We trekked from Bukit Timah Hill to the Tree Top walk in the MacRitchie Reservoir on Saturday. We were intensifying our training for the Gunung Rinjani climb round the corner. This was a good 4 hour trek. We wanted to build endurance.
We walked up the steep bitumen service road of Bukit Timah Hill and then turned right at Catchment Path until we reached a clearing next to the BKE. We turned right again before we linked to Rifle Range Road that took us over the BKE. Everywhere the effects of the dry spell that Singapore is facing stared at us. The grass suffered, and the trees were crying for rain. Even the clouds were constipated.
It was a good two hours to get to the Ranger’s Station where we could refresh and refill before we walked the Tree Top Walk and got back on the path back home. The stable steel Tree Top Walk gave us a view of part of the reservoir. Nothing spectacular, but it gave us a perspective of the trees and forests that once only monkeys and birds had.
By the time we walked back it was 12 noon. We took a short cut back using a cycling track instead of using Catchment Path. There were no inclines except at the beginning but it was a lengthy trek over fields, streams, roads, and trees and through the forests. Endurance. The next preparatory training is a trek along the raliway tracks from Bukit Timah to don’t know where and back. Not really looking forward to this because of humidity and the exposure to sun, but it will be another Saturday with friends.
Trekking is a relaxing and refreshing form of recreation and exercise. It is not so vigorous like jogging nor too pedestrian like walking. There is that exertion that will make you perspire as you climb up slopes. However for the most part you trek at a steady pace. After two hours your shirt is drenched. The air is usually fresh and cool in the morning at Bukit Timah Hill and the sunlight hardly hits the ground as you walk most of the time under an emerald umbrella of branches and leaves. When completed you always felt good that you pushed yourself to get out of bed at 7am on a Saturday. As you ate your brunch, you felt gratified that you have had a gentle but long workout.
The Rock Path trail is off the bitumen main path from foot to summit. It is called thus because there is a steep slope of granite rocks that you have to climb and you need to hold on to vines as large as a bodybuilder’s biceps on your way up. Most kids would enjoy this stretch and find it challenging but doable.
The other day I chanced upon this lovely view from the top of the disused granite quarry. A lovely little grove that overlooks a quarry pond, and in the distance HDB flats. I did not know of this place until recently and not many others know of this place, so I’d like to keep it so.
Acquaintances easily form during and after this activity. There are those breaks when we drink, rest and talk. During the trek all kinds of pleasant and serious conversations take place. And after the trek, we eat at a hawker centre and chat about life, politics, and religion and…. the next overseas trek. The trekking group have been together for quite some time with departures and additions over the years. And they have gone several overseas trek every year. The last time I was with them on such a trip was several years ago in Nepal. Now I plan to join them on a rough Gopeng trail in Cameron Highlands. I find I need a goal to give me the motivation to be diligent in preparation. The benefits are health, recreation, fun and good company.
When under stress, the most important thing for me is to meditate and pray, relinquish the desire to have things my way, and rest in His love and power. Going to the hill for a trek also does quite a few things for me. Its an exercise that I do not mind doing during a time when I’d rather eat and space out. Heading for a sweat-it-out at Bukit Timah Hill does certain things for me. It breaks my bad habit of taking short breaths when under stress. It forces me to breathe more deeply, particularly when I climb the wooden or track steps. Every time I pause to catch my breath or drink, I look around with camera in hand and look for a picture worth capturing. The air is fresh, the sounds of cicada and birds catch my attention, the deliberate act of placing my feet safely to avoid root stumps and wet mud, forces my mind off problems at hand, onto intentional walking and listening and looking.