Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trekking With Sarawak's Adventurer, Michael Lo

Last weekend, I took a flight to Sarawak on a Saturday morning from KL and return the next day at night.
In 36 hours, I experienced
Limestone Trekking

Mighty Jangkar Falls

and it was bloody worth it. I thought I'd be roaming aimlessly on the streets of Kuching but a couple of days before, I made contact with Sarawak's version of myself. Michael Lo is truly Sarawak's adventurer and a foremost expert on flora and fauna. His
Michael Lo's Blog and Michael Lo's Photos will verify his reputation. Even my Godfather of Waterfalls Jan's Blog & pics has visited Micheal Lo. Michael Lo is different from the people I've trekked with because Mike Lo knows the surrounding flora and fauna's scientific name.That is what was impressive about Mike. While trekking, he would stop and say "Teoh, look at this erochilus caladenia. it's rare and can only be found in this region" or "Teoh, look at this scaphiostreptus parilis, a milipede that only curls itself into a round shell if disturbed"
By the 4th identification, I took off my National Geographic cap and put it in my knapsack.
Anyway, he picked me up from the airport and straight away, We went to a limestone hill nearby the Padawan region and explored a section of the hill which Mike has not been to. Here are some pictures courtesy of Michael Lo :
Roots are good for balancing

I love the limestone shapes

The view from the middle of the limestone hill

Our destination

The next day, Mike picked me up at 6am to visit Jangkar Falls. I've only seen pictures of Jangkar Falls and it looked mighty powerful. We drove for about two hours to the Indonesian border and arrived at a river. From there, we river trekked (my fav)
River trekking
and it was just pure joy to be in a Sarawakian virgin jungle. Nothing gets more virgin than a Sarawakian jungle unless the competition is a Japanese porn star.

In the distant horizon, I saw a white line high up on the mountain. Squinting my eyes for a clearer look, it was without a doubt the Jangkar Falls. I quicky took out my Moleskine notebook and jotted down information and drew a sketch of Jangkar.
Jotting down thoughts in my Moleskine

I tried to follow the footsteps of Charles Darwin on his Galapagos trip or Sir Walter Raleigh but then I realized I had an invention called a camera - a digital one nonetheless. However, it was still good to be bringing along a Moleskin notebook you know , just for the heck of it.
I was beginning to feel excited and went ahead of my host eventhough I didn't know the way. Sorry Mike if I was too eager. You understand my enthusiasm right? A few clambering and mounting later, I stood in front of Jangkar Falls! MAGNIFICENT!

From the side

Video Of Jangkar Falls

Check out the rainbow

I was still far away from the fall and yet, I could feel the water spraying all over my face. That's how powerful this waterfall is.

We spent at least an hour mucking around the base of Jangkar Falls and yes, the water was extremely cold. On Mike's cue, we decided to trek higher which is the top of Jangkar Falls and an astonishing view was waiting for us. Mike has seen this view countless times but for me, it was just superb. The second Jangkar Fall laid in
front of my eyes :
Second Jangkar Fall

and a 180 degree turn, the view was :
Crazy view

Moleskine lagi

Infinity Pool

Apparently, there are 5 more huge waterfalls that laid in front of us. I persuaded Mike to name one of the waterfall - Michael Lo Falls but he's not that type. Sadly, I am one and I am still searching for a Teoh Yew Aun Falls and I reckon it should be this year.

We've been here for almost 5 hours and enjoying myself so much so that Mike had to remind me of my flight back to KL in 3 hours time. Reluctantly, I left Jangkar falls and headed back to Kuching.

What can I say?
1)Air Asia tickets = RM60.00
2)Tune Hotel = RM50.00
3)Petrol = RM20.00
4)Trekking With Sarawak's
Adventurer, Micheal Lo &
Jangkar Falls = Priceless

I will return again to Sarawak to carry on my journeys with MIchael Lo because it truly is an honour and privilege to team up with this outstanding man.

Monday, January 4, 2010

How I Spent The First Day Of 2010

How I Spent My First Day Of 2010

Due to the monsoon season, I was kept indoors for most of the time. It is actually still monsoon season but staying indoors and watching reruns of Sex & The City was driving me bonkers. Bonkers or not, Sex & The City presents some amazing scripts don't you think?
I couldn't help but wonder if the monsoon season was still brewing at my destination. Taking a risky chance, I headed off on the eve of new year and camped overnight at the enormous and mysterious age old Temenggor Lake.
Camp on a helipad. 630am

I arrived at the start of my trek and noticed that the roaring sound of the river was loud and deafening.
How do I cross?

That meant monsoon season was still ongoing. Coupled with a heavy current, the menacing rocks did not help either. Anyway, I made my way through eventually
Not an easy job

and finally arrived at a more serene and calmer surroundings. I guess that was nature's way of thwarting unwanted visitors.

After clearing the challenging obstacles, I reckon I stumbled onto an amazing discovery - a pool twice the size I found 2 months ago. The colour of the pool was completely jade green. Who can resist falling in love with this spot?
Not a soul

Look how green the water is


Saw 4 hornbills flying across from this view

Check out the video

I went up to further explore upstream and since it was quite high in the mountains, cloud vapours forming around the mountains in the far end of the horizon was a sight to behold.
Loved the view on the horizon

Now, a word from my sponsor. If you noticed, I did not bring any water container and the picture below shows that I am drinking straight from the stream via a portable filter called LifeStraw. Lifestraw, a Swiss product that can filter a minimum of 700 litres, providing safe drinking water.Seriously, this device provides me with a lot of flexibility when it comes to moving around.Lifestraw is constantly on my neck and you can't never go wrong with Swiss made products for example Nestle. These guys brought us Maggi for crying out loud. You can now obtain your Lifestraw products in Malaysia from Nadir of Outdoor Dynamics (www.outdoordynamics.com.my)
LifeStraw in action

One last interesting bit from this adventure was coming across a section of the stream where it looked like a private shower room with two shower passages as seen in the video at the beginning of this blog. I love that it has like an opening path to the shower space with enclosing walls on either sides. Awesome isn't it? One thing though, you can't control the water volume and there is no such thing as a HOT shower here.
Two showers

Nice pic

Look at the pecs

What a great way to spend the first day of 2010!