Monday, 12 April 2010

Jungle trekking at FRIM

My previous stint working and living in Kuala Lumpur was from early 2004 to 2007. At that time, I moved the whole family from JB to KL. We managed to obtain a transfer of my eldest son from his boarding school (Sekolah Menengah Agama) in Bandar Penawar, Johor to the equivalent school in Kuala Lumpur which was SMAKL. This school is located in Bandar Menjalara in Kepong and not really that far from where we were staying at the time in Taman Melawati.

It was quite a straightforward journey from Melawati to Kepong on the MRR2. Every time I visited my son, I would pass by the junction that leads off to the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia, or better known as FRIM. I told myself that I should visit FRIM one of these days. Of course over the three years, I never did.

A few days after my transferring to the present stint here, one of my staff told me that she's organizing a jungle trekking outing to FRIM and wanted to know if I'd like to come along. I immediately said yes. It is a bit ironic that after all this time, it needed another person to give me the push to do something that I had wanted to do many years ago.

And so, yesterday morning, a group of us headed out to Kepong to enjoy the natural beauty of the rainforest right at our doorstep. The heavy thunderstorm the day before and the early morning drizzle did not deter us. In fact, the muddy trail made it all the more interesting. We had arranged for a guide from FRIM to lead us in the trekking activity. En. Nizam the guide, took us trekking along a well-marked trail and made occasional stops at different locations to give us useful and interesting commentary. For example, I now know that the research station was established by British guy named Foxworthy. And that the merbau tree yields a dark brown timber that is highly-sought for the making of musical instruments. The valuable wood means that merbau is among the favourite target of illegal loggers.

The guide told us many more stuff about the jungle but most of the time I was concentrating on recovering my breath to remember what was said. The trail took us up and down steep slopes. Being the oldest guy in the group, I had trouble keeping up but tried my best not to show it... I seriously need to exercise more often. I am still feeling the aches in my leg muscles as I type this.

The highlight of the trek is of course, the canopy walk. Walking on the suspended walkways across the top of the trees is something really worth experiencing. The view from the top is simply breathtaking.

After completing the canopy walk, we trudged downhill back to the FRIM information centre. There are other attractions available but we were too tired to continue. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning. Looking forward to go there again soon.

 The `about to get dirty' dozen

This view of the forest reminded me of the movie `Predator'

Canopy of kapur trees. Close, but not touching

Downhill trek

Canopy walk

Not quite the vines that Tarzan uses

Can't escape donating blood to some suckers

10 comments:

Kama said...

Salam Oldstock
Now that you are KL-based, bolehlah kita invite you to join us makcik loggers occasionally for kopi or teh (not that we meet often, adalah sekali sekala).

PS: I have been living in KL for more than 30 years now, tapi baru sekali pergi FRIM, tu pun in the 1980s as a reporter on duty. they say the trekking trail there is very good... insyaallah one day sampailah tu kot.

Pat said...

We've always meant to go, and until now, we've not got our asses in action and actually gone!!! And to think I've lived in KL for more than fifty years!! Hahaha!

I know I would enjoy the trek, and the highlight for me would be the canopy bridge! I so believe you when you say that the view from up there is breathtaking.

I'm glad Kayel is giving you a warm, if a bit wet, welcome :)

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Hey Oldstock, did the guide brief u guys regarding the laws of the jungle? Like e.g. u must ask permission from the jungle 'spirit' b4 u do a #1 or #2, do not pluck flowers or break branches etc...else u'll go round & round in circles & get lost in the forest.

So btw, did u come across any wild animals in there?

Yes, & u do find more deadlier blood suckers in urban KL/PJ too :))So beware!!!

Cheers,
Tommy

P/S - I'm sure the 'Predator' was watching u the whole time u were in there...kekeke..

mamasita said...

Adoi..the last photo is so grotesque! Tak jadi nak trekking dah..ingat masa tengok the earlier snapshots makcik tua ni pun nak try..hehe..

Betul lah..apart from the guide and you, yang lain semua budak2..how come kita tak rajin macam diaorang masa muda2 yea..hehe

3yearshousewife said...

Would love to go jungle trekking anytime but pacat is one thing I can't stand off.
The last time I visited FRIM was 21 years ago despite it is only 20 minutes away from my parents' place. Got this new sense of adventure since coming back so maybe will go there again.

Oldstock said...

Salam Kak Kama,

Looking forward to that kopi session with the makcik bloggers.

Oldstock said...

Pat,

Seriously, you should try it. Not need for the FRIM guide if you have a small group. The place is well marked-out and is sure one good way to work out all that sweat.

Oldstock said...

Tommy,

No need for briefing about the laws of the jungle but our group knew when to keep our mouths shut.

And yeah... I constantly had the feeling that the Predator was watching us... spooky..

Oldstock said...

mamasita,

the last pic is just to show you the reality of the situation. But you should not let that distract you. I saw many other older folks doing the trek that day.

Oldstock said...

As,

don't let the pacat scare you... bring the kids, I'm sure they'll love it. They can compare the tropical rainforest to the English countryside.