Mt. Kinabalu’s stair trails
Mt. Kinabalu’s trail are mostly stairs, and I hate stair trails. They are more tiring and would put too much pressure on your legs and butts. Especially if you have your packs on. From the start I could already see myself getting wobbly legs when I go down these uneven steps. Like how I see most of the other foreigners descending from the mountain limping on every step down and mostly with sticks for support.
Friendly squirrels scurrying for food.
There are 7 shelter stations before we reach our main stop for the night, the Laban Rata Resthouse. That’s 6km from our jump-off point at Timpohon Gate trail. I must commend the Park Association for maintaining these shelters well. Each have clean basic toilets for your occasional nature calls or digestive emergencys as well as water source to refill your containers. And you’ll occasionaly get visits from these friendly squirrels ready to scavenge food debris from your trail snacks.
Tall trees and established trails
The forest cover is still rich, flora and fauna abound. Even if the trail has been developed to make it easier (or harder) for trekkers to find their way, they managed to maintain the ecosystem. Lots of species of birds and plants, but the one that stole the show are the Nepenthes or popularly known as the “Pitcher Plants“. A carnivorous type of plant that has been known to even devour a whole rat. There are plently of these on the trail especially on the Nepenthes Forest 9000 ft to 10500 ft on the trail.
The carnivourous Pitcher Plants
Contradictory to Malaysia’s marketing of the park, it’s not true that anyone of level of fitness can easily climb this mountain. You must at least prepare a few weeks before, physically for this. The trail is not a walk in the park and I must say it was a hard mountain to climb. Tiring and especially if the regular afternoon rain hits you hard with the biting cold and enveloping darkness. At times you may be delirious, you want to quit and go down but you also want to finish all of this and go up but you just can’t go on. Must be the altitude affecting your brain or the thin air. Somehow looking far and seeing where you have to go can be tiring. The darkness somehow helped psyched me out on not seeing the trail and only rely on my headlights. Going on step by step no matter how long it takes.
The trail and the peaks. So near yet so far.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.