This is the second part of the Cameron Highlands story: climbing Mount Brinchang and exploring the Mossy Forest. Well, it was not only me exploring the forest, but also the forest exploring me. We will get to this later, camping in the jungle always turns out to be some sort of adventure. To make a long story short, big mountain, heavy backpack, not much water, scary animals and the hell of a track! Hooked? Than keep on reading.
It was my second day in the Cameron Highlands and I just finished my visit to the BOH tea plantation. The day was still young and Gunung Batu Brinchang, that's how the locals call the mountain, seemed closer than it turned out to be. There are two ways to get to the top and I decided to take the road up and the dirt track No.1 down. Walking a steep street with 24 kg on your back for several hours can get pretty exhausting. When a farmer drove by I took the chance and hitched a little ride.
The so called Mossy Forest extends over the whole mountain top and the nearby valleys and peaks. It is pretty steep and dense so you can't just jump in and walk around, but shortly before you reach the top of Mount Brinchang is the entrance to a little board walk.
The board walk is made from wooden planks and leads you over and through the forest. It's a constant up and down with many stairs. At some point the tracks split and I had no idea which way to take. I soon realized that both ways will join again after just a few meters so it doesn't really matter which way you take. The end is a dead end unless you want to continue on a oneway dirt track to the nearby peak.
Like you might have guessed the Mossy Forest has its name from all the moss that covers big parts of almost every tree. In this height the constant clouds offer enough moisture for the moss to grow everywhere. Everything is shrouded in deep green and make you feel like walking in a magical world of fairy tales.
Also the walk is in great shape, considering the pretty wet surrounding, some trees and branches managed to get into my way. I had to duck and get on my knees a few times, but in the end this brings you even closer to this unique piece of nature.
The board walk is a oneway track so there is no other option than walking back to the street. Now that you have made it that far, you don't want to miss out on the real top of the mountain. It's only a few minutes away, but like I said before, 24 kg on your back can really make a difference. Actually my main interest was to find a sheltered place to spend the night. The view from the platform was blocked by clouds anyway and the many satellite dishes and power stations were making great noise. I decided to head down again to look for another place.
I love animals and I am always curios to find wildlife I have never seen before. I guess what I found here is some sort of giant jungle woodlouse. Like you can see, it has been polishing it's carapace before my appearance, so maybe it has been awaiting me? At least turned into a ball of chitin there is nothing that can bite or sting me. You never know.
I realized there was not much time before it was getting dark and it looked like I would have to expect some serious rain this night. Let's face it, this is the Mossy forest, so chances to get wet are more than good. I speeded up and went back to the entrance to the board walk. I remembered the little refuge I had seen before and thought it would make up for a good place to spend the night.
The roof over the tent added some luxury to the campsite but to my surprise one of the water bottles had been leaking and I was running out of water. I was helped out by a Malayan moped gang that showed up out of the dark and joined my campfire. We could hardly communicate, but when they left they handed me a water bottle. With that problem fixed I went to bed, just to awake from a horde of civet cats invading my backpack. They must have smelled my food and were already biting into my bag when I made it out of the tent. At that point my headlight broke and I had to use my phone to make some light and scare them off. Problems never come alone but at that point I was more amused and happy to finally meet some real wildlife.
The civet cats made it back several times that night and I didn't get much sleep. The next morning I made some tea with my last water supplies and started the descent via route No.1. I knew I had to face a dirt track, but I did not expect it to be that steep and hard to handle. I had to climb down for 3 hours through heavy mud. Holding on to roots and branches I managed to balance with my heavy backpack. At the end it started to rain again but I made it back to civilization. What a great trip, what a great adventure!