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It's time to hang up my boots but not entirely and definitely not my rucksack

By Hooi Peng Kwan

......we'll meet again in the jungle if this wonderful planet earth still exist !....

Hooi Peng Kwan

Recently I had some training with some friends for the Yong Yap trip via Pos Brook. It was a late training session with about a month to go so I consider it as a late training. The first two training session seems to be a smooth one for me but last training on Saturday (the last one before the trip) turned out to be a disaster as I was not able to catch up with the others and my knee was most painful when going down hill from all of my hiking trip. This pain was caused by an accident many years ago resulting in the dislocation of my hip joint. After discharged from the General Hospital in 1984, everything seem to be alright though limping for a few months at work.

My knee has always been my main problem during hiking for quite sometime about two years back. Most of the time it happened during going downhill but somehow I managed to arrive at the ending point an hour's late than the others. I was thinking may be the Yong Yap's trip via Pos Brook would be my last G.7 climb. After all, it's another route and my previous hike (in1999 ) turnout not enjoying any nice view from the peak. It was raining when we arrived there so, no luck-lah. We just quickly had some Maggi Mee and rushed down back to the bamboo hut that's all.

From the observation of two experienced hasher Chandra and Ammy, they can tell that it is time for me to hang up my boots as I struggled up and down all the way from Teluk Bahang to Tiger Hill yesterday. My previous hikes took me 4 1/2 to 5 hours but Saturday's took me more than 7 hours to reach Tiger Hill, a delay of 2 1/2 hours which by any standard was too far behind. The previous late arrival trip was the Chally-Yong Belar and the Gunung Suku where the others had to wait for me about an hour before the 4x4 took us back to Raja's place and the Suku's the others had to call out my name several times. From these two incidents the last two years I knew my hiking sphere is about coming to an end but just don't know when. This kind of pain just come and go. So when it goes, I can climb and when it comes then too bad for me.

My interest in hiking was in 1993, nine years after the accident when my company sent me for a team building course in Lumut called the Corporate Adventure Learning Camp ( CARL's Camp) with a group of 20 staff in each batch. There we learned about communications with fellow colleagues and team building. From previous team members who went there, we were told that we had to hike several hills around Lumut and some members had passed out during hiking. I decided to train on my own and some friends recommended Botanical Gardens to 84 would be a good place to hike. After this training session I came across an advertisement about a Taman Negara trip organised by Penang MNS. That was how I joined MNS and came to know James Leong and Cikgu Ang now circling in the internet as Jungle Leong and Forest Ang. So, it took me nine years after the accident, to realise actually there are many many wonders out there in the jungle waiting to explore and enjoy. May be all this while, I have been a good husband, father, or housekeeper that locked me to the confines of the household accountability.

Hooi Peng Kwan
One of the G7's peak

Started hiking at the age of around 42 should be considered as a late comer but even though I was a late comer, I still regard myself as a very lucky person because I had climbed all the major peaks in Malaysia and enjoyed every moment of my trip. I'm sure many millionaires/billionaires could not have possibly done so even if they're interested in it. So, I should thank both Jungle and Forest who raised this kind of outdoor interest in me resulting I had done all the major peaks in the Peninsular and the surrounding region including Nepal and China.

The next hiking buddy I should thank would be Moon (Kampar Ong), Dr.Chan, Liew Chin Chow and Mah Kin Wah (both cavers) who had to spend an extra day at the bottom of Yong Belar waiting/looking for me when I was still struggling up the peak for the second time in one day. I'm sure no one else in Malaysia can achieved that feast climbing Yong Belar twice in 24 hours from different sides. I also thank Christopher Gallop who despite of his age had all this while giving me support and encouragement for all my hiking activities. He retired from hiking at the age of 66 ten years ago and now I'm retiring at 56 a difference of 10 years earlier than him. He is now 76 if I'm not mistaken and still walking around Botanical Gardens from his Jelsseton home in the morning.

Another hiking buddy I should be grateful to will be Alastair Bishop and Silviane Bonadei who had been so kind driving this poor man hiking around the country knowing this poor hiker does not own a car and not even know how to drive and yet they did not mind driving me all over the country hiking.

Not to forget members of MNS Pahang, Selangor Pathfinders, Kedah, Perak, Singapore and Jessie Cheah of Melaka who gave their utmost support when I organised a clean up campaign at Gunung Bubu, Kuala kangsar. Kaynis Chong from the Selangor branch and Jean Wong from Kuantan were really dedicated to this campaign in conjunction with World Forest Day in 2002. On returning from base camp after the clean up, I just passed out on the trail too tire running between Penang and Ulu Kenas,Kuala Kangsar because my leave was not approved by the company. I had to rely on public transport to get me to Kuala Kangsar from Butterworth. After launching the campaign, I had to rush to Penang back for work and rush back to Kuala Kangsar after work and ran towards base camp alone just to be with my volunteers spending a night together. This kind of experience will always remain on my mind for the rest of my life. Thank God, now I'm retired and free from all this hassle.( leave approval) Hopefully, this thing won't happen if I choose to work again.

As for my daily exercise, if my knee allows, I would still be walking from Moongate or Pondan Hill to 84 as these two trails are my most favourite and enjoyable trails in Penang. There are cool, quite and without any hot sunlight that's why not hangup entirely and definitely not my rucksack because I still need to go backpacking around this tiny planet as long as I can walk.

Last but not least, I sincerely wish to thank Mingx2 and Riza for inviting me to this Yong Yap trip but not knowing I have to end so early and sudden. I wish I could come to this hike this weekend even though I know Kampar Ong would take us up one day for free with just one glass of beer can Kau Tim. Although I have made up my mind to call it a day, I also wish to come for the opening of Moon's new trail to Bujang Melaka if I'm invited to cut the ribbon on that day before the start of the hike. I don't mind camping alone at the starting point as long as there is water, a stream or better still, a waterfall down there and wait for your return. I think that's the most I can enjoy in the wild.

My next course of activities would most probably be birding but in birding as far as I can see.......9 out of 10 birders are proud and selfish and do not wish to have new comers with them while birding. The reason for this is that they're afraid new comers will disturb them by making noises and calling out loud thus, causing birds flying away. It will take time for me to learn by myself refering to guide books and so on.

Many thanks for all your company in the wild the past 13 or 14 years and hopefully in our next life we'll meet again in the jungle if this wonderful planet earth still exist !

NEXT A personal observation by Hooi Peng Kwan

Help On Knee Problem Read Dan Low's personal experience on Knee Pain


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