Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve: A walk in the Park

It’s been a while since my last hike, what with the rainy weather that is so common towards the end of the year in Malaysia. Trails become muddy and soggy, you get dirty and the hordes of leeches that seem to ‘bloom’ in conditions like these always a deterrent to this adventurer.

The good news is that the weather has now moderated somewhat, with less occurrence of rain. So it’s time to slip back on my hiking boots. :D

February 19th, 2011 saw my first foray into the jungle since the dawn of the New Year. The destination: Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve. ;) Yup, right close to the heart of civilization! And yup again, it’s kind of a ‘sissy’ hike for me. :D

You can’t really find the place on the GPS nor are there really signboards posted to lead you to the place from the main road. But I have recorded the GPS position via my phone, so if you are looking for it, key in the following coordinates: N 03o 10.162’ E101o 34.838’. That would put you right smack at the most official looking entrance to the park. You can also locate it by searching for the school opposite the entrance, the rather blandly named, Sekolah Menengah Sekysen 10 Kota Damansara. For those not ‘blessed’ with the latest Global Positioning technology, then you’ll have to rely on good old road directions.

Ye’Olde Road Directions

Starting from the Curve behind you, travel along Persiaran Surian until you reach the traffic light junction to turn into Persiaran Mahogani. This junction is also where you’ll find Kota Damansara’s HOT Giza development on your right. If you miss this turn, Casa Indah Condominium will be immediately on your left after the traffic lights. On Persiaran Mahogani, drive pass the overpass spanning the Kota Damansara exit of the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), pass the 1st traffic light with Carrefour on your right, pass a 2nd traffic light with a mosque on your left, pass a 3rd traffic light with 7-Eleven on your left before finally reaching the 4th traffic light. Take a right turn at the traffic light into Persiaran Bidara. Driving along this road will take you pass De Rozelle Condominium on your left before you reach the start point opposite the school.

I was introduced to this place by two of my friends, Cindy and Suk Yuen whom I had never thought would want to take up ‘jungle trekking’ as a hobby, ‘delicate’ beings they were ;). There was an offer of a ‘fish’ to bait me, but as my luck would have it, the ‘fish’ always somehow found something else to do at the last minute. :p (Not that the ‘fish’ is the main reason I joined this ‘sissy hike’ in the first place. :p ;) As I have repeatedly stressed, it’s the QUALITY TIME I get to spend with my friends that is more important! ;) Right?) So for this trip, it was Cindy, Suk Yuen, Hou Yong and myself.

We started off on the trail at about 9:30am, after meeting up at Giza. The start point has a large permanent roofed structure close by, probably built as a resting spot or gathering point.

Signboards posted at the entrance to the park. Unfortunately, no camping allowed :p

The trail is pretty well defined, with trees to the left and right labelled with the name of its genus and species.

As long as there are signs like these on nearby trees, you SHOULD not get lost... :p

As long as you keep seeing these labels, you know you will not get lost here (Not that you’d be far off from civilization anyway. Housing areas surround the park). It is also officially listed as a mountain biking trail as well, although on this Saturday we did not see any ‘macho’ mountain bikers that the ladies were touting. Perhaps it was pretty ‘late’ in the morning.

Cindy 'enjoying' the morning walk... ;)

After about 20 minutes slow walk, we encountered a fork in the road. Although the other three have been here before, none seem to recall which route to take. A paper trail with the word ‘BATU’ etched on it led us into one direction, which we decided to follow. At length, the trail was blocked by a fallen tree trunk at which the ‘BATU’ paper trail suddenly veered itself right into the jungle up an inclined slope.

The 'notorious' BATU paper trail that led us to a DEAD END :p.

Not wanting to second guess these ‘BATU’ people who seemed to know what they were doing, we followed on, passing thorny ferns before ending up at a DEAD END! :p The ‘BATU’ trail just disappeared and after a 15 minute search of the perimeter with no further evidence of a trail, I advised we turn back and head towards the fork. Of course, the prospect of being on the next day’s newspaper headline cited with the distinction of being one of those clueless people that could actually get lost in a relatively meek forest reserve and had to be rescued by the fire department didn’t sound at all appealing to this ‘seasoned’ hiker’s mind. ;) :p

The trail we took from here on was labelled the ‘Temuan’ trail. It was listed as officially being 4km long. There were a few other trails; the other I remembered was called ‘Scout’s Trail’ at a shorter distance.
Dainty ladies experiencing a hike...

We met a bunch of other hikers at a fork on this trail. They were coming back from an unsuccessful search for some sort of ‘spring’. More likely, they have better luck searching for ‘El Dorado’, because I haven’t heard of a waterfall or spring in this area. :p ;)

We left the hikers behind and headed down the trail. Strangely, the ‘BATU’ paper trail made an appearance again, ‘guiding’ us along the now obvious path. There were a lot of ‘exits’ to this trail that lead into the surrounding housing estates as you near it’s circuitous end but I would recommend you return to whence you start lest you get disorientated. :p

Prior to discovering that the trail was circuitous however, I had asked the other three whether there was a ‘destination’ to this trail. Their answer was a surprising negative! :p

So there you have it. After following the jungle trail for another 30 minutes, we finally ended up where we started. No waterfall, no summit, no viewing point, nada. :p Not that the place is all that bad. It’s a real good place for beginners and for arborists, you know, those people who study about… er… TREES! :p ;)
Still, the chance of spending time with friends (seriously! ;)) and stretching my hiking legs a bit is well worth the time.

Hou Yong negotiating a slope... seems like he is happy! ;)

At 11:00am, we packed up, got into Hou Yong’s MyVi and headed to Giza for a ‘luxurious’ breakfast at Papa Rich. :)

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