Sungei Lembing Trip – Part 5
When I was
cursing complaining of my ill fate of having to climb in Mt. Bromo, my friends who had visited Panorama Hill warned of my impending trip to Sungei Lembing. The steps are 3 times more than Mt. Bromo even though the latter is higher and if you think Mt. Bromo is tough wait till you scale Panorama Hill.
I’ve been warned!
And I was really worried because I was still suffering from flu. Will my lungs collapse? Will I suffer acute mountain sickness? Should I really go on this trip at all? I didn’t want to, not really. I was afraid I may die. There’s a lot going for me at the moment. You see, I’m going to be a grandma this year! Yes! Valerie’s pregnant and we’re expecting the stork to deliver in August, an *SG50 child. And if the birth date is 9th, it will be a big bang!
I cannot back out because I had been entrusted with Vincent’s daughter and then there’s Desmond. I was the one who asked him to join this outing. I have obligations. So I said to myself, “Let’s see how it goes, Sam. Don’t push it”. If I felt really unwell, I would stay behind and rest at the lodge. My friends would understand. And before I could breathe another word, I’d conquered Gua Charas 😉 Afterwards, in the bus, my eyes started to tear (too dry) and nose runny. Without much sleep the day before, I was feeling lethargic during dinner and didn’t eat much. I must have been delirious when I blurted at the dining table, “I’m going to climb Panorama Hill at 2am. I want to do a star trail and hopefully catch the Milky Way before sunrise.”
Those shooting sunrise would start their ascend at about 4am. I knew I had to go earlier, allowing myself to slowly walk up the hill. If others took 30 minutes to scale it, I would need double maybe triple the time. I had a mission, perhaps a death wish… “Nana scaled Mt. Bromo and Panorama Hill, caught a Milky Way and did some star trails the year you were born!” That made my lips curled with satisfaction! 😀
Michael conducted a mini tour around town visiting the tin mining museum, the hanging bridge, etc… etc… I was already seeing stars with a couple of cuckoo birds circling in front of me, not unlike jet-lagged condition. After a quick shower, I managed some small talk with Charlene out of politeness before hitting the bed when we finally reached the lodge. I needed sleep. I overslept. Desmond was at knocking at the door as I came out of the bathroom, all freshened up for the big climb. “Coming out!”
In the end, those who intended climb at 4am turned up at 2.30am. They reckoned it was better to go in a bigger group. Ling helped me with the tripod. Joel was the first man and the rest fell in line with Ricky as the last man. Slowly but steadily, we reached the peak in 45 minutes. I didn’t even take any break in between. The steps were more (some said 800-900) but they weren’t as steep as Mt. Bromo. The gradual elevation helped tremendously and I wasn’t rushed.
At the top, I laid out my goodies. I had heat packs, snickers, charsiu buns, fisherman lozenges and filtered water. It was a clever move to bring those stuff because unlike Mt. Bromo where there are stalls selling hot drinks and cup noodles almost round the clock, this hill does not offer such essentials, not even toilet. So I put aside my bladder for the next 10 hours. Ling was getting weak and I offered her a snickers bar. Charlene, according to Desmond, looked parched and he fished out a bottle of water from my goodie bag. Yes, it was a good thing I was prepared.
Desmond, Mr. Aw and I stayed near the hut. We took some star trail shots and joined the rest on the side of the mountain when more hikers came up. Their torchlights were disturbing my time-lapse shots. After a while as I realised more people were heading up the hill to catch the sunrise, I gave up shooting star trails and went to join the rest of my group. Ricky said, there’s the Milky Way on your right. Voila! Lucky me 😀
When we arrived at the resort later, a neighbour few doors away from our room, consoled us that it is not everyday one witnessed resplendent sunrise.
“We heard you guys… went out at 2am plus right? Too bad there’s no spectacular sunrise.” Shook their heads, too.
“You mean you didn’t see the sun rise??? It was a huge kiam nerng (salted egg)!”
I shouldn’t gloat but I felt rewarded when we found out that our poor neighbour had gone up before dawn and left when the sun didn’t rise at the forecasted time. Patience was key here. Michael had already advised that the sun needed more time to “climb” the sea of clouds before rearing its head.
The time had come when most of my companions dread, walking down. They said their sore muscles felt it was more strenuous than climbing uphill. I, on the other hand, felt it was easier to go down and made it to the foothill in quick time, 15 minutes!
Benny, Leonard, Robin, Rosemary, Zen and Michael were waiting at the foothill. When I arrived, someone said he thought I’d be the last. Shaddup your face 😉 Time to pee and then break fast!
Panorama Hill 林明山顶
Located near Pollock Creek.
26200 Sungai Lembing.
Happy eating, traveling and bonding 😀
*SG50 – We call this year SG50 as Singapore celebrates her 50th National (Independence) Day on 9th August!
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