(an adventurous story by Gregory)
Gunung Mulu National Park - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sarawak's largest National Park, Gunung Mulu is a sprawling 529 sq km's of unspoiled wilderness and home to rugged mountain ranges, deep gorges, massive caves, clear rivers and diverse wildlife. Our sights however were set firmly on The Pinnacles an incredible stone forest of razor sharp limestone towering 45m high located half way up Gunung Api.
The accommodation we settled on in Miri just happened to be run by an absolute angel called Joanne who within 30 mins of us telling her of our plan to hike The Pinnacles she has arranged flights for us to Gunung Mulu (the only way to reach the National Park is by flying in) sorted all our accommodation requirements at Mulu and booked us a guide so we had nothing better to do than treat her a few Tiger beers to show our appreciation.
The following morning we are escorted to the airport and 30 mins later land in Gunung Mulu all via a plane called, rather amusingly a Fokker 50. Our hike to The Pinnacles isn't due to start until the following morning so we spent our first day at Mulu exploring the some of the many caves on site. It's during dinner that two familiar figures come hobbling over, it's Rachel & Sarah who I had previously spent three days with on the Iban Longhouse visit. Their inability to walk was due to them just having finished the Pinnacles hike so they spent the next few hours enlightening us to what lay ahead which they described as "a bloody hard slog but well worth it".
A little smiley guy heads over to our table and introduces himself, he goes under the name of Undi and he will be our guide for tomorrow. He's a really nice guy and I immediately like him, naturally we bombard him with questions to satisfy our curiosity. He assures us we will be fine, it's a hard, unrelenting slog to the top but if get an early night and lay off the beers tonight we will be dandy. Following his advice and I am in bed by 8pm frantically trying to force myself to sleep.
I hardly sleep a wink, I am paranoid that if I shut both my eyes at the same time all the leeches in the whole of Gunung Mulu are going to make a B-Line for me so I'm feeling abit jaded when Undi comes to wake us at 6am. It's noodles and chocolate for breakfast and we leave Camp 5 by 7am.
Here's the weird thing, the hike up to view The Pinnacles is only 2.5km long which on the face of it is hardly far at all but non of us are prepared for the gradient. During the 2.5km distance we cover we climb 1.2km high. We are all taken by surprised by steepness, it is more like rock climbing than hiking as we scramble over rocks and tree roots, my body is wondering what the f**k is going on. Despite the lack of sleep I soon find my pace and spend the initial 2 hour ascent bantering with Undi, he's a top guy with an awesome sense of humour so time flies. We reach the last portion of the trail by 9.15am, Undi is surprised at our efficiency despite all three of us being completely soaked in sweat and thoroughly knackered. We are relieved to see that Undi has also had the decency to break a sweat also.
All is rewarded when we reach the top. The sun is shining as we turn the last corner but Undi stops dead in his tracks "Ohh no - what's happened here" he says "what, what's up..?" we reply, "they've gone" and then he absolutely pisses himself laughing - told you he was a joker! We are greeted by a magical view as the fruits of our labour are realised. We've been blessed with a clear view so I get some decent photo's just before the morning fogs rolls in and cruelly covers them from view for the people arriving not 10 mins after us.