Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kinabalu? No thanks, I don't want to be eaten

Gunung Kinabalu is a modest mountain. Its height of 4,095 metres makes it just half an Everest, but like all runners-up they've found a few niche categories it can rank 20th in to keep it from feeling too bad. It's a shame it doesn't quite scrape into the Southern Hemisphere, accolades are piss easy down under.

Kinabalu is supposed to be relatively easy to climb too, and I would have given it a try if a sedentary lifestyle hadn't eroded what little physical fitness I once possessed. A week of walking around a city slightly too quickly at least put me in suitable condition to tackle the lesser trails of the surrounding Kinabalu Park, where I tackled nature head-on by sticking to conveniently carved footpaths over gentle hills. It took me back to my solitary hiking days around New South Wales and Korea, except I was doing it with someone who grew up in a pedestrian-unfriendly country and needs to rest every few minutes or die.

Maybe we'll skip those volcanoes in Bali after all.

Road to Ranau

During the bus ride from Kota Kinabalu I was fully aware - even as I struggled to take a decent shot of the cloudy mountain that wasn't motion-blurred, lopsided or obscured by buildings, foliage or power lines - that I was going to be spoiled by photo opportunities over the next five days, so needn't have bothered. But it was a way to pass the time. I thought I'd better include at least one sub-par, lovingly edited shot so I don't feel I completely wasted my time.

Ranau is the major town in the area and a convenient place for day trips to Kinabalu Park and other nature sites... that was according to what I read online anyway. I've generally found Malaysia to be one of the easiest and most comfortable countries in South East Asia for getting around, but the unlicensed, unidentifiable, perpetually delayed buses and non-existent taxis even perplexed my girlfriend - and she's from the phlipping Philippines!

After much stress we finally got where we needed to be. If you came to this blog looking for assistance, you're on your own. I just want to forget the whole ordeal.

Kinabalu Park

The walkabouts were pleasant enough, but these easy trails in the few square kilometres around the entrance are basically there to take the piss out of visitors who are too scared or feeble to do the proper mountain. It's always up there in the distance, mocking you, but on the bright side you're not trapped on an imposing rock face and can retire to an overpriced buffet if the leafy path gets too challenging. I don't need to excuse my laziness any more.

This is about as close to the mountain as we got, which wasn't quite as near as I'd hoped

But thanks to Jackie's camera's superior optical zoom, we can pretend.
Please let me know if you spot any humans, my eyes are getting worse

This was a lot like Sepilok Forest Reserve a few hours to the east, especially in that we didn't see any animals whatsoever. Not so much as a colourful Trogon (thanks, commenter!) or boring lizard on a stump

Do you like flowers? Here are some flowers

Leave the trappings of your 21st century life behind.
Just pretend the power lines are vines or something

You're not fooling anyone

And obviously don't ever leave the regulated safety of the Biodome™ or you'll be instantly suffocated by the poisonous atmosphere of our post-apocalyptic nightmare world.
But, of course, you know that already

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