Gunung Tahan - The Story


"By surrendering control, we gain a far greater power."

When we were using, we did everything we could to run things our way. We used every scheme imaginable to bring our world under control. When we got what we wanted, we felt powerful, invincible; when we didn't, we felt vulnerable, defeated. But that didn't stop us - it only led to more efforts to control and manipulate our lives into a manageable state.

Scheming was our way of denying our powerlessness. As long as we could distract ourselves with our plans, we could put off accepting that we were out of control. Only gradually did we realize that our lives had become unmanageable and that all the conning and manipulating in the world was not going to put our lives back in order.

When we admit our powerlessness, we stop trying to control and manage our way to a better life - we surrender. Lacking sufficient power of our own, we seek Allah swt, needing support and guidance, we ask Allah swt to care for our will and our lives. We ask others in recovery to share their experience with living the NA (Narcotics Anonymous) program instead of trying to program our own lives. The power and direction we seek is all around us; we need only to turn away from self to find it.

Just for today: I shall not try to scheme and manipulate my way to a manageable life. Through the NA program, I shall surrender myself to Allah swt's care.


Hola. I realize that I've been silent for quite some time now. Distractions at home (read other projects as in Internet Marketing) have pulled my attention away from blogging.There is so much hope for me today. It was a challenge that I needed desperately and was given to me as a gift. Each day I want more of what it has to offer. I want so much to learn, and I have a long way to go to reach the understanding I'm searching for. That's okay; at least I'm searching.

Anyway, below is an article that was written by Mr. Briggs who taught Chemistry when I was a student at Sekolah Menengah Sains Negeri Sembilan (Negeri Sembilan Secondary Science School) back in 1973 till 1977.

Incidentally, he was also the Organizer for the expedition to Gunung Tahan back on 2nd April till 12th April, 1976. It was one of the proudest moment in my life when several school-mate and I reached to the peak of Gunung Tahan.

Below is the account of that expedition taken from PESAKA, the school's magazine. Fyi, no words was deleted or added. The post was written as it is. So, without further ado let's carry on with the story. Okay, here goes...

... Gunung Tahan (7174 feet) is West Malaysia's highest mountain. The mountain is situated on the Pahang/Kelantan border in Taman Negara (National Park). From Kuala Tahan, headquarters of Taman Negara, it took us 41/2 days to reach the mountain peak after a 40 mile walk through the jungle. The whole return trip from Kuala Tahan took 9 days.

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Departed SMSNS at 07.50 hr on 2 April by minibus. Arrived at Game Department jetty at Kuala Temberling at 13.00 hr. Where we boarded our boat to Kuala Tahan. The boat trip took 4 hours as the river was unusually low and we went aground several times. Arrived at Kuala Tahan at 17.40 hr. We stayed in the hostel for the night.

Day 1 (3 April) We set out from Kuala Tahan at 10.45 hr with our Orang Asli guide, Nibong. We arrived at our campsite by a small stream at 16.15 hr. After dinner of soup, rice, dried fish and cocoa, we settled down to sleep at 20.30 hr.

Day 2 (4 April) We left some food suspended from a tree for the return journey. Nibong warned that squirrels might eat the food but we decided to take a chance. We set out at 09.00 hr. All day we walked up and down a total of 27 small hills. There is no water on the route so we have to carefully conserve the water in our bottles. This was the toughest day. We became very tired and had to take frequent rests. Most of us couldn't eat any lunch although it was only a handful of nuts. Several doses of glucose and salt pills helped us and were good to of boost morale. We arrived at our campsite by the S. Tahan at 17.00 hr.

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Day 3 (5 April) Again we left food for the return journey. We departed at 10.00 hr and had relatively easy day walking alongside the S. Tahan. The river was only 3-4 ft. deep and we crossed it six times. There was no lack of water on that day as all the river water in the park is drinkable. We saw some old elephant droppings but no sign of any other animals. We camped at 14.15 hr on a very attractive site by the river. We all enjoyed a swim and one of us managed to catch a fish (it didn't taste very nice). We were bothered by bees. They were after the salt in our sweat but rarely sting. The altitude was only 500 ft but it was cold at night. We enjoyed our campsite so much that we spent a whole morning relaxing there on the return journey.

Day 4 (6 April) This day we climbed up 5000 ft into the mountains. We started at 08.45 hr and walked up a mountain ridge we reached a place called Gunung Pondok Dua at 3000 ft at 14.00 hr. Here we filled all our water containers for there is water until we reach the G. Tahan pleteau 24 hours later.

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A few minutes after leaving G. Pondok Dua there was an abrupt change in the vegetation and we saw our first pitcher plant. We climbed up along a ridge until we arrived at a tiny campsite on Gunung Tangga Dua Belas at 5164 ft. It was 17.45 hr and we were too tired to go any further, so we stopped for the night. The campsite is about 30 ft by 8 ft on a ridge with a 2000 ft steep drop on either side. The view was spectacular. On one side there is a massive rock face about a mile away that drops down into the S. Teku, where we can just see and hear water crashing over waterfalls. On the other side several mountains stand out from the plain below us, and ahead of us the ridge stretches up to the summit of G. Gedong at 6776 ft which just hides G. Tahan from our view.

We collected together all our water and used part of it to make soup and some boiled mee. There was no water available for washing as we needed the little we had for drinking the next day. The night was very cold but the ground was soft: we were sleeping on a spongy soil made from recently decomposed vegetation.

Day 5 (7 April) We got up before dawn to watch the sunrise and the mountains slowly emerge from the mist below us. After a quick breakfast of cold milk and 'muesli' (a mixture of oats, nuts and raisons) which provide a lot of energy, we set off at 08.30 hr. We made our way along the ridge for 2 hours until we reached a rock face below G. Gedong. Here we climbed up the rock, which is vertical in places, to emerge on a shoulder of G. Gedong at 6000 ft. We were surrounded by mist and couldn't see more than 100 ft in any direction. Most of the soil has been washed away over the centuries, exposing bare rock, so all vegetation is stunted (less than 2 feet high). There are a lot of picher plants which obtain nourishment from trapping and dissolving insects in a sticky fluid.

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We walked down onto the plateau and dropped our packs by a small stream where we will camp for the night. Taking our bottles and some chocolate we set off for the summit of G. Tahan. The climb is really easy and some of us raced ahead to reach the peak first. We all arrived by 16.00 hr. We were lucky it was clear and sunny so we could see for miles into Pahang on one side and Kelantan on the other side. After collecting samples of quartz crystals and taking photographs with the trig point we left G. Tahan at 17.00 hr to reach our campsite before dark. That night dark clouds swept over us and provided our first rain.

Day 6 - 9 (8 April - 11 April) The return journey to Kuala Tahan was along the same route and was uneventful. All the food stores we left at the campsite were found intact. It rained the last two nights which brought out the leeches and this caused a slight problem as the blood coagulent to stop bleeding had been left behind at school by mistake.

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We left Kuala Tahan by boat at 10.30 hr on 12 April. The journey down the Sg. Tembeling took less than before as the water level had risen over the last 10 days. The battery on the minibus was flat but we managed to push start and we arrived back at SMSNS at 18.30 hr.


Conclusions: It was tiring but we enjoyed our expedition. Personally, I was pleased that the boys did everything for themselves, such as the cooking and all chores, which is valuable educational experience in itself.

For future parties, the importance of detailed planning cannot be overemphasised. Weigh must be kept to a minimum as you have to carry food for 9/10 days at the beginning.

It is important to be reasonably fit and have determination not to give up when the going get tough. We were lucky to have good weather most of the time but it is easy to imagine how unpleasant conditions could become if it rains most of the time.

There is no real risk in climbing G. Tahan. You are obliged to have a guide and you are unlikely to even see any animal. There is very little vertical climbing and not much danger of a serious ill. However, the group leader should impress on everyone the importance of not taking unnecessary risks: if one person badly sprains an ankle, it can wreck the whole expedition.


Author Note: There was one other Orang Asli's guide. When we were told his name is Pipit, we had a great laugh. Mr. Briggs being an Englishman was astonished and asked why we were laughing?

I guess Mr. Briggs found out later why we were laughing and most importantly found out that the meaning of pipit in the Malay tongue? Fyi, the word pipit when translated in the Malay's language (mostly used in slang), it's referring to the male organ as in penis!

I take it that was the reason why Mr. Briggs failed to mention the other Orang Asli's guide in the article. Maybe he thought using the word was not in good taste. Bear in mind, we were still school kids (in the teachers' eyes) at the age of 15 and have to be guided from hearing the sex words. Little did he realize that we know about sex more than we were suppose to know. Yeah, much much more...

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5 Comments thus far...

VersedAnggerik said...

Nice one!

Would U like to join us on a Monsoon Ride come this 27th NOvember. Its from Semuji, to Berkelah and then into Lata Mentagam.

ArahMan7 said...

Hola VersedAnggerik!

Thanks for the invitation. Really appreciate it.

I wondered what's a Monsoon Ride? You mean like taking a buggy ride along the beach? Well, that gonna be cool. Love to join you all, but the date is on November 27th. Has it passed or I still have a lot of time to make a plan (if it gonna be on November 27th, 2010).

Anyway, thanks for coming over. Next time I shall make sure there's gonna be a new post for you to read, lol! Or if you would tell me ahead that you will be coming, I can arrange for us to pekena teh tarik and Laksa Kuale. How's that to lure you to my blog?

See ya' around. Greetings and lots of love from Kuale Kangsor.

Sincerely yours,
~ ArahMan7

Abdul Rashid said...

What a great expedition. Can people like me join your next expedition? We have no other activity instead of work-work=work. Its difficult also to find friend with same passion. Hope to hear from you soon.

Anonymous said...

we have to give it away what we have ..........
NA Temerloh Home Group
NA KL Area commitee memmber

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Post a Comment

I loves to receive comments from everybody and I tried to make everything easier for my readers to comments. So please, be nice even though you totally disagree with me. No comment moderation and whatnot here. Please respect the privileges given.

God's willing, all comments will be followed and replied.

p/s Please leave your URL so that I can follow it and leave comments on yours. No URL = No Comments. It's as simple as that. Thank you in advance.

This blog is NOT using rel="nofollow" attribute. One thing that I can do to encourage you to leave more comments on this blog is to reward you with my link loves to go along with your comments. Without nofollow attribute, the search engines will follow the link so that you will get full credit with SEO. And subsequent pagerank value.

~ ArahMan7

PS - Word verification has been enable. Sorry about that [Sept 3rd, 2013].


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