Sunday, December 28, 2008

FRIM Rover's Trail and Canopy Walk Hill Hike

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If I go cycling, I can't involve my entire family since not all can go cycling long distance. At most I can only bring my eldest son, who is already 16 years old. So if I want to involve my entire family in the activity, I have to find something that everyone can participate in.

So instead of going cycling at GCE today with the Rubbermen, I brought my entire family to go trail hiking at FRIM Kepong. Since I was not sure what they could participate in, I brought them to the Salleh Nature Trail behind the FRIM museum. The trail looks dilapidated and not well utilised. In fact my missus missed the trail head totally due to it. The trail was simple enough and not too challenging. Even my 9 year old daughter could cope with it. It took us 35 minutes to complete the 2.2km trail. It was pleasant trail with a variety of plants which could be seen up close. We only encountered another Chinese couple on this trail.

The nature trail ended at the beginning of Rover's Trail. Rover's Trail is a gravel trail, wide enough for a Land Rover to drive on with ease. That's why they call it Rover's Trail since it is meant for a Land Rover aka Rover. This trail was crowded with people, heading in both direction. We continued to climb leisurely upward on this trail for 20 minutes, covering 1.2km in distance and 50 meters in altitude until we reach an open area.

This is where those interested in the Canopy Walk have to make a detour upward using a small and difficult jungle trail. How difficult is it? Very difficult indeed. They should limit this trail only for those between thirteen and fifty years old and properly attired in outdoor gear. My eleven years old son's shoes sole came off half-way during the tough uphill trek and it made his trekking very miserable indeed. Although they claimed that it is only 500 meters from Rover's Trail to the canopy walk, it is really 936 meters in distance and 70 meters in upward altitude. The hike up the canopy walk may be strenuous to many; it is an uphill hike all of the way.

By right, those who wants to walk on the Canopy Walk must buy the tickets from the FRIM Information Centre, near the start of the Rover's Trail. It is RM5 for adults, RM3 for school children and RM1 for small kids. Since the trail is quite tough, I suggest that you leave the small kids behind. If you still want to check it out, bring along water and dress appropriately; light cool clothing is recommended as it gets very hot and humid in the jungle, and good walking shoes or hiking boots is a definite must.

The canopy walkway was built in 1992 on the hillside and spans for about 200 meters. The entire walkway consists of 4 bridges suspended from tree to tree by an elaborate array of ropes. The walkways are just planks hardly a foot wide placed on aluminium ladders supported by the ropes. These 4 bridges are connected by 3 platforms as high as 30 meters from the ground. The middle section is the longest and not for those scared of heights.

My youngest daughter can't get over her fears after almost reaching the middle section and we had to turn back. We walked instead using the jungle trail for 800 meters to the end station of the Canopy Walk, where her mother, elder sister and two elder brothers were already waiting for her. Those who went on the Canopy Walk really enjoyed it in spite of the frightening height. We walked downwards for 620 meters to reach the Rover's Trail again. There is a nice waterfall here.

I asked one of the staff, one Encik Rahim who was on a bike, which way is the best way to go down. He suggested using the "short cut" alongside the waterfall which will take only "10 minutes". Foolishly I believed him. The short cut is really a 1.2 km downward trek and 60 meters in altitude with plenty of obstacles. It took us 20 minutes to reach the bottom of the waterfall.

Luckily there were food stalls here, where we could sit down and recover. I should have used the Rover's Trail instead since that trail is a lot easier and I would've ended up nearer to my vehicle.

I hitched a ride with one of the stall owners to pick up my vehicle since my family were too tired to continue the trek. Maybe they were tired but they enjoyed it very much. We covered 7.2km on foot in 2 hours 12 minutes. Apparently I used up more calories on this hike than cycling 27 km!


Berisman said...

After reading your story,I decided only to take my family to walk along Rover Trail and around the FRIM campus.It is more than enough for two oldies and my youngest son.

drtamil said...

Yep. Rover's Trail cukup.