Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Rafflesia Ride: Part 2

The early riser...

Preparing breakfast
Our camp
 I woke up at 06:00am.
And my camping habit is to get the stoves fired-up and prepare breakfast.

That was the first order of the day. There were instant noodles where I blended a few packs of Japanese Udon and rough vermecelli
There were some left over chicken from last night's dinner where I had added it onto the soup base.
By 07:30am, breakfast was served with a cup of hot black coffee.
This is luxury by today's standards and a far cry from eating lousy food.
By 08:00am, the gang was ready and we were supposed to ride out back to the deer farm to meet up with Captain Yew, Siang's friend who had generously hooked us up with Mr Chung, the farm owner.
Captain Yew was with his teenage son and a friend who drove up from Kuala Lumpur.
We set out to the farm and split up at an asam laksa stall up in the hills before Adeline's Resort.

The team having breakfast

Riding out to the deer farm
At the Kandu caves near the deer farm...
Rolling out 

We had a smooth ride and met up with Mr Chung, Captain Yew, his son and Steve, a luxury car workshop owner.
After a brief conversation, we took a group photo and rode out.
Before we did that, I asked Mr Chung for a favour, and that was to stock up on beer and ice.
We gave him some cash and his staff and obliged by driving his pick-up truck to a local hypermart to get the essentials.
After the formalities, we set out towards the camp.
Half-way through, Angela developed a puncture on her Pacific Reach.
I radioed Michelle and helped Angela with recovering her bike.
Lucky for us, we had the Biologic seatpost pump that made life really easy.
After fixing the flat tire, we rode up to the asam laksa joint where Roger and Patric were already waiting..

Asam Laksa for the soul: the awesome noodle treat
The detour..

Our plan was to have lunch mid-way and ride towards the Rafflesia conservatory. 
This means, no big feast back at camp. 
I was told by Mr Chung that his wife had prepared a big lunch to welcome their additional guests.
After feasting on the asam laksa, we rode towards Kampung Orang Asli Hulu Geroh.
This is an additional 5km from the junction leading to the campsite.
The terrain was undulating and with each crank on the chainring, we progressed slowly towards our destination.
Once we reached there, my plan was to locate a grocery shop and purchase some chilled soft drinks.
We were lucky to find a grocery shop and I feasted on some Coca-Cola while Michelle had the last remaining 100PLUS isotonic drink.
While we parked our bikes at the Rafflesia visitor's centre, a Semai woman came up to us and asked if we were with the same group of hikers who came in earlier in the morning with their Mitsubishi Pajero vehicle.
This sounded like the birdwatchers who camped below us.
I asked the lady on the going rate for leading tourists to the Rafflesia site and she told me that the minimal charge was RM22 per head.
I found this to be reasonable and since we were there, Roger and Patric were not going to bug out as it was their opportunity to witness the largest flower in the world up close...

Hiking up the hill

In full bloom: the Rafflesia of Hulu Geroh
The opportunity of a lifetime...

I concur with what Master Siang had said about the Hulu Geroh experience.
Mr Chung's luxury farm house and generosity is something that money can't buy.
And that if we made it to see the Rafflesia in full bloom, it would be something that would put a smile on our faces as we talk about it for a long time.
So, at the visitor's centre, we agreed to join in the hike by hiring the Semai guide at RM22 per head. 
She told us that we were lucky to be the only group on the day to hike up a 1.5km trail to witness the Rafflesia in full bloom.
And she was right.
We worked our way slowly up the trail and after 20 minutes of hiking, the path became narrower and steeper.
Slowly, I climbed my way through a steep hill to reach its plateau where the group were taking pictures of a sole Rafflesia in full bloom.
Patric was fast to declare the Rafflesia Ride a success.
I was glad that we made the right decision to hike up the hill. 
At my age, I pushed the physical threshold. My knees and left ankle, which was damaged in a road accident 12 years ago had taken a real bashing. Nevertheless, it was mind over matter as I slowly ascended the hill to see the Big Ass flower.
I felt a sense of achievement by making it back to the visitor's centre in one piece.
For the birdwatchers, their hike ends with a ride back to campsite.
As for us, the road head is long and winding.
The weather held up until we reached camp where later in the day, we had to make a critical decision..  

Post a Comment