So I signed up for my first hike in my entire life through meetup.com with the organiser CK Tan. The group name is Hikking, Trekking and Travelling Buddies (HTTB) and I chose the Sunrise at Arong and stayover at Lambak activity. Held on 11 July – 13 July, I decided to sign up for this activity because it fulfills the following criteria: 1) at $85 it is unbeatable to have one of the two days’ meals covered 2) I get to stay overnight at a homestay, which is the closest experience to camping (I signed up for these groups because I was waiting for camping activity) 3) I get to do some exercise 4) it was over the weekend so no leave needed should I be working by then.
In the evening time, we met at Marsiling MRT Station and went on the coach. It was very comfortable. We slept and had two toilet breaks (one of them longer for a late dinner/supper treat) and reached Mount Arong at 4am. Then, the hiking began. I offered to carry a bottle of water and a packet of instant noodles. But boy was I wrong to do so. I began to pant till I was the last one in the group. The organisers were very patient and asked me to stop to rest if I feel giddy. Honestly, I was both shocked and embarrassed at that stage when I realised my physique was bad and dragged the whole group down. I was literally panting till I could only hear my loud panting sound throughout the wee morning. I was also practically grabbing to any roots, tree trunks and stones to lift myself up. Stopping for a few times, I didn’t dare to stop for long as I was afraid the poor organisers had to wait for me.
Everyone was fast so they managed to reach the summit within an hour. And they were merrily cooking instant noodles and making milo and coffee. I was totally zonked out when I reached the top, wondering how the descent would be like (more of whether I could make it downhill thereafter). While merrily cooking away and getting everyone to eat, I realised one thing – after cardio activity I don’t have the appetite to eat. And I forgot about that. The organisers thought that I was feeling a bit worried or too tired so they were discussing about the next day’s hike and my condition.
At the back of my mind I was worried as well. Too many negative thoughts and wobbly knees made me both physically and emotionally exhausted. I declined the food except for a piece of bread given by a fellow hiker. I must really be grateful to Mandy, Mala and the two organisers as they have been extremely kind to me.
Unfortunately the weather was cloudy and we couldn’t see the egg yolk-sunrise. The organisers decided to move the entire group to another higher spot to watch the sunrise. It was gorgeous but I was too preoccupied with my exhaustion. And constantly worried about the descent.
After descending I thought I was going to die. BUT it was not over yet. We had to climb over BIG ROCKS. BIG HUGE BOULDERS. I really want to back out, but the only way to the bus was to get over the boulders. By this time every single cell in my body was screaming pain! But I had to pull through. Up and down we went and finally we reached the sea. Crossing the sea was the last obstacle. People who had been to this hike said the highest tide was knee level. This time, it was CHEST LEVEL! And I only brought one pair of bra!!!! Gosh! I was soaking wet, literally dripping wet when I crossed over. But it was kinda liberating…. Honestly. The cooling water soaking through your skin was darn great.
We finally reached the bus and I was worried again – I dunno why I kept worrying – because what am I going to do with a soaking bra?? How am I going to survive tomorrow? But by the time we had lunch at the kopitiam, it was already half dried and stank like hell. It was my first time (perhaps the last?) eating in a kopitiam in wet clothes. But I was pretty hungry and so I walloped the entire noodles pretty quickly.
We reached the homestay at 3pm and finally I could take a shower (albeit quick one). Changed into a new set of clothes and kept smelling my bra to ensure it didn’t have an odour. Night time was spent on free and easy activities in town where I had a cheap fringe trim and a pedicure to remove dead skin. Lousy but since it is cheap it didn’t matter.
The biggest memory I had was the night time activities. They played some games – I kept quiet and watched happily at one side as I was suffering from gastric (too tired I realised) and wanted to relax and observe quietly. This group was full of energy and fun. I love these guys but too bad my physique didn’t help.
When I returned, I had the opportunity to bathe leisurely before the others were back. I decided to air my bra in the room and so I chatted with a cooking assistant who came early to cook for another client in the evening. After chatting a bit, the landlady finally came. I seized the opportunity to buy lunch from a nearby shop and then returned to find the first group back. Returning the keys was a big relief for me. Thereafter we rested and chatted while surfing on our handphones. We left the homestay after a group photo and headed for a good Cantonese seven-course meal before returning to Singapore. All in all, it was a very good experience for me. And I must thank my lucky stars that I met friendly and encouraging people along the way.