Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Family Camping Trip, Sg Congkak. Dec 1-2, 2007

Dec. 1, 2007 (Saturday)

It didn’t take long for me to plan this and it was executed immediately as I was very anxious for it to be a reality. I just made the announcement one day and it became our official target. I somehow intuitively chose Sg Congkak because it was near and something that we are a bit familiar with. But that didn’t mean that we set for no issue for making it a reality.

The first order of the day was to announce it to the boys how many would want to go. My early calculation was between 8-9 boys and that would make it, including us, around 14 people. I announced it in our community mailing list hoping that more people would participate. Luck has it that Acong was also organizing the same thing within our neighborhood for the boys age 15 and below. Too late for me to cancel already. As it turned out nobody replied and the final count was 12 of us all together. Initially I left it to the boys to organize the whole things and I gave them few obvious instructions hoping that they will pick the rest up. However at the very last minute I took over and confirmed the booking of the campsites together with the tents. It was a cheap deal as the campsite cost RM10 for each and the tents RM15 each. I booked four of them to the total of RM100.

The week before Sam told me that Zul had just purchased a new van and he is putting it up for rental. As always if you are sincere help will come in a mysterious way. Immediately we had our transport problem solved as Zul agreed to ferry us there and pick us up on Sunday. I told Zul to pick us up at 0900 but as usual the boys were late.




Packed and Ready to Roll


By 0855 we had the Ranger loaded and good to go and Zul arrived soon after. The boys still did not show any sign of showing up thus I gave instruction to Along and Baqir to chase and gather them around. Once everybody was accounted for, the Ranger filled up and I withdrew some extra cash at The Petronas station we drove towards Sg Congkak via Semenyih Dam, Sg Lui and Batu 18. It was a good choice as I found out the route was the easiest, shortest and the most pleasant route for us from Bandar Seri Putra. A few necessities that I forgot to buy the night before warranted me to stop at every hardware stores along the route. Still I could not find any and I am very sure I can get it at Batu 18 town, if I can call it a town. Because of Zul following behind and the condition of the Ranger I drove moderately. Furthermore I wanted my family to enjoy the greens, water and the rich man’s weekend retreats at Sg Lui.

At The Front Gate


This is What You Get As You Walk In


About ten minutes to 1100 we arrived at the front gate of the Hutan Lipur Sg Congkak. I went to the reception hut manned by a lady and registered ourselves in. She told me that we could drive to the other parking area on the other side that was nearer to our camping site. I paid the lady RM112 for the 4 site and tents, and entrance fees to the 12 of us. At 1100 we arrived safely at the second parking lot of and waited there for the park workers to bring our tents and show us the place. After waiting for a while and with no sign of anybody to usher us I started to explore the area and I found out more or less the direction to our campsite. I instructed everyone to unload everything and walked down. As we were walking along the path the park worker that supposed to meet us approached us and we walked together to our site, Zone 2T, T for Tambahan.


Arrived

Zone 2T by the name was of course an extension to Zone 2 but having smaller tent buildup area. What I like about it was that the camp base was mostly built to a foot height. This would protect us from over flowing water and crawlies at night. I chose the four slightly in the middle next to the step going down the river, easy for bathing and cooking. Immediately the first order of the day was to erect our tent and it was already 1138. Everyone did it in no time as the tents were simple enough to manage. The second order of our camping day was to start the fire to cook our food as it was already 1209, that by no means the issue, our noisy stomachs were. The fire making was a challenging one for the boys as the rain, I guess the night before, soaked most of the ‘kayu api’ around us. I just managed to gather few dry twigs to coax the fire out of the big ones. The fire cube and the fire starter helped a bit. Still it took us a while.


Setting Camp

Our Wash and Bathroom


Preparing The Cooking Pit

My Lunch

While making fire and preparing the fish I knew we eventually would need a drying place for our plates and the things we used to cook. So I surveyed around for anything I could use to build it. There was bamboo at the back of our campsite but not wanting to cut down any I just looked around for any that already been cut on the ground. I found enough to built one but I purposely instructed the two ex-scouts to build it. Initially they thought they knew what to do but after struggling for a while I just had to show them what I meant. In the end seeing them struggling with it I finished it myself.


Nice and Cool

The Platform I Was Talking About

A Very Clear Water

Having Lunch

We actually were successful to have a decent fire to put out pot on around 1215. We cooked the rice first and I continued preparing the fish to grill. Once the fire was ready for the fish I just threw every one of them on top of the mesh wire to grill. I knew the fish would be perfectly cook effortlessly and left them to do something else. My dear wife on the other hand decided we needed gravy and started on the sardine. Some of us could not wait for the food to get cooked and started to scrounge for bread and peanut butter and as quick as the water flowing next to us a loaf of bread disappeared. We eventually started on real food at 1431.


Mar Having Fun

Long before we started on our food we received a call from Intan that they were coming. We asked them to buy us few things that we need for the night. They arrived at1509. Sam and I walked out to the front gate to get them. By that time the boys were already upstream exploring for a good place to swim. When I was back at the campsite I decided to follow suit. With my Nikon at hand I shoot at will as I walked. The path was properly tarmac and fairly clean. Along the way I discovered a row of chalet on the other of the tarmac by the stream. Most of them were built without taking more unnecessary jungle. Which means if we were to sleep there Sam would not like it? In fact the other camping zones were further upstream. I could not imagine had I booked one of these zones. Thus, zone 2T, even Zone 2, was perfect for us. I did not get to go all the way as I met the boys on their way down just after the mid point. On the way down I asked the boys to collect enough dry woods to cook our dinner. But the boys decided they need a campfire that night so we dragged a load down to the astonishment of the other picnickers there.
We started on our barbeque dinner at 1610. It might be still early but I decided we need some light to do it properly. Also since we do not have a proper light for the night I drove out to pekan batu 18 to look for hurricane lamps. My instinct was right as I knew places like that would have some on sale. I found them at one of the apek’s sundry shop and I bought two of them.

When I got back to the camp I thought almost everyone were ready for the night. How wrong I was as the boys including Mar were still in the water. Even Intan and Tariq that I expected to be going home already were still happy in there. I knew given a choice they would want to join us for the night but with baby Khatijah there I also would advise them to go home LOL. Lucky I did not have to do that. There always next time guys.


BBQ

Ready for Bedtime



Campfire


Having Dinner


Of course the night came and dinner was actually ready but I opted to say my Maghrib and Isya’ first before I eat. At 1918 the boys started their camp fire, a small one. Nevertheless a campfire for us to enjoy and sit around. After dinner we just sat to talk, play guitar and do our things. To my surprise Mar was lively and enjoying herself which was very good. Sam and the girls were occupaying one of the tent and I was to sleep with Baqir and Jemer in another but somehow Jemer opted to share another tent. Before we retired to sleep we tried to explore the area at night by walking towards the gate to see if there were any warong opened there. But we only went halfway as I could not see any from a far. In the end Sam retired early as I guess she was tired and I followed suit not long after that as I need the sleep. The boys were still talking and doing their things then and I found out in the morning really late into the night.

Dec 2, 2007




Good Morning!!!!

Cooking Breakfast


Having Breakfast


Morning came as usual for me with the help of my handphone alarm. I woke Sam and the girls up as I wanted to go to the restroom across the river. After that to Sam’s surprise I went down to take my bath in the cold morning stream. I loved it just like when I was small bathing either in the river or well very early in the morning. They should have tried it to find out. Surprisingly Baqir also woke up early and with Kak Cik and Yeye started on our breakfast that morning. Of course they almost cooked everything that they could find. After I had my breakfast I decided to walk down to the entrance with my camera to find interesting things to photograph. It was around 0830 when I walked down and to my surprised there were streams of Sunday picnickers already coming through. In fact a lot of them were already in the water. I snapped whatever objects that interest me with my Nikon and went as far as the warong. At one of them I bought several packs or nasi lemak and a plastic bag of karipap. Walking back to camp was really a pleasure a I could witness families enjoying their picnic. Kids jumping in and out of the water, fathers trying to coax their young children to swim, mothers testing whether the water was warm enough to go in, and in fact grandpa and grandma were enjoying their moment with their grand children there. They were lovely sights. As I approach the camp I saw big kids with one fat boy already playing in the water LOL. I just continued with my photography until I myself could not resist the temptation. In fact that was what we did the whole day LOL. We only stop for awhile when we were hungry.
Morning Light
Sunlight

Good times flew passed us as we enjoyed ourselves and we discovered too soon enough we had to go home. We were home safely around 1745.

In conclusion all of us enjoyed the camping and agreed that we should do it again soon. What I like about this camping was to let my family experience the real outdoor. We have been traveling and staying at hotels and chalets all this while and the camping was our first as family. Everything was new to them from getting their tent ready to cooking their own food using limited resources. I sincerely hope they learned more than the obvious as there were a lot to learn from this trip.

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