Friday, January 28th, 2005
Lost & Found at Bukit Kutu, Part 1
ITEM LOST: BUKIT KUTU TRAIL
About a year and a half ago, I came to this place and never found the trail. And I’ve heard of people not finding the trail too. It seems that the Orang Asli who used to live there had migrated elsewhere; thus leaving the place bare and allowing shrubs and undergrowth to grow in its place, and, as it were, erase all previous signs of occupancy.
ITEM FOUND: BUKIT KUTU TRAIL
Other than Nee On and I, Amy, Amos, Ameer, Ah Yap, Brian, were at Bukit Kutu for the first time last Tuesday (Jan 25). Our intention was to search for the “lost” trail; and search we did. We spent an 1+ hours going into every possible trail (even when it’s overgrown) to find the entry point to go up the mountain. When we finally got it, we thought that it was the most obvious trail that we should have taken.
The obscure path to the right leads to the peak.
And so our trek up began. The familiar sights of the wild durian orchard, gigantic trees, abundant bamboo, and colossal boulder-rockface were all there. Perhaps because I’ve been here before, I shared little of the awe and excitement the others, who were on the mountain for the first time, felt. And I wondered if I were captivated by the sights and trail on my first attempt up this mountain.
Except for Amy and Amos, we reached the peak late afternoon–about 3pm. But by then all of us were almost like a bunch of wasted flesh. What I considered a moderately challenging� trek back in 2002 has turned into a somewhat torturous trek. Even Amos, who has scaled Gunung Kinabalu and Gunung Tahan, thought it was a “hardcore” trek; most others thought it was a trail that was definitely not for beginners. Still, I’m sure this was nothing compared to the pain of trekking up G. Nuang during a heavy downpour. I took about 3+ hours to get to the peak, and then ran down the mountain in about 45 minutes. I was by the first river crossing with Ameer by 5.40pm. While waiting for the rest, we dipped ourselves into the river. With that, Bukit Kutu is no longer lost.
The first river crossing.
And then we lost something… I meant someone: Brian!
Lost & Found at Bukit Kutu, Part 2
ITEM LOST: BRIAN
ITEM FOUND: BRIAN
I started out with the intention of writing a funny anecdote of what happened to Brian. But there’s nothing funny to getting lost in the jungle at all. Seriously. Sure, when I think back about what happened then, I find it funny. And it’s not only for me; the same goes to all, if not most of us, who went. We’ve met up, and we’ve talked and joked and laughed about the incident. Now that’s only because Brian was lost and then found.
Yet, this event is also a reminder that getting lost in the jungle can be a very real, and dangerous, and may, God forbidding, lead to much pitiable endings. Suppose Brian was lost for a much longer time than the 40 minutes or so before we found him. Or suppose he had indeed fallen into a ravine where underground water flowed. Or suppose we never found him. Then I am sure no one would be laughing. But we did find him. So here’s Brian’s mis-adventure:
Ameer and I had ran down Bukit Kutu by 5:40pm. And when Nee On came out, it was about 6:20pm. When he saw us, his first words (if I recall correctly) were, “Where’s everyone?”
To the two of us, we were everyone; that was what we told him. That was when Nee On looked worried. “So where’s Brian?”
“Didn’t see him. Isn’t he with you?”
“No. He ran after the two of you,” answered Nee On.
That’s when I knew we had to go back in to look for Brian. I was mad to have to do it. I had got out, dipped in the river, cooled down, and was ready to go home. But I had to do it. I couldn’t leave Brian in there. Amos, Amy and Yap were just approaching the river when I was stomping back in.
Thankfully, everyone kinda guessed where he might have taken a wrong turn. The funny thing is I never saw that fork that they were talking about. Anyway, the spot they were talking about weren’t too far into the trail, and, thankfully again, it was where Brian took the wrong turn. After much shouting and searching, we found him and headed out together.
I asked Brian how he felt about his experience. He answered, “First there was anxiety, then panic, then I began to plan.” Recounting his experience, Brian spoke of walking along the wrong trail until he noticed some 4×4 tracks, and a clearing that were vaguely unfamiliar. He also spoke of back-tracing his way to the fork, and remembering he had his handphone with him. Thanks to modern technology (and Celcom 019), he managed to call Yap’s phone. The only problem when he did that was that he was carrying Yap’s phone, too. Why he did so, I do not know. So the next thing he did was to call almost every number in the address book using Yap’s phone. In total, he spent about RM7.00 making “Help I am lost! I’m in the jungle and I can’t find Mr Tan” or something to that kinda effect calls.
After we found him, and as we were walking pass a clearing to get out, Brian exclaimed that he saw that same clearing from the other path. But because he wasn’t sure if he was on the right trail he turned back. If he had double-dared and taken some 10 more steps, maybe, he would have gotten out of the trail and found the river crossing to where Ameer and I was. Brian, oh Brian.
So, in total, this was the third time ever that I’ve had to get back into the trail to search for lost ones. And, believe me, it’s just as scary being lost–the thought of not finding the person, or the thought of the person having fallen into a ravine, or the thought of the person wandering into wild animals’ territories, come to mind very quickly. Each time I go back in, I pray all the way till the person is found. I hate the experience when people get lost. I hate going back in after I’m out of the trail. The irony is, the very same incident can be the one that makes the trek stand apart, and make it more memorable than it should most of the time.