Rewarding hike into Kemensah forest


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  • Saturday, 10 Jan 2015

Peaceful: Wading through ankle-deep water to cross the stream.

IT WAS the perfect morning for a hike. Cool, cloudy, with no threat of rain and getting there was a breeze, 20 minutes of clear roads from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre to Zoo Negara. Even locating the trail head was easy with detailed directions provided.

Our target was to explore Kemensah Forest on East Tabur. At 9am, the trek began with a group of 25 heading up a wide pebbly path to an open area with Bukit Tabur in the background. We soon entered the jungle, going slowly up a narrow path that rose steeply.

After 10 minutes of dodging protruding branches, low overhangs and roots, we emerged from the cover of the trees and walked along a path flanked by 10ft-high green walls on both sides.

We continued on a gentle incline, reaching a clearing after 20 minutes, taking a five-minute break before heading up the slope, turning right into a packed-earth trail wide enough to walk two abreast.

At the fork, we detoured left to a high point, curious to see what was on top. Mid-way up, we had to scramble over a massive trunk that obstructed the path, reaching the rocky outcrop some 10 minutes later.

At the vantage point, which was approximately 400m high, we were rewarded by a stunning, misty view of the Kuala Lumpur skyline on one side and the webbed-foot shaped portion of the Klang Gate Reservoir on the other.

We feasted and captured these beautiful vistas digitally, before backtracking down the lovely forest of huge trunks and gnarly roots. Back at the fork, we took a sharp right turn, going downhill for a change on sandy hard ground. We trekked comfortably this way, making good time, climbing to another peak with several huts, water tanks and rows of cultivated lemongrass.

A short five-minute walk down a sloping earth drain brought us to a grassy area with fruit trees while undulating rolling hills beckoned invitingly. We were at the outskirts of an orchard and, having walked for about two hours, we stopped for a group photo and a well-deserved break.

A different group: The ATV enthusiasts waiting for us to clear the path.
A different group: The ATV enthusiasts waiting for us to clear the path.

The onward march continued downhill along a sandy trail, which soon merged into a muddy path with dense undergrowth. Suddenly, we hit a small stream with a choice of wading through ankle deep water or taking a flying leap at the narrowest point between two banks. I opted for the latter, wetting the toe of my left shoe in the process.

Up next was a moderate climb that had our hearts pumping for 20 minutes. We met what seemed like an army of bikers going the opposite way, stopping several times to let each other pass at the tighter spots along the windy trail. After cresting the top, the landscape changed again as we entered bamboo territory. I always find the sight of bamboo very restful, and thoroughly enjoyed the next 20 minutes, despite having to navigate past suspended bamboo trunks and large puddles of muddy water on the ground.

Leaving the bamboo forest behind, we were told to watch out for ATV enthusiasts as this stretch is accessible by 4WD and ATVs. True enough, we heard the ATVs long before seeing them. At least a dozen ATVs and riders were lined up, waiting patiently for us to clear the trail before thundering down the valley.

Finally, we were at the most strenuous part of the day’s hike. The trudge up the twin ruts left by the ATVs was steep and seemed to go on forever. Though it was only eight minutes, I was winded and very glad to reach the top.

Homeward bound, the trail flattened out, widened and we made good time and soon looped back to the base of the lookout point. Then it was a trip down memory lane, as we retraced the way we came earlier. The way out took only 25 minutes compared to 45 minutes going in. We emerged and re-entered the road 200m from where we parked our cars.

It took about three-and-a-half hours to cover the 11km and I would say Kemensah is very doable, an easy and comfortable walk along well-maintained paths with many scenic spots.

For me, there is potential for longer outings in the future and I am keen to explore more of the orchard when the fruits are in season. For a more challenging adventure, seven hours should be enough to get hikers to the waterfall and back. Next time, for sure!

Starting off: Our trail started with a narrow squeeze between dense undergrowth.
Starting off: Our trail started with a narrow squeeze between dense undergrowth.

Things to bring

nWater bottle / Hat

nEmergencies – Plaster, mosquito repellent

nTrekking pole / compass

nOptional: Raincoat/ Leech socks / Torch

nExtra clothes – T-shirt / Shorts

nSnacks – Energy food

Getting there

GPS : N 03 13.173; E 101 46.053

If coming from:

- MRR2, head towards Taman Melawati, then Zoo Negara

- Duke Highway, take Exit 3308 A towards Ulu Kelang, Taman Melawati, Kuantan. Take exit ramp to Taman Permata, and make U-turn below. At 200m, take left to Zoo Negara, then turn left on Jalan Taman Zooview Drive.

From Jalan Taman Zooview Drive:

>Turn left into Jalan 1 (Taman Kemensah signboard)

>Turn left into Jalan 3 (Masjid al Iman direction)

>At T-junction, turn right into Jalan 5, which merges into Jalan L5

>Turn right at Tropika-Kemensah signboard

>Keep going for 600m, park car onthe left at TNB sub-station

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