Monday, December 15, 2008

Bukit Timah to MacRitchie


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Well almost!

The plan was to walk from Bukit Timah to MacRitchie Reservoir Park. The route I decided to take is - Bukit Timah Nature reserve - Kampong Trial - Rifle Range Road - MacRitchie Trial - Tree Top Walk - MacRitchie Reservoir Park. Everything went fine except the last phase. I lost directions (again!) went a few rounds and finally after 23 kilometres of walk ended up much further north - near Lower Pierce Reservoir!

The start at Kampong trail itself was not auspicious. Just 200 meters into the trial a snake cross the path in a hurry just a meter or so from where I was standing. With hair on my neck standing up, it looked as if it crawled over my foot. The next snake was just before I reached Riffle range road. The snake was at least 10 meters away (but again at that moment it looked too close).

For a person whose closest interaction with wildlife in recent times is eating fried chicken at KFC, this came in as a big shock.

The main challenge of the Kampong trail is that at many places the trial is too narrow and overgrown plants (looks like few people take this route) almost hide the track.

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You never know what you will be stepping on. The rest of the trail was well "developed".

Apart from the snakes and (which I believe to be) a monitor lizard the only other animal that was abundant is monkeys in Riffle Range Road. They are so used to the place, they literally own it. Some stood right in the middle of the road - cars had to take a detour not to hit them! Birds were plenty and there were a few bird watchers as well.

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Once you enter the MacRitchie trial things are well organized (and I cannot believe I still got lost!). Well marked trials which are wide enough drive a car through in most places, abundant maps, few rest places all prim and proper.

I wonder why most of the streams in the forest area are red in colour. Is it red algae or something else?

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The Treetop walk starts with a serious climb from the Ranger Station. It is a one way circular trial. At the entrance of the treetop walk there is even a person sitting there to ensure no one walks back.

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The Treetop walk gives you a magnificent view of lakes and the forest canopy. It sorts of sways a little bit as well.

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One the other end there is some climbing down to do - but well laid out steps are there.

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And finally you reach MacRitchie Trial (pink one) and then back to Ranger Station. The whole walk from the nearest cark park (Venus loop carpark) should be close to 10 kilometres and with some serious climbing and steps, it is not for the weak or disabled. The one way route makes it difficult to change your mind half way as well.

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The next part is the fun part. I walked round and round (as you can see in this map), but did not find my way to MacRitchie. I ended up at the entrance of Singapore Island Country Club and a kind security person gave me directions and advice to get back into the trial. I still didn’t make it to MacRitchie. I ended up taking a deserted track and finally ended up in this neighbourhood.

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Some tips before winding up:

1) Avoid Kampong trail; if not walk with someone else. There are snakes - some are big and long - and crawling too close for comfort. I am not experienced enough to determine whether they are poisonous or not.

2) It will be easier to walk from MacRitchie to Bukit Timah than vice versa. This is because Treetop Walk is a one way route. If you do the Bukit Timah to MacRitchie walk you will walk an "extra mile". Do so only if you love to walk!

3) When you have lost your way in the middle of a lonely jungle trial even a good GPS (even a Nokia N95) is not good enough. Try talking to people (if you manage to find one).


Gina said...

Sounds like you had a great time:) MacRitchie is stunning, I will always remember the monkeys...and snakes!! Hey, England will not be as tough...and not as humid neither. Great photos!

Manoj Sugathan said...

Thank you. And thank you again for being my blogs first "follower". :)

rainfield61 said...

Good attempt on your writing.

First of all I wonder where you are form, finally get to know you are my neighbour.

Mountain trekking is another adventour!!

Manoj Sugathan said...

Indeed I am your neighbor. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Trekkingkaki said...

Hi Manoj Sugathan,

Thanks for sharing yr adventure on Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. I would like to invite you and your friends to join this discussion board to share information with fellow trekkers worldwide.


Trekkingkaki Administrator

Dale said...

Thanks for sharing! That was a great post!