Monday, May 4, 2015

Apeh Hill Climb - 'Mystery Resolved!'

I was seriously confused between Saga Hill and Apeh Hill. Only up until recently did someone point out in one of my blog postings that the hill I had climbed from Taman Saga to access the waterfall beyond was actually Saga Hill! Like duh... Taman Saga + Jalan Saga. ;) Ah well, so when one of my friends decided to show us the REAL Apeh Hill, I decided to make sure I fall in behind his team and dispel the mystery.

Now, the entrance to the trail that leads to Apeh Hill is located at the end of Jalan Awana 23 in Taman Cheras Awana, a little bit of the road from the Cheras-Kajang Highway. Waze-ing your way there is the most easiest but in case you still need to look at the map, here it the location below.  

Now depending on the season, parking may be a little difficult as this hill is rather popular. Most people park along Persiaran Awana, close to the entrance to the One Legenda bungalows. The road is pretty long and wide and appears rarely used.
You really want to get to this road to know that you are at the right place. Oh yeah, I also obscured the Ah Long phone number. :s
After parking your car, it's then a short walk through the double story houses along Jalan Awana 23 before you see the TNB Sub-Station at the end of the road. Here is where you'll find a small trail that runs pass a tarpaulin shed on the left. Voila! You're on your way up Apeh Hill. :)
The end of Jalan Awana 23, TNB substation on your left, tarpaulin shed selling fruits and drinks in front.
The trail itself is well marked and well developed, at times with ropes stretched between tree trunks to aid hikers along more steeper paths. Not long after starting, the trail splits into two. Either one would lead you to the top of Apeh Hill but most people will take the trail on the left which will then lead you to Hill Station Number One. This is the first of five on the Apeh Hill Circuit.
Hill Station Number One. Sheds, benches and monkey bars!
Like Saga Hill, the residents here must have maintained the place nicely, erecting benches, sheds, monkey bars and even placing concrete mini dumb bells for visitors to use! A small stream runs at the edge of Hill Station Number One, small cement path span over it to lead hikers up the next section of the trail to Hill Station Number Two.
Crossing over the small stream. Nice place to freshen up both going or coming down from the summit. :)
A few meters down the path and it starts getting a bit tricky. ;) This is where the path starts to test the hiker's endurance as it angle upwards, looking a little bit like what it would be like climbing Saga Hill.
Uphill Climb begins...
A little bit more before Hill Station Number Two... add oil! 
Thankfully there were a few ropes stretched down to help hikers and after a about 20 minutes negotiating up the incline, you'd reach a small resting spot where a Chinese shrine has been built. This is Hill Station Number Two, housing perhaps the local 'Dato'. ;) If your sensitivity allows, do feel free to light up a few joss-sticks for the Dato and ask for his blessing to make your trip a safe and happy one. ;)
The small resting space at Hill Station Number Two. The Dato shrine is on the right. 
There is really not much space here for more than a brief stop as often times more hikers would be piling in from below. so it's time to move on.
Another round of steep climbing before reaching the next station. 
After a while, the trail levels back down and soon you'll find yourself at Hill Station Number Three. Nothing much to see here except for more places to rest than at the previous Hill Station. A large signboard announcing this station is nailed onto a rather large tree.
Yes, it's Hill Station Number 3. :) 
Moving on, you'll reach Hill Station Three-A. ;) 4 being a most inauspicious number among the Chinese (cause it sounds similar to the word 'death' brrrrr...), the people at this place has renamed it 3A instead.
3A and not 4? Hehehe, don't worry, the next Station is Number 5. we Chinese then to shun away from the 'death' number, hence the 3A instead. :) 
By now, the trail is now almost level and there are plenty of places to lounge around this Hill Station. The concrete dumb bells now make a return and together with a sturdy pipe anchored between two strong branches for your chin ups, you've got an open air gym up in the hills!
Now, going hiking is no longer an excuse not to forgo your regular weight training sessions...
Wanna get your 'wings'? Do more chin ups... 
Hill Station Number 5 is pretty small, with only one tarpaulin available and a few plastic chairs.
Hill Station Number 5. A small place to pause and catch your breath. It's also where the trail branches off away from the summit track to Apeh Hill Waterfall. 
From here you have two choices. Either go 'x-treme' by taking the trail to the Apeh Hill Waterfall before continuing on towards Saga Hill or head to Hill Station Number 6 which is the summit of Apeh Hill. The hike from the Apeh Hill waterfall to Saga Hill and out to the entrance at Taman Saga would easily take about 1.5 to 2 hours at a brisk pace, the time to trek between Apeh Hill to the waterfall I am not really sure as this time, our team was focused on going up to the summit and then returning to the car park.
Cool and refreshing, I gave the waterfall a miss this time around. 
At the summit, Hill Station Number 6, you'll find more benches, tarpaulin tents, monkey bars and more dumb bells! It took us about 45 minutes to reach the top, inclusive of the stops at the Hill Stations. :) There's even a mineral water dispenser located under a tent with the chinese wording for tea, harking back to those TVB kungfu serials where travelers would pause to take their fill of food and fluids before bandits suddenly turn up and you'd have a wushu fighting scene to watch. Well, there are no bandits here but many friendly yet tired faces up here instead.
The Tea Shed, notice the mineral water dispenser... :) I wonder what does that poster above mean? Hmmm...
There is also a large Malaysian flag spread out nearby, a good place to take a selfie and show your patriotism... Malaysia Boleh! :D
Gosh, I looked like a 'giant'... but then it's because I was standing on higher ground... ;)
For the journey back, we took the 'alternate' route, which turns out to be a much faster and 'easier' way as well! Hardly any steep hills or slopes to negotiate.
Heading back down the 'Alternate' Route to Jalan Awana 23.
We soon realized that our guide, Mr. Justin, deliberately took us along the harder more scenic route to Apeh Hill... hehehe. Or maybe perhaps we were going downhill so the journey was much easier. Well good for him, because most of us needed the exercise and I needed a blog entry to write.
This stream looks familiar, yet different. 
We soon reached a point where the stream passing along Hill Station Number One coursed in front of us. Here too was a cement pathway leading us across and a more wider one at that. We didn't tarry long here because we were starting to get hungry. :)
Moral Guidance on the road - "How to Treat Your Parents"...
A short while later we reached the branch on the road. While pausing to catch our breath, we noticed an interesting printout nailed to one of the tree trunks, its apparently a Guide on How to Treat Your Parents! Hehehe... well, good reminders are always welcomed.

Less than 45 minutes after leaving the summit we are back!
The Fruit and Refreshment Stall is already opened and in full swing...
By now the earlier tarpaulin tent hosts a fruit and drinks stall catering to tired hikers coming down the hill. They also serve an interesting looking fruit which at that time, I didn't manage to try. Hmmm, perhaps I will it the next time. :)

Interesting looking fruit for sale.
For now, we proceeded to our cars and drove off to our breakfast spot, which is Mama and Son Pan Mee. It's supposed to be famous, or so our guide Mr. Justin told us. :) I'll leave it to you to judge if you try.
Mama and Son's Famous Pan Mee. 
Overall, the hike up to Apeh Hill was fun and mildly challenging, a good place for a beginner hiker to start before proceeding to other more 'challenging' hikes. It's easily accessible and like Saga Hill is filled with friendly people and tough 'Aunties & Uncles' who I guess live nearby and go up and down the hill for their morning exercise. For 'veterans' maybe you can try heading towards the Apeh Hill Water Fall from Hill Station Number Five and if you really want to challenge yourself, proceed towards Saga Hill from there. That entire hike may pretty take much more than half a day so be prepared.

For now it's time to head home.

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