It’s been a year since I started my #hikingadventure and I can’t believe how I’ve transformed into this enthusiastic person who can’t wait to explore a new hill or mountain every weekend.
Three years ago, every time someone asked me to join them for a workout, my typical response was to stare back and wonder if they knew what happiness meant. To me, at that point of time, happiness was defined as sitting in front of the television, chewing on nuts and cookies all day long, on weekends. But about a year ago, I got bored and I still remember it was a long weekend. My friend (I have to say my friends never get bored or tired of asking despite me turning them down so many times) asked me to follow her and her brother to Bukit Broga, Semenyih. I did it and I’ve never stopped!
Ever since, every week has been an adventure. I’m so thankful my boss asked me to follow her hiking and together with her group of friends, we’ve made up our mind that we’re going to climb Mount Kinabalu in May this year (we’ve already paid for it so there’s no backing out now and I really want to do this for myself). But aside from the fun and #happytimes that I look forward to, here are a few important things I learnt from this new-found hobby of mine:
Jungles are the best place to get a grip of yourself
The thing about hiking is that it requires a lot of energy to go up and come down. I for one am a person who can’t shut up for more than 15 minutes (I kinda pity my colleagues and friends, LOL!). But the only time I’m able to be quiet is when I hike, as I really need to save every bit of my energy until I‘m safely down. It isn’t that I’m not having fun but it’s more like this is the best time to do some serious thinking about the things that are going on in your life and come up with creative ways to overcome different obstacles. Above all, the sound of the birds chirping, beautiful scenery and cool breeze in the jungle helps to calm you down a lot in that few hours.
Never go alone
Honestly, yes, I’ve wanted to go hiking alone a few times when no one was available but luckily my friends stopped me. Once I went hiking with a group of friends who didn’t know the way around Bukit Gasing, Petaling Jaya. We ended up lost and despite asking so many people, we still got lost. The going up and coming down made my energy level drop fast and finally, a kind soul guided us down to the bottom, and I collapsed after! So my advice is, if you want to go hiking, go with a proper guide if it’s a mountain and go with people who are familiar with the route.
It teaches you to never give up
I can’t even mention the amount of times I’ve promised myself that this is going to be my last hike. When you’re going up, you’re panting, out of breath and sweating like crazy. Then you enjoy the view for a few minutes and it’s time to come down, and this is when your knees start to hurt like crazy. Not to mention the amount of times you end up falling, that leg pain, and if there’s rain, you’re in for another type of ‘adventure’ altogether! But all that internal whining only lasts until the hike is over. Once I’ve had lunch and rested, there is that spirit in me telling me to give it another shot and it will feel better this time. Also, once I was stuck on Mount Nuang and my energy levels had dropped tremendously I could barely move. But in that situation, you know no matter what, you still need to make it back down. This pushes you to try hard and not to give up then and there until you’ve reached down. It has been six months since I went through that horrible experience and I know that before going up Mount Kinabalu, I’m going to attempt Mount Nuang at least one more time to give me that boost of confidence.
Every injury is a lesson
Yup, I’ve fallen down face front, slid down and even held a branch full of thorns (when you’re too tired, you kinda grab onto everything and anything). But despite all that pain when it happens, every injury reminds you to do or not to do something when you’re hiking. For instance, there was once I decided to hike without socks (honestly, I hate the feeling of socks) but it rained and it was bad enough that my legs were hurting, but my shoes were filled with water and all I could do was to bite my lip and be quiet cos it was my fault. When I reached home, I realised my feet were badly bruised and it was swollen (thanks to me). Now, I just wear two layers of socks for that extra protection to prevent this from happening again.
Everyone’s experience is different
My friend and I always refer to blogs to find out what to expect from a particular hike (how long it will take, how hard the track is, even if we can expect to see any wild animals on the way and how fierce are they). But here’s the thing, every hike is different for everyone. I read a blog on how hard Bukit Saga in Ampang was and when I did hike up the hill, it was actually rather easy and I did enjoy it much more than Bukit Gasing in Petaling Jaya. Oh ya! Did I mention? We also got the chance to meet a few beruks when we were at Bukit Indah, which made us run for our lives. My advice would be to refer to blogs just to estimate how long you’d take and to know a li’l bit about the route but give it a shot yourself to get the real experience.
Got a hiking story that you’d like to share with us? Just drop us an email at [email protected] or tag us (femalemag) in your Instagram pictures. Happy hiking, ladies!