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Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo

Written on: Sunday April 22nd, 2007

A journal entry from: Southeast Asia

At sunrise yesterday at 13,435 feet we peaked, symbolically ending our six month journey and beginning our trek home. Today we hobble around Kota Kinabalu, calf muscles somewhat shorter and tighter, gripping handrails and slowly maneuvering the stairs up to our 3rd floor room at the Step-In Lodge. Our bodies are crying in pain, and our minds are swirling with emotion as we "descend" from the delights of our past six months and trudge back to Bangkok and home.
Mt. Kinabalu regally casts its presence over Sabah standing shrouded in clouds at 4,095m (13,435 feet). It is the biggest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea.  The two day climb and the ascent during the night has become an expected ritual for visitors to wild Borneo. The first day takes you up, up, up - panting from the lower dipterocarp rainforest with orchid-draped trees and pitcher plants, through coniferous trees and rhododendrons to alpine meadows and finally to the summit zone where Laban Rata, the cabins accomodating the one hundred or so hikers awaits. An evening watching drifting clouds and a spectacular sunset with travellers from all over the world ends early in anticipation for the final climb and because of our crying, exhausted bodies. The sanity of this climbing ritual is first questioned when your guide awakens you at 2:00 am for a quick bite to eat before you begin the three and a half hour steep incline in the dark. I continued to ponder the quirkiness of human nature that would drive a hundred people, headlights shining in the dark, up ropes, along slippery granite shelves, scrambling over rocks with gusting winds and freezing temperatures for three and a half hours at 2:30 in the morning!  However, mother nature prevails, and the glory of the sunrise and the beauty of the expansive landscape had me recovered instantly.

Today is Earth Day, and we all need to be reminded that the world is a beautiful place, and it's up to us to make every effort to keep it that way. Man's ability to control and conquer nature is so evident in Sabah, Borneo. Palm oil was introduced in 1860 and since then most of the natural jungle has been replaced with huge palm plantations at the expense of wildlife. "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. " ~ E.B. White


From Bryan on May 18th, 2007

Where are you two now? Haven't heard from you in a bit!

From Fantine on Jul 24th, 2011

Many many quaitly points there.

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