There is always a first time; last Sunday I went for a climb on Broga Hill. This is situated on the Negri Sembilan – Selangor border. The original plan was to watch the sunrise from the peak – at an altitude of abt 400 m. As usual, things don’t go according to plan; we reached the foot only about 7-30 am. Sunrise on Sunday was at 7-07 am.
The board says Broga Hill – trail of 1.7 km to the peak. I thought to myself, looks simple enough. After all, we did NS and 2.4 km was the minimum we had to run. How difficult could a distance of 1.7 km be ?
Ten minutes after starting from the base, the answers starting coming. Climbing is different from walking and running. For a novice like me, that was a nice reminder; also I had barely started; maybe we covered 150 m !
We were in a group of 4 – my cousin, his wife and his nephew – a boy aged 11. I learnt a lot that day from this boy. The trial is marked so that the signs show the way up and also signs for the way down. But not all climbers follow this strictly. So while you are panting and struggling to go up, there are people going down the path, all about a metre wide. So we are hoping to hold onto a boulder or a branch to keep our position.
There comes a time when you think this was a big mistake; we are never going to make it to the top. That’s when the angels appear before you; fellow climbers who have reached the peak and are coming down. They encourage you to take as many stops as you want; not to be distracted by those who are faster than you; and that was enough for us to continue. Just then we saw an elderly lady make her way down the slope; she was holding onto crutches in both hands; she was descending the slope ! That was the catalyst we needed. From then on, we persevered; reached the top in about an hour; rested there for a while, and made our way down.
Once down, we allowed us the luxury of having fresh coconut with the flesh. Heavenly.
There are just two observations – this was a Sunday and families came prepared for the climb. Actually you need some special gear; not sure what they are called; looks like skiing spikes. (it is called a hiking pole). And plenty of water, cap and sun glassses. We only realized how totally unprepared we were after reaching the foot of Broga Hill. The other point is – how very helpful fellow climbers were. Everybody was more than willing to help; there seemed to be some unwritten code. And I must mention this was a great crowd of people of all races. The best of Malaysia you can find anywhere. Forget what you read in the papers or the web. Race, language or religion had no place here; just a great gathering of humanity at its best.
For those who are more adventurous, there is another trial – this is 4.8 km long – it is called Gunung Tok Wan. But that is for another day.