Monday, July 03, 2006

Recommendations = Caution x10

Are you by any chance curious about this particular post's title?

Well, let me tell you a story that started 2 weeks ago when Slurp, a blog pal recommended on his blog a nice pleasant walk along the Bukit Gombak Trail, and posted lovely pictures of beautiful fungi, birds and insects, and really unusual botany. With interest already piqued, I also happened to attend the 3rd get-together of Singapore Flickr members held over the weekend at Gone Fishing Cafe at Chu Lin Road (right in the heart of Hillview area, off Upper Bukit Timah Road), at the end of which is the start of the Bukit Gombak Trail.

Now, Slurp mentioned something about "easy walking up a well paved path" and "people of all ages can now enjoy our natural surroundings with little difficulty", and Kenny, the owner of Gone Fishing Cafe said that the walk from his cafe to the start of the Trail was only 5 minutes away whilst the 700m walk along the trail (ending near to Bukit Gombak MRT station at Little Guilin) should take no more than 15 to 20 minutes. With such recommendations, I persuaded a couple of the Flickr members to join me on this short hike in search of photo-worthy subjects.

Halfway along the 5-min walk in the late afternoon heat, a Flickr co-hort mentioned, "maybe, we should drive our car right up to the steps of the Bukit Gombak Trail?"... duhhh... it's less than 50m ahead. Then, we saw this long flight of steps up the Trail into the woods (can't really call it a jungle), which wound out of sight, and we couldn't quite figure out how high the flight of steps were. Hmm... we looked at each other but didn't want to appear like wimps, so with our camera backpacks and tripods, we started the climb. Halfway up, poor ShutterbugL who was carrying a 2kg tripod on top of his camera bag asked whose great idea this hike was, and I studiously remained silent!

Suffice to say... we reached certain rest-stops with viewing vantage points overlooking Little Guilin and the Bukit Gombak MRT station, took a couple of breaks, saw a couple of interesting specimens of nature but were just a little put off by the heat and unexpected 45-degree gradient climb ("easy walking" for some) to put our thumbs up!

The hike was not entirely wasted though, here are a couple of the specimens of nature which I happened to catch while resting against a tree hoping to catch my breath...
White Pita Bread?
Looked like pita bread to you... it did to me then (probably the result of hallucination due to lack of oxygen to the brain from all that physical exertion), but actually part of some really white wild mushrooms growing on a tree trunk.

White Fans

This is the full picture of these mushrooms on the tree trunk. So innocent-looking, but may be deadly.

Poison has never looked that Good

Another shot of some beautiful brown fungi, very lingzhi in form and shape but unlike lingzhi mushrooms, I don't think these are the health-benefitting type of fungi.

A White River Runs Thru'
As you can see, even a tree with sap was considered photo-worthy when you're too tired to explore the rest of the environs.. most of us think this is a rubber-tree but what do we know? We just assumed it is becos' of the white gooey sap and the way the rings have been carved around the tree for the sap to flow (just like how we think a rubber-tapper would do it).
On its way Out
One of my favourite shots from this hike.. a pale wrinkly and wonderfully textured leaf just at the end of its fresh green life and embarking on its journey towards the end.
shutterbugL - the determined photographer
wee_lywee is LOST
Two of my co-horts up the hiking trail, top = ShutterbugL, the determined photographer who lugged a 2kg tripod along (kudos to him); and bottom = wee_ly, a man who was once lost in Bangkok (see t-shirt) and was last seen somewhere along the Bukit Gombak Trail.

To Slurp and Kenny, thanks for the recommendations (but the next time, I just need to remember to add a 'x10 caution' factor to the equation, after taking into account the most unfit physical specimen of all, yours truly)!


Anonymous Tanna said...

Underneath all that, I think you actually enjoyed it all.
Great photos!!
We all need to take off into the unknown more frequently.

7/04/2006 02:08:00 AM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

dear tanna... you're good at reading between the lines :-)
it was an enjoyable memorable hike with like-minded people.. and you're right, sometimes we need to do stuff outside of our comfort zone!

7/04/2006 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Piggy said...

I like that pic of the leaf, looks great!

7/04/2006 11:38:00 PM  
Anonymous slurp! said...

nice shots! aww ... I'm truely sorry. I remembered seeing a few "old kungu fu master loolaike" elderly that flying thru the trail with ease, so i thought it was suitable for all ages :P

it's great to sweat out once awhile especially while going thru these trails surrounded by nature, chirping birds & insects etc.

ok, there are even easier trails like at upper pierce reservoir with some paths walking along the water edge. mostly flat.

but if you looking for something to "stun" yourself, there are some "batu caves like" stairway (few caves as well but it's locked) at some trails of Bukit Timah Hill.

7/05/2006 01:33:00 AM  
Anonymous evan said...

oh boy, was i fooled too cath! the wild mushroom really DOES look so much like pita bread. i mean, look at the texture...they're so alike! the sides even hv abit of the "charred" effect heh!

7/05/2006 02:02:00 AM  
Blogger pfong said...

Cath, yes that is a rubber tree. I went back on Sunday to do the trail. Sorry that I couldn't join you on Sat.

7/05/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Audrey Cooks said...

That I say is a real comical post... I actually laugh so much just imagining the climb. Cath, I luv your writing just as much as ur photos.

7/05/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@piggy, thanks a lot!

@slurp, 'kungfu oldies' probably have better stamina than me :( thanks all the same for a good recommendation.. as for those 'batu-caves' wannabes, I think I better get myself trained on the Stairmaster at the gym before my virginal attempt on the same!

@evan.. don't they just!

@pfong, I'm sure your hike was a most pleasant one.. will wait to see your results, if any!

@audrey, so so glad that I lightened your day :-))

7/05/2006 10:57:00 PM  
Blogger DesDragon said...

If you have more interest Wines available in Singapore for purchase and tasting, you can check out

It's my own personal tasting list of wines...

7/07/2006 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger fooDcrazEE said...

lolz....better starts exercising daily..the food intake is killing ya softly....

7/08/2006 10:10:00 AM  
Anonymous keiko said...

Hi eatzycath - I didn't have any doubt that the first shot was pita bread :) Everything looks great though (another kudos to him who carried a 2kg tripod!)

Just one thing, until I read your post, I believed Slurp was a girl...

7/09/2006 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger eatzycath said...

@desdragron, thanks for the notification - will check it out soon!

@foodcrazee... ur right...I really must get up my butt which is plonked in front of this laptop!

@keiko, thanks.. hmm, I always thot Slurp was a guy, right from the start, I wonder why???

7/09/2006 09:58:00 PM  

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