The building of electrical pylons has damaged one of the most popular trekking spots near Kuala Lumpur. What can be done?
ALMOST every weekend, for the past six years, my family and I have savoured our retreats to green hills with pristine streams. There are few hills near Kuala Lumpur we can bring our kids to, and one of them is Apek ( or Ah Pek) Hill.
Located in forests between Ampang, Cheras and Hulu Langat, “Ah Pek” is actually a Hokkien word meaning “uncle” and it aptly describes the many whitehaired senior citizens who come here regularly for their exercise.
Apek Hill offers a good hike through beautiful terrain with a mix of flat and steep paths woven with tree roots. Huge trees provide shade, while streams and waterfalls are good places to cool off.
Along the way, you can enjoy the endless soundtrack of chattering monkeys, chirping birds, squawking hornbills and buzzing crickets. Lush greenery, unique mushrooms, beetles and butterflies welcome you to the jungle. This is nature at its best, just a stone’s throw from the city.
Our first hike here was in September 2010. My hubby, Adrian Yeong, Googled for information to get us there. He back- packed our youngest child, who was only one year plus then. Our three other young kids hiked up with us.
Being unfit ( we had just started our new hiking hobby for a month then), the trail seemed long and unending, going up and down the hills. We took the trail from Awana Cheras all the way to Stations 1, 3 and 5 ( these spots have been long established there by volunteers, such is the popularity of this place) and then hiked all the way down to the waterfall.
Being first timers, we were unsure of the way, but fortunately we met a helpful regular hiker, Tony, who led us in. Our kids were elated when they finally saw the waterfall, and all of a sudden they did not seem tired anymore! We delighted ourselves splashing about in the refreshing waters.
After a few hikes, another regular hiker told us about a shorter route via Bukit Hatamas and we started inviting our friends to join us. Most who came along were first- timers and non- hikers, and many found the hike exhausting. But they were very happy when they eventually reached the waterfall.
We had heard about a huge, majestic tree in Apek Hill next to a lovely stream. When we found it one day, I was so enthralled by its beauty that I wrote a poem entitled “Nature’s Retreat”.
Totally absorbed by nature, Boulders, rocks, lush greenery, A huge tree with myriad leaves, Mini falls amidst scattered rocks, We had hopelessly, Fallen in love with her. No idea had we that it existed, Pose we must, as the camera clicked, Drenched by her, we were, A thousand droplets no less, Of cool refreshing waters, Welcoming us to be her guests.
Unfortunately, the tree is no longer standing there.
Late last year, my heart felt heavy after seeing disturbing images on social media of Apek Hill being bulldozed, its greens ripped apart into a swathe of yellow soil. It was hard to believe. So my hubby and I, along with some friends, set out one morning to see for ourselves.
My heart cried tears when I saw the hill with my own eyes. “She has been raped!” I thought. I was truly sad and it was as though I could hear the forest crying.
A great number of beautiful
Apek hill near KL is a haven for hikers. here, the writer ( highest, centre) with her friends and family, are at the magnificent tree that inspired her to poetry. — Photos: AdrIAN yEONG
having snacks inside a cosy trekkers’ tree house at Apek hill.
A photo session at the refreshing waterfall on Apek hill.
Apek hill is such a popular hiking spot that trekkers have built recreation facilities there like this tree house.