I didn't have a good night's sleep despite of the comfortability of the hotel room. I had so much on my mind. Yup, I'm a worrier. :)
I set the alarm at 5.45AM. Breakfast was scheduled at 6.30AM. We thought of taking a group picture before breakfast but it wasn't possible. Everyone was like all over the place, checking their bags, asking where to put their "left-behind bags" and "bring'along bags". You see, I've made tags for the group to identify which bags are supposed to take up to the mountain and which to leave behind with Faustine (our driver) for safe-keeping. The ones that are supposed to be left behind are blue in colour, and the "take along" tags are in yellow, with our individual names and phone numbers on them. I've also added a small print "left BEHIND" for blues and "take ALONG" for yellows. From previous experience, many climbers got confused with the colours.
Having the tags coloured made it easier for us the organisers to check where the bags were supposed to go. Faustine was also aware that he was supposed to keep only the bags with blue tags.
It was buffet style. The hotel was kind enough to include noddles in the menu. Originally it was just fried rice, eggs, sausages, baked beans, toast, coffee, tea and juice. I asked for noodles and they obliged without charging extra.
I tried to eat as much as I could but it was difficult to eat that much at 7AM. :S
This was the only opportunity we had for a group photo taken outside the Cottage hotel. Yeah, the 45 of us looked like boys and girls in school uniform. :D
7.35AM - We left Cottage Hotel and reached Mesilau Nature Park 15 minutes later.
I went up to their office to get our group "checked in". We were given 8 guides and the main guide gave us a little briefing while KL Chan & David (I think) had the honour of weighing the bags for the porter to carry. On my first trip to Kinabalu back back in 2007, we didn't think of name tags and each of us had to be there when they weigh our bags. Now, with the tags, we just assigned 2 people to do the weighing and recording.
8.24AM - I spent some time choosing my walking stick (RM5 per stick), while Rach went ahead. She was so sure that I could catch up with her.
10.54AM - 3.5KM mark. On and off I would see the boys, Yuen and Samuel. They were like talking all the way with no sign of fatigue.
11.56AM - 4.5KM mark - still no sign of Rach.
I guessed I was doing pretty okay. They said that if you are within the 1 hour 1 KM range, you should be alright. I only took 3 hours for 4 KM.
12.26PM - We had our lunch here at the Lompoyou hut. Lunch was provided by Faustine. Yummy and so filling. I think rice is good for us Asians. In 2008, we had a couple of sandwiches, a hard-boiled egg, 1 pc of chicken and banana. I was famished by the time I reached Laban Rata.
I took about 20minutes to eat and chit-chat with my fellow hikers. Everyone was still so full of energy. The scenery after the Lampoyou hut was awesome. It's like being in another world or something. :D
1.25PM - the 5.5KM mark. I must have missed the 5KM mark. Rach was nowhere to be seen. I got really tired during this stretch. Many of my fellow climbers passed me by. They were puzzled about my tiredness. I guessed it was because I had to "attend to nature's call" but I didn't because I was alone at that time.
2.14PM - I reached the "Y" junction. I saw a few of my friends here taking pictures. Yvonne, who was slow at the beginning, managed to catch up with me just before the "Y" junction. That shows that I was in a very bad shape.
After the "Y" junction, the KM markers drops 2KM following the Timpohon Trail. I saw Yuen, sleeping while Samuel went ahead. Yuen kept saying that he was sleepy. He also said that the Timpohon Trail was much easier. He used the Timpohon Trail 2 years back. I stayed with Yuen for a while then woke him up.
Samuel was going very slowly too so that Yuen could catch up. I met some of my buddies here at this hut, but they had their rest and were about to continue their hike as soon as I reached them. I did my "nature's call" here and was very much relived. :D
Mrs Annapurna (not her real name) came up just when I was about to leave. She and her husband sick since the day before. I was amazed that she made it this far. I made sure that she was alright before I left the hut.
3.44PM - 5 KM mark. I was still struggling.
4.22PM - The last hut before Laban Rata. It's roughly about 500metres more to go. Yuen was so sleepy that he slept on and off.
4.39PM - 5.5KM mark. Yuen was left behind while Samuel went ahead. I was accompanying Yuen now. His bag was heavy, probably 9kgs, but I didn't offer to carry because I was huffing and puffing myself.
5.17PM - Reached Waras Hut. YES!! Laban Rata is round the corner. :D. Yuen and I waited here for a while. Correction - he was sleeping and I was frantically calling for help. I called Douglas (he was already at Laban Rata) to come down and carry Yuen's bag. Douglas arrived less than 5 minutes later. (Told ya that Laban Rata was round the corner). Yuen immediately passed his bag to Douglas and started walking and walking and walking.. leaving me behind.
5.28PM - Arrived Laban Rata finally. I was dead tired... too tired to even scold Rach for leaving me behind.
It gets dark early in Borneo. By 6.15 most of us were ready to leave Laban Rata for Gunting Lagadan. I was like... WHATTTTT .... have to hike up some more. It was about 150meters or so to get to Gunting. My friend, Jyrki kept looking back to see if I was alright. It was drizzling and I was so cold. I was thinking.. if I could just reach Gunting, have a nice shower and hot milo, then I'll be fine.
When I reached Gunting, I did have a shower... but the COLD water from the tap was dripping pathetically. I didn't wash my hair and I think I didn't soap myself. Hey, it was cold!!!! :D. Anyway, I could have hot water if I was patient enough to boil the water. Yes, they have cooking facilities and only 3 (or was it 4?) bathrooms for bathing and it's not an all female bathroom, we had to share with the guys.
The ladies toilets however are separated from the men's. :)
Each room (as far as I know) can fit 4 people. We took 10 rooms from Gunting and 5 beds from Laban Rata. Room number 6 in Gunting had water dripping from the ceiling. Poor Jyrki had to sleep on the upper deck where the water dripped onto his mattress. The people in that room complained to the management but they just shrugged it off saying that it was condensation and they couldn't do anything about it. :(
We had a short briefing and hit the sack by 9PM.