We started our ascend to Gunung Ulu Sepat around 8.30am. Hyped up and refuelled with purified river water, we begin walking to the peak. The first obstacle, shallow rapids with a log across. I could walk across, or simply step through the water. However, the thought of stepping across and soiling my shoes for the rest of the journey didn't seem very appealing. I chose the other. Next, the route took us up and up and up and up. On the way, we came through a huge tree, the largest I've seen so far. With steep gradient that shared similarities to huge steps, undergrowths that made us go on all-fours to crawl, slither and climb up the mountain. We finally made it to a false peak, before making into a window in the forest. In the forest, tall tropical equatorial trees reach up onto the canopy to get the best cover.
Near the forest ground, a barrage of overgrown roots, slippery granite rocks and parts of muddy grounds was spread out over the entire route. The window gave us a glimpse into the vast areas of the mountain range. As cloud float over the horizon, trees swayed as the wind bellowed through the forest. A sense of peace and calmness greeted us as we walked across the window.
At the final stretch, the journey was arduous and grueling. 60 - 90 degree upward climbs made climbing slow and precarious. At one point, a fallen tree made way for a large ravine which created a natural ladder all the way up - and that was not just it. Boulders and fallen trees created huge steps that required us to climb up on all fours. Somehow rather, ignoring our fears and overcoming it. I felt stronger and more resilient with every step accomplished.
'30 more minutes' was the constant answer to 'How far more?' to the top. In fact, it was difficult to gauge the top, yet again judge how long more. The weather was even evolving as we neared the summit, temperatures fall below 15 degrees with a gentle breeze. Below the summit, the forest was mossy and cool. Despite its super muddy grounds, the mossy forest was green and felt like heaven. Albeit it being slightly creepy, the mossy forest was alive with fresh air and made walking through as cooling as possible. The journey to the top was cool and saddening to see my crisp timberland boots sinking into the Nutella colored mud, knee deep. Damn...
The summit was a flat, a 'botak' head with several bushes around. As with other summits, the summit had placeboards that displayed the height, and landmark of the summit. Gunung Ulu Sepat, you had been tough, but fun, and muddy 😁 At 7000ft, I stand tall but tired amidst the hovering clouds below. The sense of achievement and the everlasting feels of cool air brushing across my face felt like eternity. I could spend ages at the top, but it was time to head down. And so we did.