Heather's Thairy

Heather's journey to Bangkok, Thailand: a year of adventure!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Vacation Day Three: Start The Climb

Sunday morning we hopped into a van early in the morning to get to the base of Mt. Kinabalu, our next destination and the source of much wonderment. The peak is 4095.2 m, and it takes two days to reach the summit. At the base of the mountain, there are services where you set up your climb: you need a guide, a permit, insurance, and accommodation before you can start. If you can’t obtain all these things (it’s expensive, and it also books up fast and in advance), there are still many trails that you can walk around up to a certain point on the mountain.

After a good breakfast (I had peanut butter straight from the jar, while the boys opted for the buffet breakfast- the tours that we booked on this trip were big on buffet offerings), we started up the trail. It was a bit of a tease at first, very flat and starting with a set of stairs that went down, but we soon realized the true nature of the beast.

About four hours of rocky trail, littered with the bodies of people who couldn’t hack it…just kidding, but it was fairly crowded at points, apparently tons of Japanese people like to make the hike in their designer duds, grasping their hiking poles…
The trail is easy to follow and offers the occasional pitstop, but there is no drinking water or food until you reach the sleeping quarters. You don’t want to carry a lot with you for four hours up a mountain, so it’s unfortunate that they haven’t set up some stands with at least water, but we were well supplied so it was fine.
This sign greets visitors at the beginning of the trail. We’re not sure what it is supposed to mean, but in my limited knowledge of Malay I think that I can translate: “No dancing, on pain of death.”
Our guide’s name was Jennious, which is pronounced “genius”. He was about as useless as a person can be…he did no guiding and was absent for much of the climb. I suppose that he wouldn’t have been much help had he actually been around, and it’s not like we’re totally incapable of looking after ourselves and each other, so we were actually sort of glad that he took off.

Alisa and I broke off from the boys…well, not so much us breaking off from them as them surging ahead…and hiked up together, which was great because it gave us a chance to catch up and chat. It also was nice to go at a slower pace to really take in the scenery and appreciate our surroundings.

We arrived at the accommodation well before dark and had some buffet dinner before taking in the sunset. Ryan had a celebratory swig of some random, cheap booze purchased back in KK…not sure that it actually summed up the victory…

Since we had booked so late, we ended up with beds on the floor of the restaurant rather than actual rooms with actual beds, but it was fine because they brought us really nice mattresses with really nice sheets, pillows and blankets. Knowing that we had to leave at 2 in the morning for the summit climb, we went to bed pretty early and in our clothes!

The summit is hiked at 2 in the morning in order to arrive at the peak at sunrise. More on that in the next issue of the vacation fun series!!!

Until next time,


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