Long walk: Southwell (right) and Huntley’s girlfriend Kit Natariga walking back from the Lubuk Teja waterfall.
PULAU TIOMAN: The mother of missing Briton Gareth Huntley traced the footsteps of her son, making a long trek up to the Lubuk Teja waterfall to get a feel of what her son might have gone through before he went missing in the area last week.
Janet Southwell, who took the difficult route up with a guide, concluded there was no way her 34-year-old son could have got lost or injured hiking to the waterfall.
She believed Huntley might have trekked further up towards a hydro dam, which can be found on the route map at the Juara Turtle Project but is not listed in a public map.
“It wasn’t that difficult. There were boulders to scramble over in places and one or two paths where you could have possibly taken the wrong turn.
“But Gareth’s really fit, I mean, I managed it in one and a half hours and I’m not that fit,” she said, adding, however, that she may have lost her way without the guide.
Reaching the waterfall, Southwell said the place was idyllic and she understood why her son had wanted to visit the place.
“He was going to meet his friends for snorkelling later and had time to spare, he may have thought about finding the source of the waterfall,” she said.
Trek guide Mustaza Mohd Anuar said it was possible for Huntley to have hiked there, as a large pipe running through the jungle from the dam was right next to the waterfall.
He doubted that Huntley could have got lost on his way there.
“The dam is not even 1km from the waterfall and the path is much easier than the one going to the waterfall,” said Mustaza.
Mustaza led Pahang police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Sharifuddin Ab Ghani and members of the media on the same trek to the waterfall.
The beginning of the trail is well paved with streetlights but it becomes narrow later and is sometimes obstructed by boulders and fallen trunks. However, there is clear signages every few metres to guide tourists to the waterfall.