Rise and shine ! Waking up to a brand new day, overlooking from the balcony of our room, I was mesmerised by the beauty and aura of Mount Kinabalu, feeling the tranquility and spiritual enlightenment of Mother Nature. The sky was clear and we had a great time admiring the trek that we would be embarking on later.
After a hearty breakfast and packing our backpacks into the hall, we were transferred in vans and multi-purpose vehicles to Kinabalu Park Headquarters, where we met our local guides and collected our Mount Kinabalu National Park ID tags. When the entire contingent was ready, we boarded a mini bus uphill to Timpohon Gate, the entrance to Mount Kinabalu National Park. Before passing through Timpohon Gate, the guys and girl did stretching and warm up and took group photos.
Flashing our ID tags at the gate office to National Parks Officers, we were registered to be officially entering Mount Kinabalu National Park and began our descent uphill to Laban Rata. Feeling excited with lots of adrenaline rush, we trekked up pretty quickly to the first pondok, however, we were put to the test our strength and endurance. The distance from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was 6km and the altitude from Timpohon Gate to Laban Rata was from 1866.4m to 3200m.
The route wasn’t easy after a while, it wasn’t too steep but it wasn’t going to be a stroll in the park. It was physically demanding and trekking uphill towards higher altitude resulted in less oxygen available, thus making us more tired easily. We took regular stops along the route up at designated pondoks. There were water tanks and toilets at the pondoks, nicely done up in an untouched tropical rainforest.
Due to difference in fitness levels across the entire contingent, we reached Laban Rata at different intervals. Most of us managed to reach Laban Rata around 1430-1530hrs and had a well earned rest at Gunting Lagadan (our hostel). At Gunting Lagadan, I was feeling the effects of mountain sickness, feeling a bit of headache and dizziness, however, I was able to acclimatise and settled down.
We went to Laban Rata Restshouse for rest, afternoon tea and later dinner. I ordered hot milo and appreciated this lovely hot drink in the highlands of 11,000ft, with a temperature of 10-11 degrees. The weather and landscape up in the highlands were beautiful beyond words that I could possibly describe. Even though we were tired, we had a lot of fun taking photos at Laban Rata Resthouse.
I was blown away by the beauty of Mother Nature and be part of the clouds (we were about at the same level), sitting outside the balcony of Laban Rata, with my milo on the wooden garden table, I sat down with my Canon 30D and faced the beautiful blue skyline and white clouds. I felt enlightened in a way, my thoughts and feelings there were peaceful and relaxed, giving me an inner peace that I had been seeking. The emotions and happiness flooded my mind and I was very happy that I am up there in Mount Kinabalu and with the clouds in the sky.
Soon, Yong Kok joined me at the balcony, had a very good chat on visions, goals, desires and planning. The environment there at that point in time probably made us more composed and relaxed, coming together to plan out something for the future, mentoring and personal development courses for leaders.
Sunset soon began to set in and I was pretty glued to my seat for sometime, enjoying the beauty of sunset in high altitude, I just love sunsets and being able to capture the beautiful sunset so high up in the mountains, made my climb very special and memorable.
After dinner, we had a final briefing, water parade and rest before the summit push from Laban Rata to Low’s Peak……