DSC_0568This article is written by  Farhana Zaid.

This article is an honest account of Farhana’s perspective on climbing Mount Kinabalu. She is an avid traveller and loves new challenge.

“Climb mountains not so the world can see you, but so you can see the world” – Unknown

And so with a single quote I convinced myself to do the impossible. Well at least that’s what I thought because I have never hiked a mountain before. To tell you the truth, Mt Kinabalu would be the second attempt for me to hike, my first time hiking was Broga Hill and that ladies and gentlemen is 3700m difference being that Broga Hill is only 400m.

I went to Mt Kinabalu with a group called Pacat Trekker along with few colleagues and friends from various range of age. A number of them is quite older than me, but I tell you they are seasoned hikers and they were about to blow my mind with their unbelievable speed hiking up and down the mountains like it was just another road.

Our group that joins Pacat Trekker
Pacat Trekker
The guys who inspired me

Even with minimal preparation and low stamina, I determined to go and crossed off one of my bucket-list wishes, climbing up the highest mountain in Malaysia.

I was as excited as a little bunny until I was just right in front of the Timpohon gate. I was starting to get nervous and cold feet. I calmed myself down and kept telling myself everything would be alright.

With a little courage, boldness and poise (of course) I begin my first step together with a lot of prayers to God. I hoped for a blessed journey. I felt like it is okay for me if I did not managed to get to the top, the most important thing is that I tried.

At the Timpohon Gate

I started walking, as my heart pounds so heavily, a sense of mission begin to overwhelmed my feeling,  I was so proud of myself and in awe. I, myself cannot grasped the fact that I am going to hike a mountain. For real? Me? Highest mountain in Malaysia? Really? If you know me, you probably would be asking the same question.

And after few minutes of walking, I was stopped by a waterfall. I did not expect to see a waterfall this soon. It graciously flowing down the stream. Gorgeous. Automatically, my hand taking out my phone and snapped away few pictures admirably still.

Carson Fall greets the hikers near entrance.

Then I continue walking with a very slow pace, my hands were pointing to every nook and crany snapping pictures for memory sake. As this was my first time and probably the last time I would hike Mt Kinabalu, I wanted to preserve every seconds and every inch of Mt Kinabalu, not knowingly, all of my friends have left me behind.

Still immersed in my own world, I walked the stairs, gazing at the greens that is so easy to the eyes, smelling the woods, it is just wonderful. I passed the first signboard, the first out of 20 signboards ahead.

I hiked alone towards the first 4 rest stop. I did not stop very long at every stop, just taking a sip of water and continued hiking until Layang-layang hut. By then I was pretty tired and a bit upset because my friend is nowhere to be found. There I met Mike from Australia, he is on his way down. We chatted a while and he motivated me to keep hiking, because as he said and I quote “ I found paradise up there”. He shared with me his sandwich, when came a little squirrel sat on my lap, and eat the sandwich as well. I was so surprised and almost jumped out of the bench. We had a big laugh. I could not believe how tame the squirrel was and not afraid of human.

Wild flowers. I would guess a wild orchid.
A carnivorous plant. Nepenthes.

Half way to Laban Rata, my face was red hot, I could hear my heart beating so fast, my breath weren’t in sync. I was tired. I was mad. I was more mad than tired.

She promised, my heart whispered. She promised. She knew this was my first time hiking a mountain, she knew I was afraid I couldn’t do this on my own and she promised to do this together, and yet she was nowhere to be found since the beginning of the journey. What if something happened to me? I was alone.

All these questions were running inside my head. How could she. She promised. I spent around 40minutes blaming her and pity myself and it took a toll on me. I were about to cry and that’s when I saw a rainbow over the clouds (literally). I was amazed by its appearance because it was not raining. Why were there rainbows? It turned out, it actually rained on the upper side of the mountain which I’m about to find out 10minutes later.

The view at this height was already magnificent.

I kept walking when I heard something. I turned my back and saw abang Ajis, walking towards me. He was twice my age, and I have nothing but respect towards him. I don’t even know whether I can finish this hike, and I cant even imagine doing this 20 years later. But there he was, slow, steady and strong hiking up the mountain.

From there on, we hiked together and it was raining, and I started to get cold. Abang Ajis loves taking pictures, and we stopped every 5 minutes to take pictures. Suddenly I have an official photographer. The gloomy day I was having, become much better. It’s true what they said, happiness is real when shared.

When it began to rain, that was when my mental strength got tested.

We hiked until Waras hut, Abang Ajis told me, he wanted to keep walking and asked me to catch up with him as soon as I’ve done resting. I said I’ll try with a bitter laugh. You know what the funny thing was. The funny thing was I didn’t even know that was the last hut, and Laban Rata was less than 5m ahead.

In my mind, I was dying. My feet was about to fail on me. I was lying in the hut, out of energy, drenching wet, soaked with my own sweat and the rain, when I got a phone call asking where I was. I was so tired, I can barely speak and think at the same time.

I was about to close my eyes when I heard these two gentleman, carrying so many bags on their shoulders shouted at me.

“Apa buat sini? Bangun bangun, sana ja mau sampai sudah”

“tak larat dah bang”

“gila kau, tidur sana lagi bagus,ada makan semua ada, bangun kau skrg jugak”

So I dragged my ass and my feet and follow them behind.

Its true. Its just a few steps away from the last hut, but I couldn’t see clearly before as the clouds was hiding the place so well. Thank god I met our guides that was carrying our bags. When I thought I was alone, they were behind me all along, keeping an eye on me.

Finally, I reach Laban Rata. I get to drink hot tea and warmed up my body. Its time for some rest and sleep. We need to get ready for Part 2 of Chasing the sun from top of Mt Kinabalu by midnight.

To be continued…