Gecko ForestExplorers
Only after the last tree has been cut down;
Only after the last fish has been caught;
Only after the last river has been poisoned;
Only then will you realize that money cannot be eaten.
- Cree Indian Prophecy

Helplines for Nature & Environment



A Hunter With 9 Dogs
And Yet Another
Airport Security and Birds
Avalanche in Rainforest
Believe or Not?
Can You Spot the frog?
Cheated by Greed
Cheated by Baska
Cascades, Caves and Canoes
Climbing Manners
Damned It!
Encounter With King Cobra
Effect of Heel Pillows
Ethics of Jungle
Free Durians - Bullshit
Gallstone Removal Treatment
"Globalisation" opponents?
How to Use Bino
Hypothermia - be forewarned
How to Choose a Rucksack
Human Zoo
If Not Mat Salleh
Instructions For Life
Knee Pain Tips
Korbu - A small odyssey..
Life Span of Human...
Life was Cheap
Lost in the Jungle
Making A Camp
Mission Accomplished!
Trip To Sg Lembing
Miracle Powder
Nature's Voice
Nothing Goes To Waste
Of Sweat, Salt and VC
Orang Asli in Survival Mode
Penang National Park
Petrol Price
Pollution Everywhere...
Pretend And Cheat..
Prickling Scam
Principle Of Trekking
Rafflesia kerrii - largest in Peninsular Malaysia
Rengas Trees
Rope Walk
Rubbish Collectors
Seasons Come Seasons Go
Snake bite at Gunung Tahan
Sorry Gecko you are next on the line
Spam of Sg Jagong
Tarutao - Accidental Pilgrims
They Called It Wildboar Tick
Trip To Taman Negara
The Sting That Cures
We Were Accomplices
Year-end Message 2008

......Weather is unpredictable. However, monsoon and season are still within our knowledge.....

And Yet Another missing hiker...

by Forest Ang
This article on 19 Dec 2006, at inspired me to write.

Every now and then you will read about missing Malaysia as well as in other part of the world.

There are so many to learn about ourselves and there are so many to learn from nature. I am still learning new tricks and new skills everyday which I can apply during my outdoor adventures. Out there, many are still arrogant to learn from past experiences of others. Many just want to test the impossible. And yet many will continue to take life cheaply - courting dead and doing the impossible endeavor while risking other people life (volunteers and search parties).

Leaders of expeditions, organisers and lead hikers should be aware about the heavy responsibilities toward fellow hikers. A leader should be able to manage the team to avoid mishaps and to ensure safety of the group. Here are my tips for future team leaders.

1. Can you control the discipline of the group?
Discipline is very important in any outdoor activities. You just cannot be mister nice if you want discipline. I remember I have to axe a member of a hiking expedition to G. Tahan because she was undisciplined in her training and she could jeopardize the group performance and safety. In another case, I told off a member of the team for sleeping on a fiber glass cover of a water tank. Imagine if the thin fiber glass cover give way and he could be drowned! And worst fear was that others might follow to sleep on it. Team leaders should be prepared to spell out unpopular moves.

2. Are you quick, fast and agile in making decision and judgment?
You have to make decision and fast in any wilderness environment. In an incident while camping by the river, I evacuated the team after hearing thunder from the upper reaches of the mountain. We could have been swept away when during the night the river bank overflow.

3. Do you have colorblindness?
I have seen many who were colorblind and being lost in their sense of directions. I have personnaly seen a team member overtaking us and loosing himself at Kuala Teku (G.Tahan's trail). We wasted 3 long hours searching for him. Apparently he took a right turn towards the Tahan's trail (We were on the Four Steps Waterfall's trail). Read more about colorblindness here.

4. Are you sensitive to changes in the environment?
You are in a river cave. The river water is clear. Midway through the cave, the water turns muddy. What do you understand by this change of environment? Yes, it is raining outside and its time to get out of the cave as it could be flooded anytime. Look out for high ground incase we need to keep ourselves from the rushing water.

5. Do you understand hypothermia?
In Malaysia, you rarely hear people succumbed to hypothermia. Yes, but beware that there are at least 10% of people who are afraid of cold (that include me!) And so as a leader, you have to know and to look out for those that have that weaknesses. Read more here.

6. Do you know about the timing of the trip - the weather, monsoon and the seasons?
Our mother earth has been "bleeding". Weather is unpredictable. However, monsoon and season are still within our knowledge. So planning your trip to different part of the country need some weather studies. At certain time of the year, it could be raining the whole day. Some months you could find alot of bees (and then you have members who are allergic to bees). FYI, bees are abundant during the flowering months - between March to July in Malaysia. You don't go to the east of main range during the monsoon months (i.e. November till January).

7. Can you build rapport & trust among fellow hikers?
When you have big group, you will find segregation. Segregation can leads to incooperation. Incooperation can leads to indiscipline. So it is better to keep the group intact than to have problem after within. A leader has to be a "clown" to keep the group together. Be sensitive to the circumstances. Be understanding to the pressure. And most of all, should be motivating at all time - even though you yourself are having "pressure".

8. Do you have the necessary technical skill on equipment and hiking terrain?
Reading maps, understanding compasses, adapting to the terrain and ability to use ropes and other devices in emergency. You have to have those basic skills to be able to lead. Sometime you need six sense. There was an incident in the deep jungle of Penang. We were bashing a new trail. The overgrowths were too thick. I could "smell" a stream. I knew I was on the right direction. I don't know, but these exact 6 senses are necessary for a successful trip.

9. Are you a qualified first aider?
I was a first aider during my school days. I am always interested in first aid. Any wound and injuries, I will try to help. I learned new technique. I learned CPR. I learned life saving. These extra knowledge and experiences really helped me in my exploring. They give me confident. Do you have them?

10. Can you improvise?
Do you know how to make a stretcher from a shirt? Improvising is important. You just can't carry everything with you in a long distance hike through difficult terrain. It is preferable to have an item that can be used for more than one purposes. For example my pocket knife can be used as a can opener (that is knowing how to use it as a can opener).

11. Do you prepare necessary first aid equipment?
First aid box and knitting tools are necessary for a long distance hike. I won't write about the first aid kit as it is obvious you should carry one. Knitting tools include threads and needles are needed for weak haversack and opened shoes...and in worst senario to stitch up open wound. You never know and it is safer when you are well prepared.

12. Do you provide enough training to your group?
And last but not the least, training is a very important aspect of a successful expedition. Never treat training lightly. I have seen too many people who did not have enough training who will suffer the whole journey and started the journey as friends and end the journey as foes. Yes, I have encountered these people (not from my group) and I just pitied them.

Do you have anything to add? Please comment.

Merry Xmas & A Happy New Year 2007!

21 Dec 06


Copyright Since 2003   All rights reserved.
All photographs by Forest Ang unless mentioned.
No images or text may be used without written permission by author.

Terms of Use | About Me | Disclaimer