Pine Tree Hill
The early gathering of the Kuala Lumpur Hiking & Trail Running group at the Fraser's Hill clock tower at 07:15 was very welcome after the long ride in the early hours of the morning. I found the night before to be completely devoid of sleep and as seems to always be the case, weariness began to creep in just as we were setting out.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."
Before setting off, I synchronized the reference altitude of 1311m with Alex, the organizer of the trip. We began the trek at 07:59 just after a short brief by Alex just below the large wooden frame that marked the start of the trek. The GPS coordinates for this point are '3.711861, 101.727591'.
The trail itself began with a descent of about 120m covering a distance of 1.1km that took 20 minutes as the fairly large group had yet to spread out. The wide trail undulated up and down the hills with another two large descending sections before reaching the main point of ascent straight to the peak of Pine Tree Hill. The multiple ascents and descents were made easier with the presence of steps as well as ropes lining the sides of certain sections of the path. Just before the Pine Tree Hill peak, we had to climb (and for some, clamber) up a near vertical section with a rough average inclination of maybe 60-70 degrees that ascended about 15m. Fortunately there were several ropes fixed in place as well as sturdy roots that were spread out at various intervals that assisted our ascent. By the time we had reached the peak of Pine Tree Hill (elevation : 1449m), two hours had passed. The views of the surrounding hills were somewhat obscured by fog but I spent some time taking pictures for the 360 degree panorama nonetheless.
We traced our steps to rejoin the main trail and turned left to continue on to the Twin peak. The journey from there began with a brief decent followed by an even briefer ascent that took about 30 minutes. My Suunto Ambit gave an altitude reading of 1399m. The fog had cleared by the time we reached and visibility had definitely increased giving us good views of the rolling hills surrounding us. The peak itself was crammed with other members of the group who had decided to stop there so I was forced to spend some time there waiting for an opportunity for the 360 degree panorama. After almost an hour of waiting however, I had to resign myself to the fact that such an opportunity was not going to present itself after more and more of the group arrived as others left the peak for their descent.
The lack of a 360 degree panorama for Twin peak and the ubiquitous and pervasive presence of bees at the peak compounded the irascible feeling that had already manifested itself due to the lack of sleep. As Andy, Raimy and I made our way down the trail, I found my patience begin to wane dangerously thin as we were forced to wait for some trekkers who were taking their time to ascend the ropes at the near-vertical section of the trail just after the peak of Pine Tree Hill.
My mood began to improve somewhat despite the slow pace as I found that the more that I moved, the less lethargic I felt. We eventually reached the starting point after a total of 5 hours 35 minutes of trekking but spent just over 7 hours on the trail (including time spent resting). That's one more for the list!
'There was also a valuable lesson to be learnt here, to always get a good night's rest before starting a trek the next morning!