Blindfolded by his newly wed wife, he was brought along in the car thinking that he was going to have a dip at an Olympic sized swimming pool at the end of the trip. Little did he know that at the end of the approximately 45 minute drive, he found himself surrounded by jungle greenery, a cool running stream and eager friends in it on the scheme.
|Tim being blindfolded. Still thinks he is going to be swimming in an 'Olympic sized' swimming pool. ;)|
|Jalan Gombak. Road less travelled, unless there is another major accident on Karak :p|
|Parking in front of Jungle Lodge. RM5 for us. How much for you? :p ;) Remember, don't pay ANYONE else!|
Having made the necessary introductions and securing our cars, we proceed down the road on foot. There is another small parking lot further down and over here there is also another person collecting parking 'fees'. BEWARE of being conned! While I am OK about paying a token fee to put our vehicles on someone else's land, there are people here that would ask money for the most whimsical excuses. In this case, somehow some of our group stopped to chat with the man and came off RM10 poorer paying for 'entrance fees'!
Beyond this second 'parking lot' the road leads straight to a dead end, stopping inside a pump house manned by someone dressed in an Auxiliary Police officer's uniform. I know that because the moment our small group walked pass the boom gate (with a large restricted sign) and toward what last I thought was the way down from the road to the river, he came out and told us to head slightly back down the road, away from the restricted area to find the point of descent. The one I was looking for, where the trek follows the perimeter fencing is already barbed wired off.
It was no problem looking for a trail down to the river, there were many. There was an even slightly serviceable stone stairway a bit back. The difference is just how long you want to get your feet dry, because the moment we are down, we had to wade into the shallow river to find the crossing point in front of the pumphouse. The point to look out for is a small opening in the bushes overlooking the cement barrier that spanned the small river where two large valves are installed,
After climbing out of the river, over a rather slippery rock, you will find a small trail cutting through lalang scrubs flanking your left and right. Follow it until you see a large monsoon run-off on your left. The river would be flowing beneath you on your right with the sounds of passing traffic coming ahead from the Karak Highway in front.
|Hiking along the side of the river. Watch out for the stepped monsoon run off (drain) on your left on the way to the tunnel|
|Reaching this hike's unique landmark. Big trees, large boulders... no other hike has a trail that runs through not one tunnel but two! :)|
|Wading into the darkness.|
From here, its about another 30~40 minutes walk to the falls and the general rule is to always keep on the right side of the river. This may be easier said than done as in some occasions, you'd need to cross to the other side or wade in the river itself when the path is blocked by large rocks, tree trunks or simply thick jungle.
|After the tunnel, always try to keep to the right hand bank of the river (otherwise you may end up at Gunung Buah Bunga, if you are stubborn enough ;))|
It is also that this confluence that you'd find a jungle track that runs parallel to the river branch on the right side. Following it would be a lot easier than 'conveniently' sticking to wading in the river as our team discovered on the way back. There were a few giant trees that fell across the river rendering it difficult to continue forward although as yet, not impossible.
Not far along the trek on the right side of the river you'd meet the next reference milestone. The 'big tree'. You'd not mistake it for anything else, it is literally a rather big tree, with a trunk as wide as probably 5 to 6 people standing full abreast.
|In front of the big tree! :D|
In any case, I brought my team up to follow them along the path and soon we found the next checkpoint, the 'split rock'. Well, it's not exactly a rock that was split open but more like two large boulders with the path running between it.
At this point it's barely 5~10 minutes away from the falls. As you get closer, you'll probably have to wade down the river again. Be careful because some of the rocks are rather slippery!
Before long, you'd see the waterfall and it's approximately 20 meter cascade.
|Our destination at last! :D|
|A nice cascade, powerful flow and a small shallow pool to swim in. :) Watch out for the abseilers though.|
|Can you see the fishies? :)|
At the top of the waterfalls, you'll find a few small depressions for you to dip yourself inside, not swimmable. Again, do be careful when stepping near the edge of the falls as the stones are slippery.
Overall, this trip was nice in that I get to once again meet an old 'friend'. :) The feeling of cold clean mountain water splashing over your back was a refreshing sensation after this relatively easy hike. :)