Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day Trip to Bukit Apek, Cheras

Another trip to get out of town away from the concrete jungle and into the real thing.
Bukit Apek is a small but steep hill in Forrest Reserve land on the outskirts of Cheras.
It's only about 15km from KL City Centre but is a whole world away in terms of the environment.
But you have to really* want* to go there as it's quite difficult to find.
Head out of KL towards Cheras on the Grand Saga Expressway and look for the signs for Taman Cuepecs/Taman Awana.It can take a while driving around as some of the roads are so new that they are not yet on the map.
If you can find the big Econsave building and a Shell Petrol Station you're on the right try and find Jalan Awana 23.
The trail itself starts at the end of the residential housing and is marked by a water treatment pond.
There is a lot of new development going on here and the hill is being slowly eaten away to be replaced by suburban housing and the noise from the construction can be heard for the first hour or so of hiking.
The start of the trail is very steep and came as a bit of a shock as I was soon panting and out of breath however after a while it evens out a bit and there are even a few downhill stretches.
But I was still panting and out-of-breath.
It's a steep and strenuous hike-and slippery in places.
Bukit Apek is also known as "Old Man's Hill" and yes,there were lots of older people out for a vigorous walk (some just barefoot) and they all seem a hell of a lot fitter than me....
I believe there is a local volunteers group who have taken on the task of looking after the trail-and they've done a good job.
The paths are clearly marked,there are a few litter bins in strategic places and they have strung-up some ropes to help you navigate the extra steep and slippery bits.
The trail begins by passing through an untidy rubber-tree plantation and the smell of the dripping latex somehow reminded me of primary school art class.
It then descends to a small stream/play area before climbing again towards a Chinese Shrine/Alter that comes complete with psychotic monkeys.
Then it just gets steeper and steeper.
It's hard work.
The trail is divided into 6 stages.
Overhead you're covered by tree branches and leaves so there is little direct sunlight.
Between stage 4 and 5 the path divides with one trail heading towards the summit whilst another heads to a waterfall.
As we were a little bored with the scenery we chose to go the the waterfall.
It begins with a nice level path passing through what looks like an old abandoned oil-palm plantation and then rapidly becomes a very,very steep and rutted trial where you will thank the guys who put the ropes here as without them you would be well and truly struggling.
If you need to hold onto the tree branches for support-take care as some are thorny palm stems that would ruin your day.... and your hands!
There are some truly magnificent tall trees here.
The waterfall itself is OK,a cascade of about 30 feet in total and the water is clear and cold surprises...the amount of litter strewn around the place is truly disgusting...and this is despite the litter bins and signs reminding you not to litter.
I bet the volunteers are tearing their hair out trying to keep this place clean and tidy.
People have erected a tarpaulin cover and placed a few chairs and stuff and it looks like an abandoned refugee camp.
It was quite disappointing.
Needless to say the hike back was truly taxing and draining,going downhill is harder on the legs than going uphill but it was with relief that we got back to the car.
It's a very popular trail and all the fellow walkers we met were very friendly.
Great for a work-out and for some fresh air but not so great for scenery.
All-in-all it took us about 5 hours to get there and back.
You'll need about 2 litres of water-and maybe a hiking stick
And  you wont get any near-death experiences like you will on Bukit Tabur....which you can read here

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