I've been looking forward to the trip since all the details were planned, but I didn't want to find out too much about the climb. I'm fairly active, but a) I can talk myself out of nearly anything, b) I tend to panic about things if I'm too well informed, and c) I ran out of time. The last few weeks have been busy ones, so I knew in the back of my mind that the hike was looming, but...eh, I'll get there when the time comes.
Thus it was that on Christmas Eve I found myself scrambling to find my waterproofs (which, alas, seem to be in a Chicago basement), buy some gloves and a headlamp, print off my travel documents, and cram five days worth of things into my little Gregory overnight bag. Thus aptly equipped (or...we'll get to that), I headed to the airport, passport and boarding documents in hand, to catch my flight.
It's a short flight from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. About 2 hours and 20 smooth minutes got me there, followed by a roughly (and rough) two-hour van ride to my hotel. The hotel itself was quite nice - very basic, but quite clean and with a courteous staff. I slept somewhat poorly that night, and got up the next morning ready to start the adventure.
|The view from my balcony|
|Mt. Kinabalu in the clouds|
|The park's trail system|
|Our guide talks rattan|
|There's a pitcher plant in there somewhere|
|Pretty and tasty!|
|Me, in a somewhat dry moment|
|Growing the orchids|
Ah well, though, what does one do when in a rainforest in monsoon season? One walks.
I spent the afternoon and early evening wandering the trails in the park, sitting occasionally at a shelter to shake off the droplets and ponder the year behind me. By the time night was beginning to fall I was drenched through and ready for some tea and a book, so I headed back to the hostel where I chatted with my lovely Australian and Canadian hostel-mates and dove into Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union. We all headed to bed fairly early in order to be ready for the next morning, which would have worked wonderfully well had it not been for our late arrivals. Never mind - sleep is for the weak!
Next: The Climb