I had dragged my hiking boots along with me for over five months through Southeast Asia, and I had only used them once in Vietnam, way back near the start of my trip. I was a little disappointed with myself about that. Obviously I had planned to do quite a lot of trekking during the trip, but it just didn’t happen. When I got to the beautiful forest covered mountains of the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia, I just had to dust off my boots and hit the trails.
The forests and mountains of the Cameron Highlands are crisscrossed with hiking trails, some well trodden, some barely more than a rough track through the jungle. We got ourselves a map of some of the trails around Tanah Rata, all branching out from town. We chose a trail and found the start of it, no problems at all.
The well worn trail that we followed took us along a crystal clear stream and into the dense forest before exiting into a picnic area. So far the map was correct. From here things began getting a little confusing and we had to find our own way and take a few guesses. Crossing the creek over a wooden bridge, the trail continued following the picturesque stream along the opposite bank, eventually joining onto a paved path. At this point, the map was way off, so we ended up going by some local’s directions who we met at a camp ground.
Their directions turned out to be correct and we were soon on the right trail again, heading up hill through the dense rainforest, the trail winding its way past beautiful crystal clear streams lined with tree ferns. Above us, the rainforest canopy blocked out much of the sunlight, keeping the air crisp and cool below.
Before long, the previously well worn trail became much rougher, and I had wondered if we had taken a wrong turn. My sense of direction told me that we were heading in the right direction though, turning back to do a loop back to where we started. We were definitely climbing at this point, and the rough trail became quite steep, requiring a lot of leg work to make it to the top. This was a trail that would lead to the top of one of the mountains surrounding Tanah Rata, but we would turn off sooner to keep on our loop.
Eventually, reaching the top of a ridge, we came to a trail crossroads with several confusing signs. All I could do was choose the one that seemed to head in the right direction, going back downhill towards the trail that we had originally been on near the start of our trek.
The path lead us along a ridge to a great view point that looked out over Tanah Rata and the surrounding hills and mountains. This trail turned out to be the right decision, and we were soon back on flat ground after a bit of steep downhill hiking, the path taking us back through the picnic area and to the start of the trail.
By the time we got back to Tanah Rata, we were well and truly ready for a cup of tea and some lunch.
It was great to have been on the trail again. There are so many hiking trails in the Cameron Highlands that I really could have spent a lot of time there without getting bored. My trekking feet will definitely take me back to this beautiful part of Malaysia.