Yeahhh… Another (working) trip to Penang ..which meant a chance to catch up with the gang up north.
In the e-mails prior to the trip , I was told to pack my sport shoes which I did and noted the weight this added to my knapsack, well…. someone would be in trouble if I don’t get to use this.
When I did a search on Ceruk Tok Kun, most of the results were political based, as this is the hometown and birthplace of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Ceruk Tok Kun aka Hutan Lipur Bukit Mertajam is a forest reserve with an area of over 37 hectares. The highest peak- Bukit Mertajam (guess this was where BM got its name ?) is 457m above sea level. There are jungle trails as well as tarred roads leading to the hilltop , distance is said to be ~ 4km. ( ‘ceruk’ means : cleft, cranny, lane, path)
We arrived at the forest reserve at about 7:30 , both of the parking areas (one at the entrance, and another one further closer to the trek) were almost full, makeshift stalls were also being set up, peddling fresh vegetable and fruits, health drinks, goats milk. natural honey, traditional kuihs etc
We started our walk at 7:45, quite a crowd, young, middle aged , old, tall, short, round, oblong, apple, pear, cellulite, serious joggers/ walkers ( with pedometer, sweatbands, ipod, branded outfit and shoes), barefoot and bare-chested walkers (show offs) , telekung-ed females in long sleeves t-shirts and track pants, uncles in pagoda shirts , lipstick-ed females clad in tiny singlets, kiddies with Crocs ( the real thing or RM9.90 at Carrefour ?).
It was kinda tough in the beginning to get into the right pace, the trail can be steep at certain areas, 15 minutes into the walk and we were panting, out of breath, oily sweaty hairs tapered to our foreheads and our shoes felt like they weigh 50kg . And then you get potong-ed by aunties strolling by leisurely in their Japanese slippers with not a bead of sweat on their wrinkled foreheads, their permed white hair blowing gently in the breeze and you realised, how fit you are lorr.
Along the way, there were rustling sounds from the foliage, and sometimes it felt like something swooshed by at the back of you, well, turned out to be monkeys, bucketloads of them ! ‘ be careful of your bags’ an uncle who was walking a few paces behind us barked, some walkers tried to chase the monkeys away with some sticks , but they held their stand. Come to think of it, it’s the human that were invading the space, not the other way around, maybe the monkeys should be chasing us off with sticks ? (I do not have any photos of the monkeys as kiasi me was afraid that they might take off with my little Nikon.)
After a while (maybe half an hour ) we came to a rest area, like a tea-garden stop or something- although there were no tea being offered, just some walkers/joggers taking a rest, there was a clearing and I got a peek of the valley below.
The hilly slopes were filled with ferns, branching out, catching the sun…
These looked kinda alien like to me
Ferns against the bleak sky
Baby ferns..sooooo cuteee one… looking like a cluster of sprouting question marks
Apart from joggers/ walkers there were cyclists in their canggih shiny mountain bikes making their way up the hill. Strength and will power…
And some of them tsk tsk tsk…like that also can mehhh..cheating laahhhhh
After walking for more than 1 hour, we came to another rest area complete with ‘gym facilities’ . we found quite a number of walkers there, taking a breather . We asked a couple who were enjoying their drinks, how far more to go to get to the peak, they said that they hadn’t been up there before, we asked the same question to another girl and she said that this is the furthest she has been. Oh ah…
We decided to be heroes…to infinity and beyond…and left those lazy, weaklings behind.. 😀
It was kinda eerie…the road was getting much steeper and the worse part was we didn’t see anyone up ahead, I guess the question of turning back crop up a few times, but then we will see someone coming down hill or a cyclist passing us, so we persisted…
And then finally…after 1.5 hours (total) we reached the summit ( not quite Everest, but still….) and was greeted by majestic looking telecommunication towers
On our descend, we met a lizzy out in the sun….
With aching feet and rumbling stomachs, it took us close to 1 hour to get to the base. At the base, the fruit and vegetable stalls were enjoying brisk business, to temporary suppress our hunger, we brought some steamed jagung from a Pakcik , which turned out to be pretty tough ( the jagung, not the Pakcik) which meant I had a good jaw workout as well.
At the parking area we met MeowMeow out in the sun….
Thanks PW for arranging the walk, what a good (and dead tiring) way to spend sunday morning… i enjoyed that very much ( FYI- I had sore calves for the next 3 days, ouch ouch ouch )
One other thing highly commendable, i did not see discarded water bottles, plastic bags or litters along the trail , which is sooo unMalaysian one lerr 😛
There was a shoe hanging around a bush somewhere though…Cinderella was here ?
For a map to Ceruk Tok Kun, click here