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Published: June 17th 2014
I remember signing up for Travelblog with the intention to record my travel to Mountain Kinabalu 2 years back, when I was a 17 year-old teen who was greatly inspired by the bloggers here. Also by that age, I was just a boy who wanted to do things my peers find them challenging. I thought conquering Mountain Kinabalu will somehow make me feel good about myself, at least I will always remember that I was at the top of southeast Asia before turning 20.
Let's get back when I was 17, when the dream of conquering the highest mountain in my country begins, I really aspired to climb Mt Kinabalu, I remember telling my classmates about this little dream of mine and how I planned my trip with or without the blessing from my parents. And so I told my mom, she thought I was too big-headed and told me I won't have enough stamina and wasn't "athletic" enough. Okay..feeling discouraged and angry of being looked down upon. I decided to continue my plan without their supports morally and financially. I worked during year-end holiday that year and tried to be thrifty in my daily expenses. Well, to cut the
story short, I did not save enough for the trip.
But the plan was not cancelled, it was postponed until last year AirAsia having Free Seat promotion, I was lucky to get 2 ways tickets to Kota Kinabalu inclusive of miscellanous payments with only RM123.4. Thinking that I was going to turn 20 soon and have not done anything exceptional outside of school, I thought this was the chance I do something significant in my teenage life. My classmate thought this trip was too costly for them and so I asked a good friend of mine, Hang, whom I knew in National Service camp, without a second of hesitation he agreed to join this mission.
On the day we started our climb, the weather was lovely and started ascending as soon as possible after gobbling up our breakfast. After done registration and engaged a guide, we took a taxi to Mesilau Nature Resort where the trail entrance was. My guide was a Dusun (one of the indigenous people in Borneo), he was 20 but shorter than me. I was 1.63m and was considered short among Malaysians, he was shorter, I guess it was due to the his work
as a porter since a young age, and causing the growth of spine slowed. I met a porter who was only 14 carrying up a large baggage compared to his size. Meanwhile I was carrying only a less then one kg sling bag and reflected that what made me thought that I was not capable of carrying my own baggage up the the base camp. After a brief sense of guilt I finally came to a conclusion that, well I definitely can do that, I 'd rather enjoy my hike without 6 kg on my back to ache my spine.
One of the perks of hiking via Mesilau trail was that I did not need to share my trail with most of other climbers and therefore I can fully enjoy the silence and sound of nature, and hike on my own pave without worrying blocking other climbers. And though it was 2km longer, the view was better especially at the 4th km onwards.
I took 6 hours to reach Laban Rata, by the time I reached there, I started to feel dizzy and my head ached as the rhythm of my heart pounding. Feeling exhausted and starved out
of my mind, I ordered an overpriced fried rice, but the dizziness overwhelmed my appetite.I downed a few spoonful of the rice and stopped eating before vomiting. I did not vomit, luckily.
And after all the rambling about the temperature and my dizziness, it was finally the shower time! As much as I looked forward to it, my hearts broke when I turned on the water. I knew there would be no hot shower, but I didn't prepare myself for the fact that the shower was so damn freaking icy cold. Having myself stripped down and stand in front of the flowing water, I rinsed my hands first to get used to the temperature, after about 2 minutes standing naked rinsing my hands and feet, I felt the water was becoming even colder as though it sucked the heat out of my body through my hands. So I decided there was no way I was going to step forward to let the shower splash on my already cool body, I wetted my towel and wiped the areas which I felt it sweat the most and quickly got dressed.
By the time the sky got dark, it was only
7pm, I crouched in my bed trying to preserve as much heat as I can. I didn't even have the mood to catch the sunset at that time, I was tired, but I was not tired enough to get into deep sleep, but to prevent the headache get worse I tried to get more rest as possible and stay hydrated.
At 2 am I woke up feeling better. My friend barely slept, a guy who slept at the bottom bunk bed said he did not sleep at all. wow. I guessed I was lucky to be able to drift into 6 hours of sleep. They said some people already started walking around the dorm at 12am, probably having trouble getting into sleep, too excited maybe? I had simple egg toasts and oatmeal before continue the 2.5km to the summit. We set off in the dark, everyone dressing like an eskimo. The path was slippery and at the final 1.5km, at the edge of vegetation, we need to hold rope to march forward as there were no stairs. It was dangerous, everyone was careful and hiked steadily trying to bend his body forward to reduce the center of mass.
The star view was spectacular, the last time I saw such view was in Pulau Perhentian, except this time I was at 4000 meters above sea level, the breeze was icy. I struggled at the final 500m and had to stop to relieve my muscle ache every 10-20 steps. Looking at the great rock seemed so near to me yet every step I took didn't seemed to bring me any closer to the summit. It was truly tiring. I could felt the lactic acid dissolving my cartilage and my muscle. But I couldn't stop, I had to move forward because I did not want to slow the climbers behind me and I could see the twilight already, I did not want to miss the sunrise.
When I finally saw the 4095.2 m sign board, I exhaled a deep breath and put my bum on a flat granite rock retardedly,buried my heavy head into my knees, I steadied my breath, feeling lack of glucose, trying to relieve dizziness. Again like yesterday, I did not bother to catch the sunrise anymore. Everyone was so excited queueing to photograph with the 4095.2 sign board, the queue was long. I quickly took a
picture with it and started to descend. As I climbed down, I soon felt better as the sun warms. It felt amazing to be above the cloud, overseeing the view of Kundasang Town and the range of hills join to the Mt Kinabalu.
I took 3 hours to reach to the end point at Timpohon Gate, and got into a van to Kinabalu Park to proceed the checking out process. Just 5 minutes after we hopped on the van, it suddenly poured! What-A-Luck! I couldn't imagine how soaked I was gonna be if I was 5 minutes late, and pitied those climbers who were behind me on the way back down.
Going back to Akinabalu youth hostel, the first thing I did was to shower, even without hot shower, showering never felt so great, so "purifying". Quite a contrary to an anticipated sore feet, my legs felt fine, with only a little muscle ached, climbing up stairs was not so bad after the long hike. Hence, hereby I sincerely thank my dad for giving me a pair of strong calves, also not forgetting my mom for showing support this time for the little mission. And I thank myself,
for not giving up.
The days remaining I had in Kota Kinabalu, I went to Pulau Sapi. It was an okay island nearby the city. Some other time I spent by reading in the library in Suria Sabah Shopping Mall. Yeah, not forgetting to mention a HongKong friend I have known in the hostel, Chris. Though we both speak Cantonese, I did not even realise I often spoke of some terms which only beknown to only Malaysian Chinese.
Tot: 2.302s; Tpl: 0.074s; cc: 11; qc: 60; dbt: 0.054s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb