It all happened last Sunday. The occasion being a river and jungle trek up Sg. Ampang in Kemensah Heights, Hulu Kelang. The objective of the trip was to cover 4 waterfalls, the main one being the Kubang Gajah falls in the area. It involved a series of jungle treks, river treks & climbing of steep slopes in order to achieve our goal.
It was a memorable trip for all 34 ‘Waterfall Survivors’ members who went for the trek. Not only was the trip invigorating as we dipped into the cool (cold for some), clear waters of the falls … we also provided a feast galore for a certain inhabitant which thrives in wet & damp trekking trails – the leech. Pacat in Malay.
We might as well have sent out invitations to these creepy crawlies for a 7 hour blood fest from 9am to 4pm. We were ‘bled’ throughout the trail. Small price to pay since we were in their territory, I suppose. Each one of us was assured two to three bites (at least) throughout the trip. No one was spared. They latched onto our arms, our legs, in between our toes, our torso’s. One guy reported that he had three leeches feasting on his leg, side by side. Another discovered one latched onto the jewels in between his legs, when he reached home later. Hmm .. yummy? Ahahahaah!!!!!!
Before they feed on you, leeches take on an innocuous, string like appearance. But after they feed, they grow into fat peanut sized monstrosities. They can sense your presence from the heat emitted from your bodies & they fall onto you from the leaves above or they can latch on to your feet from the ground below. Actually, if they don’t freak you out, you can just let them suck on your blood until they have had their fill. They will drop off once they are full. But …. if you do mind their presence, then you could bring salt water concentrate or a cigarette butt with the tobacco end exposed with you. Once the leeches come into contact with these items, they will fall off of you. Check out this video for a visual on how they move about. Notice they have suckers on both ends of their bodies.
Leech or no leech – it was a GREAT trek! The waterfalls were breathtaking. The river trek was relatively easy. We could get a firm foot grip on the river bed which was sandy and the rocks were not too mossy. The Gods were kind to us too. The whole day was sunny and turned gloomy only at about 4pm. By that time, we were already at the end of the trail and on the way back to our cars.
Well, they say – leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photographs – in the jungle, but I beg to differ, you get to leave some bloodsupply besides your footprints!
P.S. Directions: If you’re interested in going to Sg. Ampang’s, Kubang Gajah Falls, drive towards the Zoo Negara in KL. After that. Drive into the road that leads you to the Zoo from the MRR2. Once you’re on this road, you’ll be driving beside the zoo. Drive straight along this road right to the very end (i.e. no more road left) and you will reach a private compound. Park there and access the trail from within the grounds. There will be guards there and a fee of RM10 pax to be paid at the entrance of this compound. Numbers to call can be found in the pic below.
P.P.S. Trail Map (not to scale). Note that the trail is not so clearly defined in some areas especially on the ascent route after the 3rd fall. There is a bit of a climb after the 4th fall to approach the descent route. This part is a bit steep so you have to be prepared to go on all fours especially for novices if you’re afraid of losing your foot grip.
P.P.P.S. The difficulty level is subjective. If you’re fit, it’s probably an easy trek. For those who are not fit, if you’re armed with a sense of adventure and if you’re not afraid of getting wet & dirty, then I highly recommend it! It certainly is not for those who faint at the sight of blood though, fit or unfit notwithstanding 🙂