JIPP's WORLD

…….The World Without Boundaries

That Little Patch of Forest called the SAGA Hill

Written By: jipp - Jan• 17•14

One of the things that I love most about KL or rather Klang Valley is that there’s always a new place that I’d find out about. I’ve been based in KL for about 3 years now and I still can’t claim that I know every place of interest here. Another place that I was made to know about and later taken to recently was a small patch of forest in Cheras called Saga Hill.

When my friend Mr. KJH asked if I wanted to do a little bit of hiking up the Saga Hill on the Maulidul Rasul Public holiday, I was fast to give my OK. I mean, I’m kinda obsessed with hiking now. I was still kinda fresh from a hike up the majestic Mount Kinabalu to begin this year with and I could not wait to do another one. Heh.

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So, Saga Hill was much nearer than I had expected. I mean, I was told that it was located in Cheras but I really thought it was like in the far corner of Cheras since Cheras itself is a very big district, probably the biggest in Klang Valley at least by area. And it is full of housing areas too so I didn’t expect I’d find a patch of forest reserve right smack in the middle of it.

But then, Saga Hill that I found out later was actually very much close to a housing area. Looking at it from where we parked our car, I was quite sure that it was going to be a very quick hike for me. Of course, that thought did not stay long.

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The beginning of the trail was already a wow. It felt weird to be walking in a housing area and all of a sudden I found myself in a farm – a real farm – like those that we have at villages. They had just about every plant that you’d never expect of seeing in an urban area like Cheras. For a moment I felt like plucking some of them off and put them into the very little sack that I had with me. LOLz.

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The trail or rather trails were very well-maintained. Some good Samaritans had been clearing them up – those people that I am so thankful of having in the community. It was more like a network of trails with a few options of going up to the peak but connected to each other somewhere. Of course, being with KJH, we’d always go for the more challenging ones (guys stuff. Ahaks!). Instead of going on the Trail A which is easier with all the concrete stairs and all, we went for the Trail B which was more challenging.

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As if the farm was not enough to surprise me, the jungle itself gave me more surprises by showing me how a forest could stay in its original setting when it is well-kept and properly conserved. I saw trees of sizes that I could hardly see in most of our forests in Malaysia nowadays.

It was a one-day public holiday so Saga Hill is the kind of places that adventure-seekers in KL would go to for a quick nature escapade simply because of its easy accessibility. Every now and then a group of family would catch up with us and we’d let them pass. I mean, all the camwhoring was really slowing us down but who cares right? We were in no rush anyway. Hiking is all about taking in the views and all the pleasure that comes with them – and translate them into pictures. LOLz.

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The network of trails could be quite confusing. The signs are all over but still there are certain points of the trails where they are somehow missing so you might have to use your own instinct to decide which way to go next. But seriously, it’s always safe to take a good look at the map (they put it up on the board at the starting point of the trail) and try to memorize it if you can because you might really need to recall it especially when you are at a cross-path and there is no sign at sight.

I mean, seriously. I really thought it was just a small patch of forest and we’d get our hike done in no time at all. How wrong we were. It was a jungle big enough to be a hiding place for – say – a militant group to polish up their combating skills or something. At the peak of the hill was a rest area complete with canopied huts where you can just relax under and unwind before returning to the base or continuing your exploration. There was even some sort of gym corner in there for you to do a little bit extra exercises in addition to the hiking. The apparatus might be simple and basic but it was good enough to bring a little bit of diversity in your hiking life. LOL!

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Of course we did not stop there. We went further down the trail and I almost screamed in excitement when I found something so exciting right there in the middle of the jungle – hidden in between two hills. What looked more like an Al-Qaeda hideaway at first was actually a wooden shack. A beautiful pool was made out of a stream that flows right nearby and I swear to God I could just strip down to nothing and throw myself right in there!

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Then I found out it was actually a shack whose construction was initiated by a group of hikers or rather mountain climbers who then turned it into some sort of nature getaway. Every now and then some of them would go there to unwind and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city – something that I’d love to do if I had a chance.

That place was so damn cool – that I can guarantee. It has just about everything that is needed when you are in a jungle. There was a kitchen complete with cutlery and even a stove and gosh – what can be more relaxing than lying on a swaying hammock surrounded by nature and lush greenery. I could stay there forever!

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A couple of uncles were there – probably enjoying their turn of occupying the shack at least for the day. He told us that he’d come down there almost every week and I could clearly see why. That place really was so fucking cool and relaxing. It’s like a little hidden gem nestled deep in the forest and being there felt almost like a privilege.

It reminds me of the movie The Village where the people live a very traditional life in a village which is portrayed to be so medieval when it is actually already in the 20th century. The uncle was so kind to serve us with tea (fresh from the stove!) and I couldn’t believe how good the taste was to my tongue – probably because I was in a jungle. Whatever you eat or drink in a jungle is always tastier.

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After getting some leads from him, we continued our journey up and down the trail where we finally found the very thing that we intended to find – the waterfall. It was not really the nicest waterfall that I had ever been to but it was good enough to have a little bit of relaxing atmosphere because it was like in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by nothing but lush greenery. I still could not believe that I was actually right smack in the middle of Cheras! Damn. 😀

The water was freezing cold on a first contact but I knew I had to force myself into it or I’d never get it done. I had to muster all the courage that I had to submerge myself wholly in the water just so that my body would find its way to equilibrium with the river. We spent less than an hour to soak up the moment before we decided it was time to return to civilization. Uhuks!

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We actually took a different trail by accident so we ended up doing a much longer hike than we had intended to. But we did not regret it. We found more big trees – some of them were giants they must have aged centuries – along the way and I was really enjoying the fact that they survived the human greed for money – at least for now.

The forest reminded me so much of Nam – Tour of Duty, one of my favorite TV series when I was a kid. I imagined myself holding a machine gun, walking slowly in full alert across the jungle, and trying to be fully prepared to shoot just in case a Vietcong came into sight.

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We must be so further in because there was one stretch of the trail where we met absolutely nobody – nobody at all that for a moment I wondered if we’d ever find our way out.

And of course we would. And we did. And checking roughly on my RunKeeper, I could not believe that we were in the jungle for 7 freaking hours, covering some 9 kilometers (only?) and by the time we returned to the base, it was almost 3.30pm. I would have had a full marathon done if it was a run that I did.

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Truly-deserved little feast 🙂

But seriously, if you had a chance, make your time to go up to Saga Hill. You’ll be surprised to see what a small patch of forest like Saga Hill could offer to you.

And even more exciting is the fact that I’m going to another hike very very soon. Yippies!

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