Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1/15/15 Day 364 Cooling off in the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

One thing we consistently relearn, is that traveling doesn't hold fast to a plan, it doesn't follow rhyme or reason. No plans, no problems is a fantastic motto for backpackers, but occasionally decisions do need to be made. Our intention to spend a few days in the Cameron Highlands has been pushed to the wayside for the ease of relaxing in Langkawi for extra days with Jeff and the dogs. So the debate on the worthiness of venturing all the way to Tanah Ratah to see the tea plantations comes into question. We decide to chance it; if we can hitchhike there for free, we will stay a night, if not we will skip it altogether save on the bus fare there and take a bus straight to KL instead. I guess it shouldn't be surprising that we made it there easily hitchhiking the 235+ kilometers in just a few hours, allowing us to be settled into a perfectly cheap accommodation in Tanah Rata by noon! Twin Pines offers exactly what we are always asking for, no frills just a bed, attic suites for 25 ringgits for a double and only 15 for a single. Relieved of our packs we seek out the longest most vertical trail we can find and up and away we go. The hike is beautiful and the 10 Celsius temperature drop is welcomed as we stare in amazement at the tea and vegetable filled slopes at the top of trail 8, the peak of Gunung Berembun we scramble our way back into town on trail 5 just as the last traces of daylight are vanishing over the hills. Hungry enough for a steamboat we seek out the best joint in town and prepare our bellies for a feast of noodles, eggs, beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, mushrooms, prawns, jellyfish and of course the relatively unpalatable fish cake that Malaysians eat by the kilo. Dunking portions at a time in either the chicken or Tom yum broth we boil our dinner until the platters are cleared and  leave our 60 ringgit contribution to the restaurant. Crawling into our attic beds we feel chilled during the night for the first time in months but layer up and are ready for another hike first thing when we wake up. This time our hike is fouled up by the construction that completely annihilated a few of the trails to make space for, surprise... more buildings. Due to the complicated existing trails we never found the merger with our trail leading us out alongside the tea plantation. We figured it out soon enough and managed to navigate our way back to Tanah Rata, unfortunately slicing our tea time out of the equation. With time running low we hitch our way to Kuala Lumpur. 

We made it to Tanah Rata

My favorite flower in the whole world, the plumeria
Jungle flower of some kind

A colorful hibiscus

School bus
Trail 9 of the poorly marked trails
We named this dog Miles, he hiked with us for a while

So much growth 

Our humble abode
Steamboat deliciousness
The steamboat aftermath
Trails closed, detour

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