We’ll be coming round the mountain, when we come!

Well, techically a hill, not mountain. After having lived all my life in Petaling Jaya, more than three decades no less, I’ve never been up Gasing Hill. Unbelievable, even to me, considering I spent some time in the Methodist Primary School nearby. It is the only “green lung” within the whole of Petaling Jaya. Unfortunately for all but an elite few, this green lungs is slowly being eaten away by the cancer known as high-rise condominiums and similar developments. Before it disappears into nothingness, I decided to haul a friend up the slopes of the spinning top.At the foot of Gasing Hill are some of the most elegant houses in the Klang Valley. I’m not talking about those colossal mammoths teetering precariously on the slopes closer to the Federal Highway, but the nice former government houses in the deeper recesses of the foothill (pic), and close to one of the entrances to the jungle trail. Apparently, there are many entrances into the jungle trail, but this was the only one I was aware of. So, E and I parked here and walked in.

Despite the rising heat of the day, we were kept cool in the bowels of the forest, with a green canopy shading us from the sun’s rays. E and I were quite taken with the forest environment. E commented that the only thing missing was the sound of water, and in hindsight, I must agree. The sound of a stream, or some kind of water element, would have made the experience a lot better. In any case, we came to a little junction near the entrance of the forest trail, and opted to go upwards, rather than along a little stream (from which came no sound).

We walked on a little wooden bridge over the noiseless stream, and then headed up along the uphill path. The path was earth hewn into steps, and kept in place by wooden planks, very handy for those wearing slippery trainers like me. We came across interesting large mushrooms/fungus (pic below), as well as ferns towering high above our heads.

When we reached what we later found out was the top of the hill, we discovered a little lookout hut on stilts (pic below). I climbed up with excitement, reminded of the little tree huts my brother and I used to have in our fruit trees at home. The view, although breathtaking, was partially blocked by the trees around us. I could see a few other peaks along the jungle reserve, including the towers of electrical or telecommunication stations. The hut itself was covered in interesting graffitti. Tempted though we were, E and I did not include any further contribution to the pop art.

We made our way down the hill, and came to a little path which led to a fence. It seemed to me that either we were in the ‘learning’ forest (perhutanan pendidikan, or something like that… yes, I don’t use Malay at all in my daily life!) enclosure, or the fence partitioned off the ‘learning’ forest from us. Whatever it is, the walk got a little boring along this route, and we finally came to a point when we just ended up exactly where we were when we started out. We decided to take another path, which looked like it headed in a different direction, but ended up walking alongside a few houses before we reached an exit close to the main entrance (pic with next para).

I have to admit, I was disappointed at this juncture, but when it came down to making a decision of whether to go back by the stream, or go out for coffee, I opted for coffee. I think subconsciously I realised that I hadn’t done enough research as to the tracks and the maps, and I really didn’t want to do a half-arsed walkabout, especially with the dark clouds rolling in. So we rolled into E’s car, and headed for a drive along Gasing Hill.

We drove along a few routes which I never been on before, considering that most of my exploration of the area was on my bicycle years ago, and the slopes chosen were way to steep for me to cycle up. We came across the famous Hindu temple right on top of the hill. We parked along the side, with a breathtaking view of old Petaling Jaya, and the fantastic development along the Old Klang Road. I can never get used to the colossol multi-storey highway there, which reminds me so much of Bangkok. We got a good look at the monkeys playing there (in all senses of the word – pic below), and we also went up to the temple, from which there was an even more spectacular view (pics further below).

In any case, now I’ve done a little research, and hope to go back into the forest reserve soon. There appears to be five peaks, and we appeared to have just climbed the one closest to the entrance. Very disappointing…

(FYI, this post was written before the previous haze post. Notice how the haze was already there when we climbed up Gasing Hill, albeit not as bad yet)