Mount Irau (Cameron Highlands)
The renowned Mount Irau is the highest mountain in Cameron Highlands, and with an elevation of 2110m makes it just slightly higher than Mount Brinchang. It is the 15th highest mountain in Malaysia and lies on the border between the states of Perak and Pahang.Before we go on, please jot down the numbers that are listed below. If you do see any suspicious behaviour when out hiking, encounter things like traps and snares, or even see protected animals or their parts that are sold as either collectibles, pets, or for (so-called) medicine, then please do not hesitate to contact the wildlife crime hotline. Be sure to try and document it as best you can with photos or video without putting yourself in danger, and take note of the details: descriptions of those who are involved, as well as when and where it took place.
"The Wildlife Crime Hotline, managed by the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT), provides YOU an avenue to report offences involving endangered wildlife in Malaysia. We protect the identity of all informants, only key info of the reports are forwarded to the authorities."
Mount Irau Trail
The trail begins just behind a gazebo with a raised wooden walkway that immediately ascends up the mountain. The ascent is brief however as the trail undulates up and down for roughly 38 minutes after only covering a distance of 0.64km. The trail begins to descend from this point as it makes it's way down Mount Brinchang and towards the point (just less than 1km away) where you start to climb up Mount Irau. You should get to this point after about an hour and a half of trekking.
The wooden walkway only covers a distance of 200m or so and gives way fairly quickly to a soft, pulpous terrain that is heavily moisture-laden. We learnt fairly early on to watch where we were stepping as the slightest misstep could leave you floundering to free your feet from the clutches of the unyielding mud. The tree roots that criss-crossed the path proved a boon however as their presence would not only ensure a certain firmness to the immediate terrain, but would also act as both handholds and steps of sorts which helped significantly on sections that had steep inclines.
The epiphytic moss proved to be ubiquitous (as was expected) and seemed to coat the trees almost like a softer second skin. I always seem to find cloud forests to be somewhat intriguing as the combination of the soft, pleasant textures and the low temperatures are unlike the tropical forests that one would expect to find at lower altitudes. They are also much more pleasant to trek as the usual stifling heat and humidity is absent. I also noticed an abundance of pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.) along the trail as we made our way on the saddle between the two mountains.
I had heard stories of the devious so-called 'Makhluk Halus' (paranormal beings) of Mount Irau that went out of their way to confuse and mislead trekkers from the right path which struck me as ridiculous as those who get lost often do so out of incompetence or sheer negligence. Nevertheless, I still entertained the absurd notion of encountering one of these beings, basically a figment of someone's overactive imagination, as I made my way up the mountain.