So I went on a hike with my colleagues one fine Saturday morning at Bukit Tabur, which I didn’t think would be too difficult a task (I’ve never hiked before, but pfft there’s always a first for everything right?), and since we’re already there we might as well take the route that says ‘extreme’, right? Go hard or go home amirite? Right…?
Nope, nope, nope and nope – is what I should have said to all the above and to the invitation.
Before that, you know how when people conquer mountains or run marathons they sometimes end up quoting some motivational phrases like ‘it’s not the mountain you conquer but yourself’, etc.? Well, this isn’t one of those stories. In fact, I was about to caption this picture of mine with some realistic jokes like ‘Looking down toward my imminent death’, because before we climbed down, the most difficult part of it all was to not fall down from the top of the cliff while taking pictures. Yea it’s not that difficult to climb up really, even for a hiking newb like me.
Of course, everything changed when we tried to find our way back down. We got lost. Lost as in, the way down was nowhere to be found and completely covered with thick woods. How can this possibly happen, you ask? Well, there was more than one way to go down, and we were seemingly going down a path different from the one we used to hike up, until there was a dead end. Nevertheless, we tried going back up and down several routes til we reached what looked like an ATV trail. At this point we were all hungry, thirsty and tired; but nobody really complained, and our Vietnamese manager was just throwing out optimistic comments like ‘we’ll get out in 10 more minutes’ (which of course took much longer, but optimism appreciated nonetheless 😂).
We tried looking for phone signals and only Celcom had the slightest connection. So we called the authorities (wrong move in Malaysia, tbh), went through a whole lot of confusion trying to communicate with them (they were asking us where in the hill are we – I mean…which part of ‘lost’ tells you we know where we are?), gave them our location through Whatsapp when the Celcom connection was strong enough, and got some water from a flowing river nearby while waiting to be rescued.
It took us about 1 and a half hours to reach the peak, but it took us 5 hours to get out from there. Well it could have been a lot worse, really. We could’ve been stuck overnight (apparently we were totally off-track and it took us 20 minutes on an ATV and another 20 minutes in the fire truck/police car to reach the entrance where our cars were parked), it could’ve rained (which it did, after we got out – thank God), we might not have passed by the flowing river, we could’ve trespassed deep into the woods and be fined RM5,000 per person, we could’ve gotten injured somehow, etc., but neither of these happened, and we came out mostly unscathed and before the sun sets.
There were a lot to be grateful for. The people I was with was an amazingly optimistic and altruistic bunch, so somehow it didn’t feel like a dreadful experience eventhough it would have easily been so. They were even excited about getting a ride on the fire truck (okay fine, who wouldn’t) and in the police car, and was asking when would the next hike be. Being my pessimistic self, I told myself that it’s enough a hike for the rest of the year at least. A year being a stretch for me. Maybe two years. Or three. With a Celcom sim card.