Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Hike in Bukit Timah Hill

Went for a leisure hike in the Bukit Timah Hill this morning. It has been quite a number of years since I last visited this nice nature reserve in Singapore.

I must say I am a bit annoyed by the fact that more and more luxuary condos are being built right at the foot of the hill. They are so close to the surviving natural forest. I am not sure whether one day I will wake up and find our lovely hill becomes a hill of concrete jungles.

That aside, it took me around 15 mins to go all the way to the summit. Great! That's my 'normal' speed of reaching the peak following the main road. The first 100m or so is the most tough, as the slope is steep, but after that, everything is easy.

I didn't want to spend 2 hours traveling on bus to/fro Bukit Timah Hill just for this 15 min hike, so I decided to take on some side treks on the way down. Without obvious reason, I took the track to Dairy Farm Hut, which is on the north side of the reserve, and at an altitude of ~60m, and right at the boundary of the reserve. You see, if you have the instrument but not using it, it is as good as you don't have it. I didn't use the altitude meter or the digital compass on my watch, just simply walked. I descended from the summit of 163m, down to 60m. Finding no way back to the visitor centre, I took the North View Hut track and ascended from 60m back to 140m!

On the ascend to the North View Hut, I was like going to die. The steps were endless, I was out of breath. If I continue, I felt a lot of pain; if I stop, I still felt a lot of pain. My lung was craving for oxygen, lots lots of it. I knew if I could walk on a levelled track for a while, I should be fine, but I was stuck in a small 2m by 2m platform, and must choose to continue to ascend, or start to descend, or stay put. I decided to continue my ascend, slowly. And then I finally got to North View Hut, but disappointingly there is not much 'view' to talk about. At this moment, I started to use my altimeter, 140m! I was like, my gosh, 40 mins walk and I only descended like 25m? I didn't know I actually descended from 165m to 60m, and back up to 140m! After North View Hut, I soon found my way back to the main road, and everything from there was smooth and easy.

Bukit Timah Hill is one nice place to trek, and you will see some interesting people. I saw one Malay guy in his 30s?, he was walking very fast, and he was carry a baby on his back! Power, man! And then you see many people obviously came here to do their conditioning for mountain trekking overseas. They wear nice hiking boots, with big backpacks, some even with trekking poles.

Ok, after today's experience, I think I will need to do more conditioning before the trip to Nepal in Dec. I was trekking at an altitude of 160m only, yet I was panting like hell, how do you expect to trek at the high of 2-3000 meters?

Proper trekking attire and gears are needed too. I wore my hiking sandals today. It provided good cushion to my feet, but not my ankles, especially during descend. The impact on my knees is not something to be sneezed at, either. Clothes that can dry quickly are essential too. I was sweating like hell this morning. My dry fit T-shirt became wet-fit, sticking to my body like nobody's business.

Feeling very tired today, but very happy too. So refreshed after shedding all that sweat, together with whatever toxic stuff that came out with your sweat. The body feels so much lighter.

You can find more information about Bukit Timah Nature Reserve here

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