Signboard where the trek branches to Gua Buta
Thankfully located not very far from the base camp, Gua Buta is a limestone cave perched atop one of the ledges that made up Bukit Kesong, where another 'cave', Gua Kesong is where we had pitched our tents.
Accessing this cave required a little bit of climbing, thus eliminating Henry and Timmy who were still nursing their leg sprains from the previous night.
A steep climb
The brave trekkers
Entrance to Gua Buta
Everyone else took up the challenge and after clambering over the pointy rocks, we were in. Bats inhabit quite a large portion of the cave, requiring us to keep our voices low to prevent a mass flying frenzy. We have to keep our heads low as well because, where there are bats, there is also guano, and we don't want to ingest any additional nutrients that are falling from above, do we?
Many Many Bats!
And then, where there is guano, there are also insects that feed on it, along with more insects to feed on the insects that feed on guano... a whole ecosystem! (if you don't, then you'd probably don't watch Discovery Channel) :p We took a few pictures of these insects as well, the ones we found looking big and most probably capable of delivering a very nasty bite!
Cave Centipede (Nasty Bite!)
Tailess Whip Scorpion
Aside from this there is also the usual stalactites and stalagmites, many of them still 'alive' with water dripping down their lengths.
Yee Wei with the stalagmites
The trek inside the cave took about 45 minutes, the path leading us through a few rope climbs and a single hole to squeeze through.
Some parts of the cave requires a rope climb
And a squeeze through a hole
All the while, there is this sensation that we are heading upwards and closer to the top of Bukit Kesong and our guide, K, confirms to us later that if we had more time, we could indeed access the top through this cave!
Denizens of the 'Cave'
Still haven't got over 'werewolves' it seems... ;)
Well, perhaps another time then, because by the time we reached the upper most chamber, it was time to get back to camp and pack up.
Gua Batu's topmost chamber
Encik Azam had planned for the boatman to meet us at the jetty around 1:00pm in the afternoon but judging at our current state of 'unreadiness' as we arrived back at 11:00am, we're gonna be late. :) No matter really, because we had to wait for the boatman on the first day as well. We have the tables turned. After packing our stuff the team took some final group photos before the main Kenong Rimba signboard.
One last group photo before we leave...
Henry and Timmy weren't in the picture because we had arranged for them to be transfered via 4WD to the jetty, following another group of visitors who had shared the 'cave' with us the last two nights. The rest of us had to get to the jetty the old fashion way: by foot. At about 12:30pm, we set off, leaving the base camp behind and entering the jungle once more. We made our way briskly, unencumbered by food and our tents which the first item we have consumed and the second item we have transfered to Timmy and Henry for them to bring along in the 4WD.
Insect nest on a tree on the way to the jetty
The caves we had passed on the first day breezed by and not long after, we were back on the tar road dodging mounds of turd again before Encik Azam called for a pause in front of this small kampung house. 'Civilization' came early for us.
Kampung house outside the park
The small kampung house was actually a makeshift grocery store and most of us helped ourselves to their stock of Coca Cola, 100 Plus and Sarsi. It was at this point that I finally had myself bitten by a leech! The sucker was drawing in blood through my socks and quite simply enjoying itself before I first sprayed it with what was left of my Baygon and then pouring it over with Dettol for good measure! I had not worn my leech socks this time because it was just plain dirty from the trek the night before. It was still convulsing in agony as we picked up our stuff and made the final few steps to the jetty. I guess I scored some brownie points when I presented Timmy and Henry with a can of Coke and Sarsi to quench their thirst at the jetty because they were very happy. ;) During the hike back from Lata Tujuh the previous day, a good portion of the time was spent dreaming about eating steaks, BBQs and drinking a can of ice cool Coke once we got out of the park. Guess I pre-empted that. ;) The boat ride out was bittersweet. On one hand, it was great to return back to the comforts of the city but on the other hand, it was rather sad to leave such a fine and pristine place with it's cooling river waters and clean fresh air. It would be a while before I hear the morning call of cicadas again! :)
Boat ride to civilization
On arrival at the Kuala Kenong jetty, we bid Encik Azam and his guides farewell but not after further discussing possible adventures to Gunung Benom, Gunung Tahan and another mountain in Kenong Rimba, Gunung Puteh. :) After that, we got into our mechanical mounts and drove back to Kuala Lipis, our eyes set on having a bowl of Ais Kacang laced with Kuala Lipis's supposedly famous Gula Melaka ("Better than the one in Malacca!" or so says Timmy). Unfortunately, most of the stalls in Kuala Lipis were closed, including their hawker center at Medan Tangga. We ended up at one of the mamak stalls there, packed with senior citizens, myself having a bite of chappati and another can of Coke before finally leaving Kuala Lipis altogether. As we approached Raub and later Bentong, the roads were showing signs of a stampede as people taking advantage of the long weekend to head back to their hometowns begin their return to Klang Valley. A long string of cars lined the Karak highway from which we turned into Bukit Tinggi for our last team dinner at Restaurant 126.
Restaurant 126 in Bukit Tinggi
This is a tried and tested place to eat. TT had previously stopped here to have lunch during our Chemperoh trip and found the price extremely reasonable (provided you don't call sea food of course!). We ordered 7 dishes (2 plates of pork bellies, 1 plate of sweet sour chicken, 1 serving of tau foo, 1 plate of egg foo yong and 2 plates of vegetables), all totalling a mere RM89!
Some proper food for a change!
Incredible! I couldn't get the same price for the same number of dishes even in Klang! Dinner dispensed with, it was time to show the prowess that got me into being a 'mat' engineer, my math ;). Fortunately, there was no repeat of 'edling' here as it was in Ipoh and all our bills were settled without much confusion. ;) At last, it was time for us all to part ways. Timmy transfered his stuff from Cheah's car to mine for Cheah to head straight home in Kepong, while Wei Han shuffled off to drop his passengers Vincent, Patrick and William before heading home himself. Timmy, Henry, Yee Wei and myself returned to TTDI where we had an impromptu meeting with Linus, Dennis and Audrey, sharing tales of our adventures in Kenong Rimba over cups of teh tarik, teh o'limau ais at a shop nearby. Until the next adventure... cheers!