By Yahya Im
I don’t like running. When you have a bad knee on one side and a fractured ankle (we’ll get to there shortly) on the other side, the posture is just weird. And an uncle doing a brisk walk was able to overtake my running twice (maybe they’re twins). So I had stopped running since.
The only run I’m running is running away from running. Or clicking the “run” prompt whenever I install a program on my laptop. At least I can comfort myself thinking I had done some running.
Since I can’t run, I tried to do some aerobic exercise by going hiking.
I know, some of you might be thinking: “Is he for real? He won’t run but he will hike?”.
If you followed my previous post, you would know that I audit for a living. My life is just like the financial statement I’m auditing: “Nothing about it makes sense”.
I find solace in hiking to be honest, considering I always hike alone (because the only way for me to have a date is during Ramadan). Also, people hike because they want to take photo at a good spot while I hike because I want to look good in a photo.
My first solo hike was executed in Bukit Apek. Bukit Apek? Apparently it was dubbed such because from many years ago, majority of the hikers were from the Chinese community living nearby. Back when the racial tension was almost unheard of because I bet if the hill is dubbed as such today, there will be a movement to legally change the name because to SJW (Social Justice Warriors), it has a racist connotation.
Wait till you hear its real name. Bukit Apek’s real name is Bukit Putih. Literally WHITE Hill. In a politically correct world, this hill is the embodiment of what it is not.
Bukit Apek is quite relatively an easy hike. Managed to reach the peak during my first try in one and half hours. For a regular, you might only take an hour.
I remember the first time I managed to hit one hour with only minimal stops. I was on cloud nine that I rushed my way down since I had so many programs planned for that day and that one hour hike was a great boost to start my day. Or so I thought. It was raining heavily the night before, I slipped while going down and fractured my left ankle. Worst, it was only halfway down and there were still so many difficult paths.
I was lucky, however. There were many hikers (hmmm, I don’t think they do audit too, or do they?) around during that time. And since I am not what you would call a small person, it took like 20 odd people to carry me down in a stretcher. I was so cheeky that I told some of them: “You don’t have to hike anymore. You just carry me, you’ll burn more calories,” because a broken ankle should never break your sense of humor.
Able to get gown safely. Put a plate on the fractured part and now I’m man of steel attached to the ankle. Still not bulletproof though.
It took me almost a year to be able to gain back my confidence in hiking. Though I’m tying to forget the exact spot I slipped, my body instinctively remembers. It shook whenever I passed by it.
Of course it took me longer than usual to get to the peak. And when I reached the peak, it dawned on me that I would have to take the similar journey back to go down where I started. And the journey might be even more difficult.
And it made me really reflect about life thinking of it. Sometimes, we try our hardest getting to the top. But we always forget, going back to our roots can be more difficult than the journey uphill.
There are countless times I doubted myself going down because the view looks so unfamiliar from the top perspective. Many times I had to turn back to think if I had missed any turns or trust my guts despite not remembering whether the tree branch was there when I came up or not.
So much so that now, whenever I hike uphill and reach an intersection (still planning a sequel to road not taken), I try to remember a certain unique landmark so I will remember going down. And to my surprise, most of the intersection would have a manmade landmark like the past hikers knew it will come in handy in the future. I can’t thank them enough, because it had helped me countless times.
I can’t imagine, what if I were to take a heli and fly to the peak. It might take way shorter time, but I will never be able to find my way back because every thing will be so alien to me if I want to go back to the grassroots.
There will be some difficult paths along the way and it is perfectly fine to use a walking stick. It doesn’t mean we are weak, it shows how resourceful we are.
My body still can’t forget the fear of mistaking a step and sometimes when I don’t have any confidence on walking normally at a path, I would go down on all fours spotting my way up. I couldn’t care less about it because I know it will reduce my risk of falling down, injuring the other parts of my body. It’s like telling me to be humble whenever we are in a difficult position and sometimes our approach might not look good to others, but we know best on our own capabilities and limitations.
An article about hiking suddenly taking a twist turn making it a metaphor about life? It is 2020 anyway and we have so much of twist turning events and why don’t we make it wholesome this time?
I normally have a recommendation section at the end of my write up because I want to hit the word count.
And what’s better to recommend in a hiking article other than a spot for hiking?
No, my recommendation is not for Bukit Apek because it is currently closed down due to a malaria outbreak in the are. However, I want to recommend to you Bukit Besi Alam Damai which is only a stone’s throw away from my house.
The path is relatively easier than Bukit Apek. With minimal rest and stop, I managed to reach the top in just 45 minutes. Although it does have its own hellish level, it is worth it as there are so many Insta-worthy spots, one of which is the KL Skyline. Trust me, it’s only one of many.
If you want to hike because you want to lose weight, don’t bother because once you get down, there’s a mamak, KFC, Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks among others just waiting for you to top up on the calories.
Just Google Bukit Besi Alam Damai or you can reach me on my FB (Yahya Imran) because I’m planning to make this a weekly activity. – New Malaysia Herald