It was another fine day for a journey. Days before our humble journey, we have decided to walk this journey and we told our plan to Mr Wan Heng Yuen (indicated by Heng Yuen).
He suggested a walk down from Gohtong Jaya as walking down a journey is far more easier than walking on a straight road or uphill as we are planning to walk a 40km journey (plus minus 20km per day). Though I have totally forgotten the exact date, (or day, Heng Yuen hated us for not doing any log books) I think it was a Saturday till Sunday event after our Saturday meetings.
As we have a quite a large group, we decided to split into 2 groups which are the (Chia) Tong Hong Group led by (obviously) Tong Hong and the Dominic Au Group (must I say the leader’s name again, as it is pretty obvious also). Tong Hong’s group consists of all the form 3 (2004) guys except me (Wong Kuan Jhun, Chin Seong Bin, Au Yong Min Hao, Chaw Yuet Xin and Julian Wong) and left Puduraya an hour or two earlier to start the journey earlier as preplanned.
While Dominic’s group started an hour or two later as planned, this leaves Dominic Au, Tan Zhi Wei, Lee Wei Sam, Mok Tau Voon @ Chong Tau Voon, Woo Weng Leong, Chew Yat Chung and me in Puduraya to wait for the next bus to go to Gohtong Jaya. I think as a few of us have not taken our lunch, they went to buy some food and raincoat (as it looks like it was going to rain) in Puduraya.
As 1530hours is steadily arriving, we went down the stairs to wait for the bus. But as a normal Malaysian habit, the bus was as expected – late. We then boarded the “Genting Express” as it passes through Gohtong Jaya to Genting hilltop (for the resort visitors).
Too bad we have wasted part of the fee as it includes the cable car ride to Genting. Led by our ‘leader’ (an experienced Weng Leong who came to Gohtong Jaya before) to go down the other road to Ulu Yam to start our journey. When we are walking there, the rain was pouring. We were forced to use our raincoats to start the journey.
As we walk, we stumbled a few not-the-right-road problems, but as Heng Yuen always say: you can’t be lost in a town (I think Gohtong Jaya can be considered as one), we found our way down. But the mist is starting to form at that exact time, which made a few of us to shiver and to nurse our numbing fingers. And to make the situation worse, the rain starts to pour heavier.
Luckily when we start to descend, the rain start to become a drizzle, and along the road, road-side-shades were erected and we can keep ourselves (a bit) dry from it. But a scene made us hate ourselves for getting the bus early in Gohtong Jaya – the bus that we rode earlier is in this building, the place where we got our shade. We laughed, still continuing our journey.
As taught by Gary and other scout leaders, we should always walk on the side of the road that always faces the traffic or against the traffic; we walked on the right of the road for the whole journey (which includes the next day). As it was drizzling, we walked slowly, careful not to trip, down the “Ulu Yam – Genting Highway” with our raincoats sticking onto each of us like glue is to paper.
On the first lag of it, we pass by a guard house (pondok), so one of us (I think it was Weng Leong) asked us to stop and take pictures at the guard house. After that few pictures and refreshments (or should I say dinner, which is Tiger biscuits; by the way, it tasted really good, we continued our journey after explaining that we are on a journey to the guard who is deeply interested.
At first, we walked fast down the road as we thought the Tong Hong’s group was far. While we were walking, we can actually see the weather turning slowly into darkness as at that time, it was already past 1800 hours. We were forced to use our torch light as it was reaching 7.00pm. At first, we were walking, talking, chatting and singing energetically down the slopes. However, the longer we hyper-thread, the worst our legs are starting to scream.
Then before long, I was at the end of the line, chatting with Tau Voon about everything to take my mind of the pain. Our chat topics range from scouting, to guitar-ing, to the journey itself and in the end, the topic of favour for boys. Then, Dominic suggest that we use less of our torch light as many cars past by the place along our journey, to conserve the batteries. So, a few of us stopped using our batteries, just a handful still using it in front of the line to avoid cars crashing at us.
By the way, I forgot to mention that along the road, there were NO street lights; if there were, they are not working fine. Along the journey, we met a few Good-Samaritans who offer us a lift down, including a saloon car and a lorry. Although they were kind, we have to turn down the offer as scouts are not suppose to accept any help from others (especially strangers) and we are not suppose to use any money during the journey.
As the slopes were getting not so steep, we are walking on a straight road. I thought we have finally reached our destination, at last. Then Dominic told us that we are forewarned with a straight road, then a few slopes more to go before we reach the end of this road (not this lag of the journey). My heart sank slightly as my legs are now screaming desperately for help, though I have stopped a few times during the journey. Then, we saw a glimpse of flash light in front of us as the roads now were no longer winding, but straight and we can see far.
Then instantly, we know that we have stumbled upon the group in front of us – Tong Hong’s group. We quickly walk faster to meet them. But as we shouted and flashed our torch to the front, we can hear clearly someone said ‘ZAU AH’ (means ‘go quickly’ in Cantonese). Then a few laughs. Like this, we stumbled upon them a few times though we can’t see them clearly, but we know they are not far from us. At that time, it struck on us on how fast we were walking.
By the time we reach the junction to Ulu Yam, we counted that our group actually walk about 5 to 6 kilometres per hour (km/h) as we estimated a four hour walk along the journey of an estimated 20km journey.
We continued to walk to the police station after a quick call to Heng Yuen, telling him that we have reached the place. While walking to the police station to report ourselves, we past by a cemetery and then we laughed as we know Seong Bin has a fright for ghost and cemeteries. Then, we sat down at the station while they make a quick report to the police.
The police officers were amazed at our dedication to do the journey. They also asked us a few questions about the journey. At that time, it was past 12am (I think), and we left to take a short journey to our camp site. Heng Yuen was so kind to send us there with his ever-reliable Jeep Cherokee as it was late and it was quite far to the camp site (thanks…).
When we reach there, we quickly take all the things down. Next, we split up: some of us prepared our simple dinner (or should I say supper) and the others erected the tents. At this time, Yuet Xin’s emergency ‘torch’ light came in handy as it was very bright. I think we ate Maggi Mee that day (Heng Yuen allow us to eat it though he still bans the mee) as it was the easiest to cook and ready.
After a simple meal and a few words from Heng Yuen, we quickly went into a sleep as we were all exhausted from the journey (Heng Yuen went back home as he points out why sleep in tents when his house has air-conditioners and a comfortable bed).
The next day, we woke up late as we can’t really wake up that early as we were still tired from last night’s journey. We woke up at about half past eight in the morning to refresh ourselves and cook breakfast, which is bread and meehoon.
When Heng Yuen arrived later on, (when we were stating to cook our meehoon) he points out again that the amount of meehoon that we bought is too much as a pack can be eaten by 8 person and we bought 3 or 4 packs, and we want to cook it. It is more than enough. But too bad, we have already thrown all the meehoon in.
Then, as there was a stream near the campsite, we checked it out, as we can’t see clearly at night, the sunlight shone upon it reveals that it was not suitable for drinking (not a fish was spotted at the river) we left quickly away from the river. After all the packing and washing, we allowed Tong Hong’s group to go first as they were suppose to lead the journey. We left to pack everything else into Heng Yuen’s Jeep.
At near 10.30am, we left the campsite, trying to make it cleaner than before; before it dawn on us that the place was actually a dumpsite-to-be. We start the journey refreshed, although my legs start to ache quickly, and the weigh of my bag start to make the gravitational force stronger.
We were no longer going through slopes (down), we were walking on winding slopes (uphill). We passed by many cars as this was another one-way only two-road-highway.
To make it worse, the weather was not helpful. At first, it was very sunny. Our sweat was bathing our uniforms. Then the cars pass by at a very alarming speed. It almost bumped into us for a few times. At that very end, Zhi Wei was very kind to offer a bag exchange as his bag was as light as feather, while mine was as heavy as an elephant, being can’t bear that my look that was killing the whole group and slowing the group down. At that moment (only), I feel like crying as I was touched by a fellow scout.
From there on, we chat lesser and lesser as they called me to save my energy to walk on (and I think they were tired and also, we were out of topics to chat). Then, on the second lag, the weather start to become very funny as we were forced to wear and take off our raincoats as it rained and stopped a few times.
At the end, I resolved to wear it though it was not raining, fear of another of the weirdness again. Subsequently, we stopped by at a part of the large roadside to have a simple meal (picnic) of bread with kaya. Then we continued to journey through the obstacles.
While we were walking, we took a few pictures of the place and were reminded of the group in front to have cleared the track in the GPS (Global Positioning System). After what it seemed like days, we reached a sign board signifying that we are crossing a border to another district (I think it was Gombak). And at that very moment, it had rained (and still was at that time), we saw a few water-holes with water gushing out from it. Seeing so many people stopped by to refill their water supply, we refilled our water to drink the refreshing water (or as they called it Holy Water).
Later on, we stumbled upon a waterfall. It was a nice scene and we stopped by to rest and take pictures. Dominic did remind us that the more we rest, the more rest you will need later on as you will feel more and more tired. After a short break, we continued again. Then, we saw a lake ahead, but also the prospect of very tall and sloping hills. We had to slowly walk to it again. And this time, I’m really the last in the line. Dominic made fun of me that Chew Yat Chung was a better journey-walker though it was his first time, with his bag heavily laden with books and shoes without socks and a swollen heels (Ya, I’m embarrassed, happy?).
At the lake side, we can see the large lake which was said to have crocodiles (or alligators, forgot). And at this place also, like the day earlier journey, we stumbled upon again on Tong Hong’s group. From here onwards, it is near the ending point of the journey.
Finally, at about 4pm, we reached the end of this one-way two-road-highway. We stopped by a small shop to buy some food and drinks and to sit down to rest our legs. We called Heng Yuen again to confirm our existence (he may think we got lost or something) after the journey.
We then, walk a short journey to reach the bus stop to take a bus back the school. Along the way, Tong Hong found SOMETHING on the roadside that made us laugh (sorry, but it is not very suitable to say it aloud here) and he pocketed it. Unfortunately, it rained again. But this time, it is when we finally get into the bus when the rain gets heavy and pouring cats and dogs. We all got excited and talked about our journey. Along that one hour something journey back to Kuala Lumpur, many of us slept in the bus (including me) and we are all tired.
Finally, we reached Kota Raya. When we walked down the bus, our achy legs start to shout in protest, as if refusing the walk back to school. We have a lot of fun during the journey, although it was not a very good walk. Well, I have quite swear not to do it for a long time as my legs ached and suffered for a very long time as I was not a frequent exerciser. I hope the boys will try it but with a better place to have their journey.
Ps: This is my version of the story. Some parts may not tally with Au Yong Min Hao’s. For his side of the story, please refer to his post.