19 Jun 2012

Trekking Maxwell Trail with Children

Last year I wrote a post about trekking Pine and Bishop Trail where we came across Balanophora most parts of Pine trail and heard the call of the Gibbons for most of Bishop trail and saw an impressed tortoise. This year we trekked both again, Pine (only halfway) and Bishop continuing into Maxwell.
Seen along Pine Trail...thorn like growth (galls) on leaves.

A viper found under fallen tree branches on Pine.
Maxwell Trail (about 2 km)

Initially we had only planned to trek Bishop, but when we got to the midway point where you turn right to exit, we had a desire to see the forbidden Maxwell trail. I call it forbidden coz everytime I approach information counter, they tell me the trail's been closed and we knew it might be risky with six children aged between 3 and 10.

But our children are the tough sort, who've experienced many trails and so we decided to go for it!

Along Maxwell trail there are many varieties of ferns such as the one seen below. They come in different patterns and colours. I even saw pink ones. Lovely!

Most of the trail is dark, dense with huge, tall trees. The ground we trod on was mostly very muddy because of the rain the day before. Very soon we realised that the horror tails of hungry, huge, blood sucking leeches were very true indeed. Every 10 to 20 minutes we'd throw off between 5 to 10 leeches from our shoes and socks. The brave children did the same.

At one time, fighting too many leeches, I saw Jo's mouth beginning to twitch downwards at the corners. I went up to her and said "High 5 for those who've fought off more than 5 leeches!" Immediately all the kids came up to me and we high fived. I proclaimed them brave warriors, adventurers and overcomers! haha... They trekked on very bravely indeed, pulling off leeches, as if they were no more than some chewing gum.

Well, there wasn't a sound of Gibbons or a trace of the Impressed tortoise which we saw the last time, still the group continued.

I thought this a beautiful picture, a little leaf protected by 2 huge ones on the side.

Aside from the many many leeches seen waving at us or crawling onto us or dropping on our arms along the way!!, we met many obstacles. There were some narrow paths with loose soil, where the only way to continue was to cling on to the rope and carefully cross over. Our children who were fast, went first. And as I crossed each obstacle I wondered aloud "Wow,.....how did the children  cross this without our help?" Well, never underestimate children. A lot of times they are tougher than us, more nimble in feet, stronger and braver than us.

Sometimes we had to call out to them to stop, and we meant it. It is frightening knowing some people have lost their way on this trail before.

Here Ad is crawling beneath a fallen tree to continue trekking.

Lil Josh, only 5, trekking by himself.

At one point, the trek became very dense and the group came to a complete halt. The path had been covered by overgrown shrubs and grass leaving very little of the trail. We had to decide whether to turn back or continue. To turn back meant going back through the many obstacles we've crossed. The brave children decided to try the almost closed path.

They went ahead and after a while shouted "We're almost through, come on." And so we continued, and I regretted wearing shorts then, as the itchy shrubs scratched against my legs.

Aud and Jo searching for a path between the overgrown plants that covered the path.

Finally we came to a slight clearing, a welcomed change from the dark forest we've been trekking, and this was the view we saw.

We continued through the path and encountered many more obstacles such as the one below..

Fallen bamboo plants. No way over, except to crawl under this "tunnel" of fallen bamboos. We were careful to watch for snakes.

More fallen trees here, and Jo climbed a boulder to find her way over the fallen trees before jumping down towards the path.

Here's Dylan who grabbed on to some vines before leaping off the boulder onto the trail, which we found out later, was a wrong path.

Not wanting to admit they were wrong, Dylan and Nel continued through the dense trees (already near the end), and found their way to the road. They made it through, we did it, all our children and us. I'm proud of them. :)

Some interesting fungi found on the path

As large, wait...larger than my head!

Such a beautiful combination don't you think?

This here was larger than 2 of my hands put together

I loved the way this is patterned almost like some sort of musical instrument
Very huge beautiful trees along the path
I call this Nature's Collage. A beautiful combination of colours.

This marked the end of the trail.
This here is a mark left by the leech on Dylan's feet.

Leech bites
As for me and leeches, I thought I'd escaped them and was the winner. Well then I saw 2 patches of blood on my shorts. They bit me good. One on the left thigh, and the other on the right. Another behind the calf and one more on the arm. The bites on my thighs left and incredible itch (and swelling) that irked me for a good whole week!

Still, we enjoyed the trail. The children enjoyed the obstacles (and leeches, they claim) but would not trek it again the next day again when asked. haha... :)

I think Maxwell is a lovely trail with interesting plants, insects and birds to see. Throughout we didn't see a single soul on the trail. Perhaps a little clearing to the dense, closed sections of the trail might inspire some to trek the trail in the future.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2012



mellymilly said...

I salute u!! We did our first family jungle trekking in Perhentian. Without the younger 2. And the track is nothing compared to your Fraser Hill's. It's way easier. But I still don't have the courage to bring small kids in ;-)

Carolyn (Lil' Dahling) said...

You really are adventurous aren't you? The kids were so brave! Kudos to them. That snake picture freaked me out. I'm terrified of snakes. Don't think I'll know what to do if I face one. My children so far are only game for simple trails. Must go more often.

pelf said...

That looks like a very challenging trail, Martha! I was hiking in Tasik Chini just this past weekend, and it was similarly challenging, though we didn't get to see any wildlife :(

gail said...

Such hearty children!

Alas, I would have stayed in the car reading a book whilst you trekked!

Martha said...

Hey Has@Milly, well it's a good start. :) you can try your younger ones on simple trails already. Never too young to start. :)

Carolyn: As long as the snake is not moving I'm fine. hehe... I guess, stay quiet and trod carefully. Trails are interesting for children coz they get to learn, observe, listen. Also good for exercise, a lot of times body balance and strength too!

Pelf: wow. Will hop over now to check out your Chini shots, if uploaded already. Maybe if you go alone you'll see some wildlife? :)

G: Ah, Id let you do that, after dragging you through a simple trail first. haha...

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