same time, took a pit stop. After that, another 30 minutes walk to the Visitor’s Complex (where we began our journey). We took a bath there and were heading back home.

After this backpacking trip, the feeling I had was simply amazing and if we had another one of this, I would most certainly go again. I cherish the shared moments I had with my father. (And by the way, my father did really well himself and he really did look after me, and for the first time in many of my camping/backpacking trips, I did not come back sick. Praise God!