If you are a nature lover who enjoys mixtures of beautiful scenery – that combines blue sea and green jungle; flat sandy beach and mountain trail; tall standing tropical tree and beautiful orchid – then Gunung Arong is the right place to visit. Gunung Arong is located about 20 minutes north of Mersing, adjacent to Teluk Gorek and Tanjung Resang.
Gunung Arong has a number of uniqueness. The trail follows a one-way track. Trekkers normally start at the foothill near the small stream and ends at the other side of the mountain on the beach facing South China sea. At the summit of Gunung Arong and the adjoining Bukit Kapor, you can see the magnificent panoramic view of Tanjung Resang and Teluk Gorek area with scores of islands that you do not normally see from the beach. The trek is suitable even for beginners as it will only take around 3 hours for average climbers in a large group. For those regular climbers, only about 2 hours is required. However, take my advice – never underestimate challenges posed by any mountain, you might only regret later.
Celebration Day for IMGLAD B1
Day-23 marked the end of the first part of the training. The two days that followed were designated for appraisal during which all trainees were allocated individual session with their trainer. After completing the 25-days training program, the trainees were interviewed by participating companies for internships placement. Some would secure place soon enough, others would have to wait a little longer.
Interestingly, Day-23 for the IMGLAD B1 fell on the 23rd March 2007. Due to some unavoidable reasons, 3 of the trainees were not able to join the crowd. The journey began that Tuesday morning in a convoy of 3 cars and a van, departing from Skudai close to 9 am. We stopped for late breakfast at Dusun Panti, before continuing slowly towards Teluk Gorek in a scattered morning showers. When we reached the base camp, it was still raining.
Immediately upon arrival, Fendi, the group leader arranged the group check-in. After unpacking and a bit of opportunity to unwind following the bumpy journey, we had our lunch. Immediately after lunch, Peh announced that the permit to climb Gunung Arong has been granted by the forestry department for 23rd of march. “So, we have to climb today, even in the rain” said Peh again. Looking at their faces, there were mixed reactions, but they answered unanimously in affirmative. “Yes, we will climb.”. “Aaah, I like these highly-spirited kids”, a reflection in my heart. For this occasion, I was also accompanied by my wife, Hana and daughter, Huda.
Gunung Arong Trail
The overall expedition can be divided into four parts. The first leg was a “kampung walk” that stretched about 2 or 3 km from the base camp to the foothill. This was followed by an uphill hike, a descend trail and finally a beach walk towards the camp.
We started our journey at about 2.45 pm after the recitation of do’a that I extracted from “Al-azkar by Imam Nawawi” Interestingly, as we were about to start, the rain subsided and replaced by a bright sunshine. As we commenced our journey leaving the camp, we were greeted by a group of monkeys, running around in big families.
In our group there were several beginners. For some, that was their first time climbing a mountain, some did not look fit for the endeavor. Hoping for the best, we advanced with full enthusiasm.
After about half an hour climbing, some faces were pale, some were reddish, all were wet with sweats. The feelings? You can guess yourself. For me, I had a target to achieve – to ensure the success of going up and down together. “Success or failure, we’ll be together”, I said to myself. I was thus walking along with the slow ones.
As usual, tropical forests in Malaysia are bestowed with various interesting species of trees and flowers.
One of the most satisfying reward was the magnificent view from the summit. We were lucky as the view was very clear, following an afternoon rain and an evening sunshine.
From the top, we can see Teluk Gorek and Tanjung Resang, as well as islands off the coast, the largest of which was Pulau Seri Buat, one of the popular fishing spots.
Despite the beauties of the forest and the panoramic views of the area, the most satisfying reward for me was the fact that we accomplished the target, reaching the summit together despite all the obstacles. The credit went to the group members who were truly caring, showing compassion to those who had difficulties, playing motivators along the way especially during trying times. I have to admit, I am proud of them all.
The journey downward was supposed to be easier, but slippery tracks due to earlier rain made it more difficult than expected.
We moved slowly to avoid injury and made it to the beach after more than 3 hours of interesting journey.
As the tide was still high, we had to cross the water before reaching the camp. To some, it was up to their waist, but to the shorter ones, it was deeper.The rest of the evening were spent by enjoying the clear water of South China Sea.
After dinner, awards for 9 individuals and 2 groups were presented by Hana. The activities that followed were some creative presentations and games.
The next morning was filled with sports activities and a “sharing session” .
Due to the low morning tide, the planned kayak activities were delayed until after lunch and check-out. The journey home was thus delayed.
Congratulation IMGLAD B1
At the end of this entry, I would like to congratulate all members of IMGLAD B1 for having successfully completed the first part of the training program. You guys were wonderful. I appreciate all the cooperation and attention given. The strong team spirit and empathy shared among group members deserved to be praised. Wish you luck in all your future undertakings and may Allah guide you always…