Cav­ing among night ad­ven­tures

New Straits Times - - Jom! -

NIGHT CAV­ING

Af­ter the sat­is­fy­ing meal by the camp­site, we de­cide to go for some night ad­ven­ture by climb­ing up to a cave.

Still en­er­gised by the de­li­cious din­ner and equipped with safety hel­mets and head torches, we be­gin our jour­ney by strolling along the lake­side, ac­com­pa­nied by ad­ven­ture guides Fakhrul and Shah­dan.

The track is not so chal­leng­ing for a start, as it is grassy with just a lit­tle bit of mud here and there.

We walk deep into the lush for­est for about 15-20 min­utes and fi­nally ar­rive at an en­trance with the sig­nage “Gua Datuk”.

Here is where the ad­ven­ture kicks off. “Are you ready?” asks Fakhrul.

It is dark, and the at­mos­phere is a bit eerie. We are in to­tal dark­ness ex­cept for our head­lights but we are ready to hike the 630 steps of rough stairs!

As I am not a fit per­son, I am al­ready out of breath af­ter 10 min­utes. But that doesn’t stop me.

We take a cou­ple of short stops to take a breather. We fi­nally ar­rive at the mouth of Gua Datuk af­ter 20 min­utes.

At the mouth of the cave, Fakh sug­gests a short rest while he briefs us on the his­tory of the cave which dates back 400 mil­lion years.

“The cave is con­sid­ered a sa­cred place by many. Peo­ple have been com­ing here to pray and med­i­tate for years. It has also been used as a hid­ing spot by the Com­mu­nists,”says Fakhrul.

The cave is also called Pi­casso Cave be­cause the beau­ti­ful gran­ite walls re­sem­ble the ab­stract paint­ings of the fa­mous Span­ish painter, Pablo Pi­casso.

We then con­tinue our jour­ney inside the cave.

The place is very quiet but I can vaguely hear bats soar­ing above me. I ad­just my head­lamp to shine down­wards and care­fully re­frain from look­ing up to avoid dis­turb­ing the bats which are very sen­si­tive to light.

In the cave, we en­counter some old relics such as a bas­ket and a wooden lad­der,pos­si­bly aban­doned by those who came here to col­lect bird’s nests.

We also spot some sta­lac­tites and sta­lag­mites, as well as an an­i­mal skull, which can pos­si­bly be a horse’s or Ptero­dactyl’s, ac­cord­ing to Fakhrul.

Deeper inside, we come across an old shabby chair made of wood. What is it do­ing there?

Be­ing a scaredy cat, I walk closely to the oth­ers. I have goose­bumps look­ing at the mys­te­ri­ous relic.

Ac­cord­ing to Fakhrul, the chair was left there by Malay war­rior Datuk Pan­glima Ngah Gha­far, who came here to med­i­tate. The chair faces ki­blat, the di­rec­tion of Mecca.

Fakhrul points out two of three plots which could pos­si­bly be graves. Hik­ing the 630 steps to Gua Datuk.

Dine at Du­lang Tea House and ex­pe­ri­ence the unique cave am­bi­ence.

Easy does it...

There are also plenty of joss sticks left by the Chi­nese who came here to pray and seek bless­ing.

An­other amaz­ing thing that we wit­ness is a huge pot made of clay strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned di­rectly un­der a drip­ping wa­ter from the up­per cham­ber of the cave. We dip our hands into it, and the wa­ter is cool and clear.

Be­fore we head back, we see an amaz­ing view of the lake from up here. For an ad­di­tional RM100 per per­son, it is def­i­nitely worth it, es­pe­cially for the ad­ven­ture seek­ers!

INTO THE HOLE

Crav­ing for more, we go for an­other round of adren­a­line-pump­ing ad­ven­ture and this time we opt for the three-hour tun­nel ex­plo­ration of the Sixth Mile Tun­nel.

For an ad­di­tional RM110 per pax, my friends and I will be go­ing inside a nar­row hole to ex­plore this man-made tun­nel. But this time, it is dur­ing the day.

We are given a life jacket, safety hel­met, head­lamp and a bot­tle of min­eral wa­ter each. Said to be more chal­leng­ing then hik­ing Gua Datuk and we are go­ing to get wet, I am pre­pared with a bag to keep my phones and cam­eras.

Our jour­ney starts at the same route to Gua Datuk. But, af­ter five min­utes of trekking, our guides Pak Usop and Shah­dan stop us.

We have to cross a lake with the help of a rope. So, one by one, we swim across. We walk for an­other 15 min­utes in our soaked clothes and soggy shoes.

Upon reach­ing the ad­ven­ture lo­ca­tion, we can see the Sixth Mile Tun­nel en­trance from afar but we need to cross an­other small swamp.

“You must float to go across. Just re­lax and float. Don’t panic be­cause if you step on the mud, you will get stuck and prob­a­bly lose your shoes,” says Pak Usop.

Care­fully, I go into the wa­ter and float. It is a bit chal­leng­ing to stop my­self from step­ping on the mud at the bot­tom but I man­age to stay

One of the chal­lenge at the Sixth Mile Tun­nel

Hearty break­fast fare.

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