Last weekend, my friend, H, called to find out if I was interested to go to Mount Pulai again. For those who read my post about my first hike there last year, you would know that I suffered from terrible muscle cramps for both legs while three-quarters of the way to the summit. Since then, I have become wary of long, uphill walks. A few weeks after, I managed to sprain my ankle at Sungai Rengit and had to be home bound for a couple of weeks. It appears like I am prone to mishaps whenever I go on a day trip, and my poor legs at the receiving end! So you can understand my hesitation about revisiting Mount Pulai. However, I was given the reassurance that we could take our time, with no undue pressure to hike all 5 kilometres to the peak!
This time, I was better prepared. First, I decided to go light – no telephoto, wide-angled and macro lenses. I only brought my standard 18-55mm lens. Admittedly, my mind was plagued by a number of “What ifs”. What if I want to get a shot of a bird, or giant spider from a distance? What if I want a close-up of a flower or insect? However, sensibility prevailed in the end. When the pain extends all the way from the legs to the hips rendering you temporarily paralysed, the last thing you want to do is to take a picture of the pretty butterfly that’s landed on the rock next to you!
I also made sure that I ate something before leaving home instead of packing sandwiches like the first time. When you are inching your way downhill, hoping against hope that the next corner is going to get you out of the park, the thought deviating from the road and heading for the waterfall to eat sandwiches just makes me want to throw up!
Just to be doubly sure, I massaged both my legs with Tiger Balm cream and gulped down a muscle relaxant before leaving the house.
So at 6:15am on a Sunday morning, with the moon still in sight, we set off for Mount Pulai – my second visit to this recreational rainforest.
Even at that very early hour, all the car parks were full. Everyday of the week, come rain or shine, there are people here. The waterfall and the road to the peak attracts nearby residents to take a dip in the water or enjoy a good walk. Mount Pulai also attracts a fair number of Singaporeans, especially during weekends. The good thing about Mount Pulai is that while there are many visitors here, there is still enough space for everyone to enjoy the natural surroundings without getting in each other’s way.
This morning hike turned out to be enjoyable. Walking light had a lot to do with it, and also not fooling myself into thinking that I still possess the energy of a 20-year old who can make it all the way up the 5 kilometre road in under 2 hours! I got to take photographs, smell my green surroundings and tune in to the shrill cicada calls coming from the forest.
On our way down, we saw three white gibbons swinging from tree to tree. At road level, some dog owners were trying to get their pets to stand up. The dogs were flat out on the road, refusing to budge despite their owners’ coaxing! One or two just decided to pick up and carry their dogs for the rest of the way!
We were down at the park’s entrance by 9:45am! Declaring it a successful morning, we headed towards the nearest town for breakfast!