Early that morning, Jimbo stumbled upon a deep dark secret while hunting for his erstwhile walking stick in preparation for descending the mountain. He went from room to room looking for it and he stumbled upon Room Number 5!
What does a group of grown men do behind closed doors high up on the mountains?
Why, they wax their legs, of course! Actually that was my first impression but the heavy smell of ‘Counterpain’ ointment in the air convinced me otherwise. They were busy rubbing the ointment onto their legs to relieve the aches sustained from summiting the peak of the mountain less than 48 hours before.
I found my walking stick (which I paid RM 3 for at the start of the Mesilau trail) and we started the descent from Laban Rata. The temperature was 7.3 degrees at the time but it soon went down to 7.1 degrees a few moments later. The time was 0854 when this picture was taken.
Jimbo took one last look at the mountain behind the hostel with deep longing in his heart. The torrential storm the night before has turned rivulets into raging waterfalls making the summit trail impassable to the 100 odd people who attempted to summit that morning. All of them came back cold, bitter, tired and disappointed. They could not make it beyond the Sayat-Sayat check point. The newspaper reported that day that 22 houses far down below had their roofs blown off in the storm!
The early morning mist was just moving in. The wind was strong and bitterly cold. The rain from the night was still coming down although not in the same intensity as it was a few hours earlier.
Amd then Jimbo et al was off!
Jimbo had a lot of pent up energy and so he tore down the mountain trail. His knees didn’t hurt one bit. Only one thing occupied his mind at the time ~ to get down and meet Mrs Jimbo that evening (meanwhile, Mrs Jimbo was at the LCCT waiting for her flight to Kota Kinabalu!). One reason why Jimbo was going hastily was because he thought there were some team members ahead of him (which turned out to be untrue!) and he wanted to catch up with them!
Occasionally Jimbo turned around to get a few more last glimpses of the mountain peaks.
The time was 0935 when Jimbo crossed the 5th km sign. He has walked about half a km in half an hour.
The typical yellow muddy soil of the trail was seen.
Jimbo came across this long rubbery creature crawling frantically forward. A guide who was on his way up told Jimbo that the creature is a ‘Pacat Putih’, or ‘white leach’! Actually it looked kinda hideous as it’s head searched left and right for prey. It was longer than my shoe! The guide said that its diet consists mainly of other smaller leaches!!! Gaargh! EeeeyukkKKK!!
Along the way, Jimbo stopped for a quick bite at the various huts along the way. There are always squirrels lurking around. They are positively obese, probably from eating all the discarded food thrown by weary climbers. Can you spot the squirrels?
Jimbo reached the 2 km sign post at 1052. He has trekked 3 km in 1 hour and 22 minutes.
Jimbo is of the opinion that the Timpohon trail is a much easier trail to climb up or down compared to the Mesilau trail he trekked 2 days before.
It took Jimbo another 25 minutes to reach the 1 km sign post.
And 10 more minutes to reach the 0.5 km mark.
And another 10 minutes to reach the Carson’s Fall (named after the first park warden). This fall marks the beginning (or end, depending on your point of view) of the Timpohon trail. All in all jimbo took 2 hours and 35 minutes to reach this point from Laban Rata. He heard that the guides can do the same distance in under one hour! Wow!
By then the mountain top was already being covered by swirling clouds.
Savor this picture as it will be one of those rare ones where the sun spot does not deface Jimbo’s face! Unfortunately there is no glory nor prizes for descending first. Jimbo got a Mat Salleh to snap this picture for him.
One last look at the mountain peak, vowing to return…
And then Jimbo boarded the shuttle bus (which comes to the Timpohon gate at half hour intervals) to travel the last 4 km back to the Kinabalu Park headquarter.
The temperature was 20 degrees at the HQ, which was quite a contrast to the 11 degrees cold that greeted when we arrived there.
Another Mat Salleh (from USA) kindly obliged to snap this picture for Jimbo.
The entrance to the park HQ.
Jimbo decided to walk down a road, heading towards the Grace Hostel where he was told he could get a hot shower. The sun was high up then and Jimbo’s spirit was lifted a bit.
The promised hot shower turned out to be half-truth as jimbo discovered that there is no hot water coming out of the showers! He tried many shower rooms with the same freezing water coming out! Deciding to risk hypothermia and sudden death, he plunged in and did a combo of Lambada-the Twist-Breakdance-and-Chinese Acrobatics as he scrubbed the last trace of Mount Kinabalu off his body!
Jimbo snapped this picture and quickly MMSed it back to a friend, who a year earlier sent him the same MMS. The message from him then was, “Brother, tomorrow I’m going to climb this mountain”. Jimbo’s message to him was, “Brother, I’m returning your picture to you…”.
Feeling famished, Jimbo trekked a little more ahead and came to the Liguwa Restaurant.
You can see the Low’s peak (the highest point of Mount KK) from here. The peak is named after Sir Hugh Low, the first guy to summit it after seeking the blessings of the spirits on the mountain with the help of the native people.
It may not look big but actually it’s located further back in the background. At Laban Rata, it’s not possible to see this peak as it is shielded by other smaller peaks.
The first decent meal in many days. Yong Chow Fried rice washed down with Tenom Coffee. A meal fit for a king! Darn tasty and costs only RM 16++. I would have paid an arm and a leg for it.
While waiting for the others to arrive, Jimbo looked around the place, scouting for possible places to stay when he comes again.
The chalets looked very comfy and inviting.
The entire team finally arrived past 1 pm. They all washed up and we headed out of the park in 2 vans.
We stopped by a small town called Pekan Nabalu (btw, Nabalu means ‘mountain’ in Kadazan) for tea. By now, the clouds have completely covered the peak of Mount KK which is visible from this town.
There is a row of shops selling souvenirs here but they were a tad pricey.
We drove all the way back to the fringe of KK town where we stopped at the New Gaya Seafood Restaurant to have our post-climb celebration.
There were lobsters (we didn’t have them).
Shells and clams…
And live fish!
We had crabs, prawns, ‘elephant tusks’ and all kinds of sea food. Mrs Jimbo joined the team for dinner. Dinner was washed down with either Chinese tea, red wine or beer (depending on one’s preference).
After dinner, we drove to town and checked into our hotel.
It was a beautiful end to one incredible (and bitter sweet) adventure!
Fri, 110708 @ 0700