06:30, I started descent.
After a gruelling climb to the peak, taking some pictures and resting myself, I started to walk down the slopes heading back to Laban Rata… The rest of the team was still up there savoring the view, photographing scenery, and of themselves claiming the moment and commemorating their success.
Walking slow, placing my steps carefully on the hard rocky surfaces, was becoming more painful by the minute… the joints at the right leg on the knee was beginning to hurt. I could feel pain at the meniscus and cartilage area, (the right side of the knee). Didn’t know if it is the ligaments or the cartilage that is causing the pain, but whatever it is, it worries me. 😦 .
borrowed this picture from http://www.aclsolutions.com/anatomy.php
My knee pain have been there before, and it is more likely to occur whenever descending down after a climb from the mountains, sometimes it hurts, and sometimes not. Lately, the pain gets more frequent doing these kind of activity. Was it the side effect of me playing sports, football, street soccer etc all these time, or just age factor.? Whatever it is, I can’t let that be the cause of me stopping my outdoor activity. I would have to do something sooner or later before it’s too late.
06:30, I started descent and reached Laban Rata at 10:00 am.. about the same time it took me to climb and descent, which was just not right. Then there will be the 6 km hike down to Timpohon Gate, can this knee withstand the pressure.? At this moment I wish that I can just stay there for another night and recuperate.
There was nothing else in my mind, just hoping to get to my destination without any catastrophe. There are frequent cases that porters carry injured climbers down the mountains, of course with a substantial amount of payment on their behalf… (Sometimes wonder if some of them are wishing for that to happen… scary). When in pain you don’t bother about taking pictures much anymore, that’s one of the reason why on descent there are less pictures from my part. The simple act of moving around with my condition was just unthinkable.
Still, I managed to get some scene from that day, nothing fancy besides mere snapshots, but actually, I prefer to enjoy the scenery more instead of making myself busy taking pictures.. of course, the damn pain just kills the photographing mood anyway… The others team members that hadn’t any problems however were busy walking around the flat plains of the mountains taking landscape of the available scenery.
What was really amazing that time was the weather.. clear bright skies, beautiful sunrise and not too windy conditions… Thank you God.! On our climb previous day, we meet with another batch of climbers that told us they had to abort their summit climb due to rain… thinking back, we realized how lucky we were at that time.
The entire way down, I looked and admired the beautiful scenery and landscape, reminiscing all the troubles and painstaking hardship that we had to endure the previous day, the feeling of satisfaction and reward is indescribable by just mere words and writing, and also the fact that I’m a lousy writer. 😛 . Still, when you have worked so hard and sacrifice a lot for something, the achievement and success just seem so sweet. It’s not just about being there that counts, it’s about your own effort, strength, ability, morale, and will power that brought us there.
My pain was getting unbearable, by the time I reached the 1.5 km mark, I was barely walking, but just limping .. The descent was agonizing and tormenting, some part, I had to walk backwards when handling the slopes that is too steep, as the knee can’t be bent to support the body weight. Not to mention of the hunger at that time. Remember that I had only some bread with jam and a cup of coffee, before departure earlier this morning..? My stomach was shrieking with pain… Yet the others seem so composed and relaxed. I would have sworn that they took the same amount of food as I did before we took off.
The team mates were good and understanding, Few of them waited for me and we went on the same pace together, giving support and encouragement all the way. I can never thank them enough.!
After the rocky slopes and ropes, comes the stairs, each and every steps I had to place both my two feet down before moving down the next step, seriously so slowing me down..! I reached Laban Rata at 10:00am. 3 hours for just a few km, felt so ridiculous and frustrating, but patience and judgement made me calm down, reminding myself another 6km trail had to be finished.
We had breakfast and rest for an hour at the restaurant… I took the chance to attend to my legs with some medication and luckily one of us had a bandage that I can use on my knee. Few of us including me, hired a porter to carry our backpacks down for the remaining descent and my bag weighing 6 kg cost about RM30, a relatively cheap price for the risk that I would be omitting. The porters again showed amazing capabilities when one of them could carry 3 bags on his back, making it looks ridiculously easy! Few others were also beginning complaining to having pain on the legs as well, showing signs of worried at their faces, we just hoped that the journey can be completed.
At 11:30am we started the walk again down to Timpohon Gate, It was a slow walk for me, each and every step painful and agonizing as expected. I was among those in front and later after about 1/2 hour or so, the others begin to overtake me, but there were few others that walked together taking slow relaxed paced as well. I had to stop frequently and sometimes attend to my knees and apply some more medication, massage and give the leg a good rest, Reminding myself not to pressure and push the leg too hard, is the wise decision as any more carelessness can result in permanent injury and disability. The last 1km couldn’t be any easier as it is mostly if not all steps downwards, and going down the steps with that condition really tests your patience, sanity and what ever endurance you still got. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the rain came down at the last 500 meters. A farewell splash from the mountains for our departure I guess.
Four and half an hour later, reached Timpohon Gate 5:00 pm, the last to arrive and it was raining.