Oa­sis de­stroyed

The build­ing of elec­tri­cal py­lons has dam­aged one of the most pop­u­lar trekking spots near Kuala Lumpur. What can be done?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ADVENTURE - By JESSY PHUAH star2@ thes­tar. com. my

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.

~ just­jessy~

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.

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