2007 is coming to an end, many things had happened in my 2007 calender. Some of the wonderful events that impacted me in 2007 were my involvement with the 85th Anniversary Celebrations, helping out in the planning and project management of the 85th Anniversary Campfire and Dinner.
Being part of the 85th Anniversary Mount Kinabalu expedition trip, I had lots of fun with all those who made the trek up together. Thanks for making it fun & exciting !
Keep a lookout for the 85th Anniversary Year Book…….
Onward Dragon Scout Group !
After reaching Kota Kinabalu City on Day 04 night, checking into King Park Hotel, I was busy bringing out my wet clothes to dry up in the hotel room, packing it only in the morning of Day 05, squeezing it into my backpack.
After breakfast in the hotel, all of us went to a nearby day market, known as Gaya Street Sunday Market, it was great to be walking around flea markets again, I always enjoy visiting such places, bringing back fond memories of my time in Brisbane and Sydney, visiting day and night flea markets. There were many interesting things on display, ideal location to find gifts back home for your friends, relatives and family members.
After shopping, I went back to the hotel to check out of my room, went with Mr Heng to find Yee Keat and Jovan. Thereafter, we went walking around Kota Kinabalu City, we walked straight along Jalan Sapuloh and Jalan Duapuloh, visiting Warisan Square, a modern shopping centre with nice restaurants. Crossing across the road, we arrived at a really beautiful marina promenade known as Waterfront, many cafes and restaurants occupy this location, making it an ideal location to sit down, chill out and relax while enjoying the peace, tranquility and beauty of South China Sea surrounding Kota Kinabalu City.
We went to explore around the area further, walking around Handicraft Market, Central Market and Wet Market. Many different trades and business operating around this region facing the sea, showcasing the modern and traditional business side by side in Kota Kinabalu City. When I was walking through the various markets, there were food stalls preparing and cooking their food (seafood, BBQ etc) and it looked really delicious !!!
After a while, we decided to sit down at Coffee Bean Cafe at the Waterfront, sit down to relax and enjoy coffee while chatting away, while waiting for the sunset to arrive, whereby we would get a good view from the Waterfront promenade.
1745 hrs – We proceed outside of Coffee Bean and looked out into the sea, the sun was setting down and we started taking photos of the sunset slowly coming through. We had a good 15 mins of photo taking before leaving at 1800hrs to head back to our hotel, joining the rest of the other guys for our coach to the airport for the flight back to Senai and taking a coach transfer to Johor Bahru and finally back to Singapore.
At 0145hrs, we woke up and prepare ourselves for our summit push from Gunting Lagadan to Low’s Peak. It was really cold in the early morning hours in the mountains but we were buzzing with excitement and eager for the climb to our ultimate objective.
0215 hrs – Falling in of entire contingent, roll call, final check and split into 3 groups for summit push.
0230 hrs – Commencement of our summit push !
Being an old boy + adult , there were responsibilities on our part to ensure the young boys and girl were taken care of during the summit push due to its technical and terrain difficulties. Yong Kok and myself took care of the Group 2, with the following crew, Wei Chuan, Wei Tian, Wen Li and Ai Xia.
The summit push was much more difficult due to climbing in total darkness, although we had head lamps attached to us. I have to thank Wen Li for helping me fix my maglite torch on my jungle recce hat because I didn’t bring a head lamp ! While climbing up the granite rocks, keeping close to the thick white rope, we could easily see lines of “christmas lights”. The night was very beautiful, once we trekked out of the temperate rainforest altitude, only the shiny granite rocks greeted us and looking up into the dark clear sky, were full of bright shining stars !!
As much as I would love to stop and take photos, the urgency and sensibility to be safe and taking care of the crew, supersedes my photography ambitions. Moreover, due to the terrain, we had to be a lot more careful and sometimes, we had to be on all four limbs.
It sounds dangerous here but I have to emphasis that, you must follow the white rope, don’t deviate away and always be mindful of your steps and people around you, the risks would be controlled considerably and under such circumstances, would you grow in strength and character of yourself in the aspects of risk taking and responsibility actions. Something that even an outdoors person like me, I find my summit push a humbling, enriching and learning experience.
Reaching the plateau, we slowed down significantly, due to fatigue and altitude sickness. I had to constantly motivate my people and it was a huge challenge for me, I had to thank Ms Aixia for helping me to push and motivate the guys up also because upon reaching the plateau, I was pretty drained out and took a bit longer to acclaimatise to the altitude of 4000m. Kudos to Ms Aixia for showing true leadership qualities, well done !
We all finally reached our destination ! Low’s Peak @ 4095.2m ………… Physically drained …… yet Full of pride, happiness, excitement in conquering Low’s Peak. We took a bit of time to enjoy the beauty of Mount Kinabalu summit and its surroundings, being so high up in the sky above the clouds, the feelings and emotions were very special and unique. To experience exactly what went through my mind, I strongly encourage you (reader) to climb Mount Kinabalu.
Climbing down, it started to rain heavily and we had to be extra careful, soaking wet and slipping many times, we finally made our way back to Gunting Lagadan, changed to dry clothes, packed our daypacks and head towards Laban Rata for warmth, food and water. Once everybody returned from the summit and gathered at Laban Rata, we gathered ourselves, bid goodbye to the mountains and trekked downhill to Timpohon Gate. With aching legs and sore knee caps, I couldn’t go too fast.
During our descent, it rained again heavily, soaking wet again, we returned to Rose Cabin, to collect our backpacks, changed to another set of dry clothings, tucked into dinner and headed towards Kota Kinabalu City……
A very memorable (& VERY WET) day…….
Rise and shine ! Waking up to a brand new day, overlooking from the balcony of our room, I was mesmerised by the beauty and aura of Mount Kinabalu, feeling the tranquility and spiritual enlightenment of Mother Nature. The sky was clear and we had a great time admiring the trek that we would be embarking on later.
After a hearty breakfast and packing our backpacks into the hall, we were transferred in vans and multi-purpose vehicles to Kinabalu Park Headquarters, where we met our local guides and collected our Mount Kinabalu National Park ID tags. When the entire contingent was ready, we boarded a mini bus uphill to Timpohon Gate, the entrance to Mount Kinabalu National Park. Before passing through Timpohon Gate, the guys and girl did stretching and warm up and took group photos.
Flashing our ID tags at the gate office to National Parks Officers, we were registered to be officially entering Mount Kinabalu National Park and began our descent uphill to Laban Rata. Feeling excited with lots of adrenaline rush, we trekked up pretty quickly to the first pondok, however, we were put to the test our strength and endurance. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was 6km and the altitude from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was from 1866.4m to 3200m.
The route wasn’t easy after a while, it wasn’t too steep but it wasn’t going to be a stroll in the park. It was physically demanding and trekking uphill towards higher altitude resulted in less oxygen available, thus making us more tired easily. We took regular stops along the route up at designated pondoks. There were water tanks and toilets at the pondoks, nicely done up in an untouched tropical rainforest.
Due to difference in fitness levels across the entire contingent, we reached Laban Rata at different intervals. Most of us managed to reach Laban Rata around 1430-1530hrs and had a well earned rest at Gunting Lagadan (our hostel). At Gunting Lagadan, I was feeling the effects of mountain sickness, feeling a bit of headache and dizziness, however, I was able to acclimatise and settled down.
We went to Laban Rata Restshouse for rest, afternoon tea and later dinner. I ordered hot milo and appreciated this lovely hot drink in the highlands of 11,000ft, with a temperature of 10-11 degrees. The weather and landscape up in the highlands were beautiful beyond words that I could possibly describe. Even though we were tired, we had a lot of fun taking photos at Laban Rata Resthouse.
I was blown away by the beauty of Mother Nature and be part of the clouds (we were about at the same level), sitting outside the balcony of Laban Rata, with my milo on the wooden garden table, I sat down with my Canon 30D and faced the beautiful blue skyline and white clouds. I felt enlightened in a way, my thoughts and feelings there were peaceful and relaxed, giving me an inner peace that I had been seeking. The emotions and happiness flooded my mind and I was very happy that I am up there in Mount Kinabalu and with the clouds in the sky.
Soon, Yong Kok joined me at the balcony, had a very good chat on visions, goals, desires and planning. The environment there at that point in time probably made us more composed and relaxed, coming together to plan out something for the future, mentoring and personal development courses for leaders.
Sunset soon began to set in and I was pretty glued to my seat for sometime, enjoying the beauty of sunset in high altitude, I just love sunsets and being able to capture the beautiful sunset so high up in the mountains, made my climb very special and memorable.
After dinner, we had a final briefing, water parade and rest before the summit push from Laban Rata to Low’s Peak……
Waking up in the morning, enjoying a simple breakfast at Trekkers Lodge, we prepared our wet water gear and checked-out of the backpackers hostel. We boarded our bus to our morning adventure location, white water rafting at Kiulu River (Grade 1 – 2).
After loading our backpacks into the luggage compartment of our tour bus, we took our daypacks onto the tour bus and headed for a 2 hour ride to Kiulu River. Soon, we reached the end point of our Kiulu River white water rafting and placed our daypacks at the compound before returning back to the tour bus, for the journey further up to the starting point of our white water rafting adventure.
Our white water rafting adventure was organised by Exotic Adventure Sdn Bhd and Asia Paddler. Upon reaching the starting point, we were given a bit of time to explore the surroundings and cross the wooden bridge. Soon, we were back for our briefing by our river guides, on the aspects of the raft and safety instructions. After strapping ourselves up with helmet and life vest, we were divided into 3 groups for our white water rafting adventure.
Paddling down the river was really very fun, as it was my maiden white water rafting adventure, I was very excited, full of adrenaline rush ! I was at the front of the raft with Ganesh and we had the best front views of the river adventure. Moving up and down the rapids, splashing water on our fellow rafters, dropping into the river for a swim, building up teamwork with your mates in the raft, we had so much fun !
After a 10km white water rafting route along the Kiulu River, we reached our end point and went back to shore. With everybody high on adrenaline and spirits, we took photos of our entire group and respective raft crew, along with our river guides. We were treated to a wonderful lunch prepared by Asia Paddler / Exotic Adventure after washing up and changing into dry clothes.
After a wonderful lunch, we boarded our tour bus again and headed up towards Mount Kinabalu region, a very beautiful hostel known as Rose Cabin, 2km away from the entrance to Mount Kinabalu Park. After checking in, we had a good rest and went around taking photos of Mount Kinabalu from Rose Cabin, visiting their nursery, playing with their resident cat, relaxing…
A nice dinner follows and soon after our mountain climb briefing by Su, we proceed to prepare our daypacks for our ultimate adventure, the climb to the summit of Mount Kinabalu tomorrow…….
It’s going to be Day 03 of our adventure.
We met at Gan Eng Seng School with our local guide Su from Pac West Travel at about 1430 hrs, after a final roll call and filling in of the immigration forms, we began to load up into 2 mini buses that would drive us across Causeway to Senai Airport for our flight to Kota Kinabalu.
Airline: Air Asia
Flight No. : AK 5628
We were supposed to depart at 1820 hrs but due to poor and wet weather conditions and 1 passenger that canceled its flight after checking in their luggage, there was about a delay of approximately 2 hours. The flight was alright, just chatted along with Yong Kok.
Upon arriving in Kota Kinabalu, we were transferred to our accommodation at Trekkers Lodge, a backpackers hostel. I bunked in with Mr Heng, a room with 2 single beds, after a short briefing for Day 02 event and schedule, we unpacked our backpacks and prepared for our Kiulu River Rafting.
Thereafter, we went out for supper nearby, having Roti Canai and some bits and pieces of Chicken Murtabak, along with Teh Tarik.
When we returned back to Trekkers Lodge, the ventures and leaders were busy with their banner for the summit climb. Soon, it was drifting into dreamland for me……….
Day 02 coming up ……….
I am back ! If you all recall my last posting on my advanced Christmas shopping items, where was I actually heading to for trekking ?
The answer is Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
I decided to participate in this particular expedition because it was organised by Pac West Travel for Gan Eng Seng Dragon Scout Group, to celebrate her 85th Anniversary Celebrations and it is a “pilgrimage” for Dragon Scouts to trek up to the summit of Mount Kinabalu, Dragon Scout Group went up there for its past celebration events too!
Mount Kinabalu is a very beautiful mountain to visit and highly respected for its terrain, challenges and altitude. Nevertheless, the mountain range and peaks give all of us peace, tranquility, determination, bravery, courage and lots of beautiful memories of Mother Nature.
In the upcoming posts, I would write up on my daily travels and adventures:
(1) Day 1 : Singapore – Senai – Kota Kinabalu
(2) Day 2: Kota Kinabalu – Kiulu River – Rose Cabin
(3) Day 3: Rose Cabin – Timophon Gate – Laban Rata
(4) Day 4: Laban Rata – Low’s Peak – Laban Rata – Rose Cabin – Kota Kinabalu
(5) Day 5: Kota Kinabalu – Senai – Singapore
Do keep a look out, folks !
Dragon Scout Group is currently in the process of preparing, collecting and writing up on the 85th Anniversary Celebrations book, the final jigsaw puzzle for the 85th Anniversary celebrations in 2007.
I am involved in this project as a photographer and we came down together on a saturday, taking out scouting items from different eras to be photographed, whereby some of the photos would be selected for the final prints to be displayed inside the 85th Anniversary Book. There would most probably be another photo shoot because we had a lot more many different kinds of scouting historical items inside the scout room.
Let’s take a peek at some of the possible photographs that could make it into the 85th Anniversary Book……..
DSG Red & Green Scarf beside the National Scarfs (old and new) and Scarfs from other countries.
Hardworking DSG 85th Anniversary Book Committee Members
Showcasing the rich history of Dragon Scout Group
If you like to know more about Dragon Scout Group, please proceed to the following links:
First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to dedicate this special posting to my 85th Anniversary Dinner Commitee members.
During December 2006, I was invited by my Dragon Chapter Ex-Co Chairman, Thye San, to represent the Dragon Chapter in assisting Dragon Scout Group to help out in the planning/consultancy/project management for the 85th Anniversary Celebrations. It was a great honour to be working on our 85th Anniversary Celebrations (85th Campfire and 85th Dinner) because I was also involved in our 70th Anniversary in 1993 (when the founding year was based on 1923).
In our past few months of preparation and meetings, we had our fair share of fun, fatigue and crazy ideas. Nevertheless, we all managed to come together, combining our different eras of ideologies and working styles, and presenting an awesome, wonderful and unforgettable dinner celebration for all those related to the Dragon Scouting family and history.
Thank you all so much for this project management experience. Keep the Dragon Scouting Fire and the Spirit of the Red and Green burning forever.