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Thursday, 3 October 2013

REPORT: “When You Went Up a Hill but Came Down a Mountain” - Trip to Broga Hill


“Nothing can be compared to the new life that the discovery of another country provides for a thoughtful person. Although I am still the same I believe to have changed to the bones.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

So the life of a legal practitioner is not all about taxing meetings, trials and staycations at the office on weekends, after all. The Broga Hill Hiking Trip organised by the Pupil’s Welfare Committee has serendipitously debunked this long-standing myth.

At the wee hours of 21st September 2013, participants comprising of young lawyers, pupils and non-lawyers alike gathered at a meeting point in Bangsar. Taking a keen look at these participants, one could only presume of what they had gone through days before the hiking trip – their enthusiasm and eagerness to embark on an adventure had betrayed the weary look on their faces! Once the participants have gathered, Vince Chong, the Chairperson of the Pupils Welfare Committee briefed us on what to expect from the trip and we then drove to Broga in convoys.

Upon reaching the palm oil plantation car park at Broga at 6.30am, we realised that we were not the only ones who had planned for a hiking escapade. At such an early hour of the day, other hikers were seen coming with family and friends, walking towards a dark path in the plantation heading towards the rainforest. Geared up with our torchlights (either handheld or strapped on our heads), trail shoes, sportswear and backpack coupled with a  heightened sense of excitement, we started walking with Randy Chew leading the pack while Vince Chong keeping watch at the tail, making sure that no participant got left behind.

For some of us, the experience of lugging briefcases and documents up and down court houses was nowhere near to a preparation for a hike up Broga Hill, which is considered as one of the less challenging hills to hike as compared to its middle to heavyweight counterparts – Tabur Hill of Setapak, Mount Gunung Tahan of Pahang and Gunung Kinabalu of Sabah. Even the preliminary journey to Broga by way of going through the damp and slippery red earth slopes in the rain forest required substantial strength and fitness to crawl and reach out on tree trunks and boulders. Be that as it may, the sight of great trees and the sound of invisible forest dwellers exchanging calls tempered our exhaustion throughout crossing the green trail.

After a good 15 to 20 minutes of forest-exploring, we arrived on the foothills of the first peak of Broga. It was a challenging hike up the steep open hillside. Climbing the hill at our own pace, we outwitted slippery earth formation and sharp mounds. Together, we helped one another to climb up and point out which direction we should climb, omitting areas that were potentially dangerous.

As we reached the summit of the first peak, we were greeted by the cool morning breeze blowing on our faces and hair, dissipating sweat and exhaustion. Thankfully, our concerns on the hazy weather in Kuala Lumpur a few days prior to the trip were pleasantly unwarranted as we saw soft clouds rolling slowly amidst the clear skies revealing a clear scenic view of lush meadows covering contoured lands that took our breath away.  Although we missed the sunrise, we caught the first ray of sunlight when the sun rose over the adjourning hill, a colour of gold enveloping the landscape. Standing from the peak, we marveled at the number of hikers that turned up, making the entire scene appearing like a pilgrimage of nature lovers.

Having faith on the fact that we will be rewarded with a better view from the first peak, we marched forward to the second and the third peak – with the view and feel of the atmosphere being more surreal than the last. However, making it to the third peak was no small feat, with the hike getting gradually more difficult and challenging to our bodies and minds. Along the way, Adora Yusof, one of the participants of the trip experienced a muscle cramp and we halted our expedition to aid her. It was a moving moment for us because despite having known each other for less than 24 hours, we had rapidly developed a bond of comradeship for all of us to see the hike through until the end.

It was also during the hike between the second and all the way to the third peak did we see the gentlemen of our hiking group being chivalrous! Lending their strength, they helped a number of hikers and even a bold mother with her infant daughter to climb on top of huge boulders. The ladies of our hiking team cheered the hikers on, giving support and encouragement while assisting the gentlemen who were helping the hikers to scale up and together enjoy the beautiful sight of Broga Hill.

When we finally reached the third peak of Broga Hill, we cheered and applauded ourselves for successfully having conquered the physical and mental obstacles that we had experienced during the hike. After some photo-taking sessions, we then scaled down Broga – with some of us using the slopes as large-scale slides to descend while others using ropes to come down.

One last look back at the hill when we reached down made us feel as though the experience was surreal -- was that the hill that we had just climbed together? It seemed unbelievable that hours before that we were stretching, crawling and carrying ourselves up its slopes and elevation. We then bid goodbye to Broga Hill and adjourned to Sate Kajang Hj. Samuri where we filled up our famished selves with sticks of satays and nasi impit and kuah kacang for lunch.

Strange how a single adventure could turn strangers into friends. As we exchanged numbers and hope of seeing each other again for another exciting experience, we felt truly happy that we chose to spend that morning on the 21st of September 2013 with one another. Somehow, hiking Broga Hill had changed the way we look at life as a whole, where we had begun with a little wish of going up a hill but coming down feeling triumphant as though we had conquered a mountain. May this adventure be the first of many more to come.

Prepared by: Shaira Amira

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