Katie's Live and Unleashed 05/06 Worldwide Tour travel blog

A purple wild flower

Not the same...but similar

Borneo fungus!

Berries

Berries (1)

Berries (2)

Borneo landscape

Borneo landscape (1)

Borneo landscape (2)

Borneo landscape (3)

Borneo landscape (4)

Borneo landscape (5)

Mt Kinabalu early the morning of departure...looking large!

Fresh before the walk...definately not afterwards...

Pitcher plant

All different colours

Spring mountain bloom

Afternoon view from Laban Rata Guesthouse

No proper path, but street lights....!

The Laban Rata Guesthouse

View from Kaban Rata balcony

Climbing with the rope before sunrise

Mountain by moon-light

At the top - being dark so noone could see how silly...

Incredible clouds rolling over mountains

Above the clouds

The final climb (I did in the dark)

View from the summit

Still climbing...

Very frozen at the top

The route up

Low's Peak (ironical name!)

With walking partners, Emily and Andy at the top of Low's Peak

The descent begins...

Canopy Walkway at Poring Hot Springs

View through the trees

The Hot baths (shame not hot men!)


Kinabalu Park is Malaysia's first World Heritage designated by UNESCO in December 2000 for its 'outstanding universal values' and role as one of the world's most important biological sites. The Park covers 754Km2, which is staggeringly bigger than the size of Singapore island. This botanical paradise of Borneo is home to an estimated 1,200 species of orchids, 26 species of rhododendrons, 9 species of Nepenthes pitcher plants, over 80 species of fig trees, 100 species of mammals and 326 species of birds...to name a few! While the focus of the park is the mountain, about 80% of the visitors don't actually climb all the way to the peak, just come and look at it! The huts up the mountain can only accommodate 146 walkers and booking in advance is suddenly very necessary as lots of people, me included, were having trouble getting a bed and you can't climb without one.

Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and the Snow Mountains of Papua Barat (New Guinea Island), and this magnificent granite massif stands at 4,096m tall. It is the newest of all non-volcanic mountains and still rising by 5mm per year, so anyone who has climbed it already remember: I climbed higher!!

It was in 1851 that Sir Hugh Low led an expedition up the mountain. A compromise with the local Kadazandusun people was reached and a sacrifice to appease the spirits was made at the halfway point and this ritual is performed annually to this day. It's is the Low's Peak that we were climbing along the Summit Trail.

So now you know what it is I went to climb, climb it I did - up and up and up...the walk itself was only actually 8.72m horizontally, but we climbed relentlessly up 2500m. I was very fortunate and joined an English couple, Andy and Emily, who now teach in Hong Kong, with our guide Jalie. The walk started pleasantly up through the trees along a defined but not maintained track. The steps were all irregular and some higher than my knees - quite rightly wasn't looking forward to the descent the next day!

After 4 hours we arrived at Laban Rata, our guesthouse for the evening, and hung around there until the early night and next day start at 0300. Obviously in the dark and wearing head-torches we ascended above the tree-line following a white rope for guidance. Unfortunately all too quickly we caught up with the 0200 starters and the pace was so slow that I didn't even work-up a sweat...but 6th to the top and arrived just in time to see the light coming up revealing the dramatic drop of more than 1000m down - Low's Gully. The clouds were absolutely fantastic over the rock peaks, sinking down over them very mysteriously. It was freezing at the top, which was an incentive to move down quickly and allow room for the others.

Anticipating sore legs I made my way to Poring where the hot sulphuric minerals in the hot springs should have soaked away my aching muscles - it didn't work fully but was very relaxing! There I managed to get up-graded to a room of my own with a towel (the little things that please me now!) which was luxury until I had to reluctantly return the next day to the dorm. There I visited the Poring Canopy Walkway which hangs between the treetops of the Menggaris Tree - the King of the forest. The walkway is 157.8m long and 41m high, all the same, I still saw no animal/bird life!

I set off on a 7Km walk through the forestry towards Poring Waterfall, but in my sandals along the mud, with sore legs I actually decided to head back to the pool, which was much more enjoyable and much better for my tan!



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