Recommendations = Caution x10
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...
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).
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.
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)!