"Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets."

"Not all those who wander are lost."
- J.R.R Tolkien-

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Mt Nungkok: 80 Degrees To Summit

19th July 2018

I've always had an eye on this one mountain sitting just below the shadow of the highest mountain back in my hometown. I wonder if that particular mountain is open for public hiking, never knowing that it actually is until last year. It is one of the steepest mountain I've ever seen and that made me become more curious about this mount. It is not too tall, but I bet that the trail would not be that easy either since the structure looks as if it is pointing upwards. And turned out I was right about one thing, the trail was too steep that if calculated, it could possibly be 80° uphill. 

We started quite late that day because the car that we ride in had a flat tire after hitting a pothole just before arriving at the meeting point. We were treated generously by the management prior to the hike and had our lavish breakfast at the meeting point before we were escorted by a 4x4 truck to the starting point. The road to the starting point was quite bumpy that we had to cling onto the truck very tightly. It was about 3 KM from the meeting point and we were relieved that we chose to be escorted by the truck. 

Mt Nungkok was also the first mountain I've hike that was staged. Stage 1 was only sloppy terrain, less rocky and there were lot of tall trees shading us from the sun. Stage 2 was a gentle hike, still vegetated with tall trees and a little rocky. Stage 3 was the beginning of the real hike with slightly steep terrain and more loose rock. We can feel the heat rising too. This mountain was not as cool as the other mountain that we have ever been, there were less moisture in the air and the sun was biting through our skin as we went up to the less vegetated area. Stage 4 is the steepest hike with approximately 80° angle. The trail was also getting narrow as we go up. There were one part where the path is flanked by deep gorges, one wrong step can send us rolling down.  

We finished the hike at about 4 hours and reached the top just before lunch. It was about 33℃ at the top as there were not much trees that can shade us from the sun. The peak was only about 8 to 10 square feet wide but it has the best and closest view of Mount Kinabalu. We stopped at the peak for about 2 hours, had our lunch, took bunch of pictures and begin our journey down. 

Going downhill from a peak this steep was really a test to our knees. Apart from the exhaustion from the hike, we ran out of water. Each of us was carrying 2 liters of drinking water but it was not enough. We had to quicken our pace to reach the starting point as we were really thirsty. It was challenging to go on a hike an ran out of fluid. It increases the anticipation and sometimes could be stressful. It is advisable to keep yourself hydrated or at least ration your fluid to make sure that you will have enough until the end.  Dehydration during a hike can be dangerous especially at a place like this where rescue might take time. 


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