Free again

before…

There was one time that Santubong mountain was free to climb, I went there the first time at 2008, then few times afterwards, until suddenly one day, there was this structure built, which I thought was nothing. Soon, they started asking for entrance fees, parking fees etc.
looks simple enough

They blocked the other starting point and not allow public to go climb the mountains. Complaints were heard and even to the point it went to the papers. There was no official statement in the papers and so forth, even the forestry dept staff didn’t know or was reluctant to comment, and that went on for two years.
Unsatisfied, I stopped going there and instead, went to other hiking spots, mainly  Mt. Serapi and Mt. Gading. Where the entrance fee is paid to Sarawak forestry dept, the proper authorities.

Then…

February this year, I was just passing by the area, there was no more of all that nonsense, the building where the “toll gate” used to be was in rubbles and demolished. The park is guarded by the forestry department. Which was good as there was no more unscrupulous parties taking advantage of the beautiful nature. So I made my first climb after a long time.

Now..

I noticed at the earlier stages of my hike the landscape had changed a bit. There are fallen trees, missing bridges, replaced by logs and where there used to be streams are big boulders and sandy banks. The last monsoon seasons, which was like the heaviest to my remembrance, even caused floods at some parts of the city. Something that has not happened in a long time.
I reached the waterfall where I normally pass, en-route to the summit. The bridge had been washed away by heavy currents and this is all that is left. I could only imagine the volume of the flow.
what’s left of the bridge

Now, this is the second climb this year, hoping to make some good time, testing my fitness levels. First was in February, the bridge was still there. I started from the shorter route and reached the summit in 2 hours. This time I started from the main gate and finished after 3 hours. I could have been faster but with my new rx100, it was just too difficult not to stop.

fallen trees

obstructed

Some of the trees, a lot of the trees, fell and uprooted, definitely because of the winds and heavy downpour, I forgot to ask the ranger there if there was any flood that time. I Had to find my way, be careful from getting lost and at some part, crawl or went over the trees as the path was obstructed.

Photo opportunity

After the rainy seasons, the plants seems to be fresh and just glowing.

flowers at the summit

At the peak, taking pictures of the landscape was not possible as there was clouds and fog all around, so I just have to make do with some flowers, trying out the rx100.

closer…

Impressive results and very satisfying. I did’t even shoot these in RAW mode.

white flower at the summit

seriously, I spent too much time there.

some species of flower at the summit

On the way, there are snakes and the sort of thing that you would find in a forest, I happen to encounter one black snake probably a cobra by the size of its’ body but didn’t have time to properly confirm as it slithered past quite fast.

no idea what this type of flower pod is.

Going for the limit…

I like the hiking and climb mainly as a form of exercise. The view is nothing spectacular. Sunset and sunrise might be good but you have to be lucky to catch one that’s worth the climb.
golf resort view from the top…

The surrounding was a bit foggy and cloudy, so there was not much of a 360 view that I could see. Just glimpses of the landscape below.

Getting late

On the way down, it was already getting late. It’s been more than 5 hours in the jungle. That didn’t stop me from getting taking this pictures of the leaves getting ready to “sleep”

late afternoon, the leaves “sleeps”

Good hiking…

I’m just grateful that everything is back as before, the forest reserve is now free to access, Mt Santubong to climb and the area is guarded by the proper authorities. It’s a good challenging trek with moderate difficulty. Sore calves and aching quads is normal. However not everybody could reach the summit if not properly prepared and willing to go. I am just someone that is willing to push the limits.

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