More than we planned for

March 30th, 2009 by scott and becky

78 km, 5hr, 40 min, max temp 38

The great thing about taking a route only a week after someone else, is that you can learn about great places to stay along the way. With that in mind, we had planned to stay at the R&R Resthouse just outside of Jeli. Unfortunately, when we arrived, it was closed. A nice girl at one of the restaurants phoned them, only to be told that it is a public holiday so they will not be open.

So much for a short 43 km day prior to the hills. We had to make another plan, so pulled out the computer and looked up what others had done. Based on our research, we found others had found no reasonable hotels in Jeli proper; however, Michelle and Dave had found a spot to camp (with water) at about the 75 km mark from Tanah Merah, and we figured we could make that. It had the added bonus of ensuring we did not have to do the entire climb in one day – we could do part of it today and the remainder tomorrow. And with the money we saved free camping tonight, we could splurge on a room at the resort on Pulau Banding if we felt like it {grin}.

Scott spent a bit of time correlating the reports from Wayne and Kristina , Michelle and Dave , and Kat and Mike, and from that, we thought we had a pretty good idea of what to expect. From the R&R Resthouse:

  1. 7 km to Jeli
  2. 20 km to a town with roadside stalls for food
  3. 33 km to an abandoned rest area with a stream, and Michelle and Dave’s campsite
  4. 39 km to the “Restaurant 70”
  5. 59 km to another restaurant at the top

The reports we had led us to expect all 59 km would be up hill, starting from Jeli (or R&R Resthouse). Unfortunately, the first 20 km lulled us into a sense of complacency. Nice rolling hills, making good time, lots of time until sunset, things were going very well. We stopped at the south turnoff to Batu Melintang, at the 20 km mark, to grab dinner. Prior to the town, there were many roadside stalls selling food and drinks (at least one every 2 km). Fortunately, we stopped where we did, because there was absolutely nothing except steep climbs afterwards.

It was here that the hills began in earnest. We started climb and climb and climb. It was pretty slow going, and we started to worry about losing the daylight. Just at dusk, we pulled into the old rest area. We had climbed almost 400 meters since our dinner stop – our first real climbing in months!

The rest stop had a few roofed tables and platforms, a nice clean stream, and a whole lot of garbage. We setup camp just outside the main building – originally built as a Surau (place for prayers, but smaller than a mosque). At one time it had working toilets and running water, but those days were long gone. Unfortunately, although we searched for Dave and Michelle’s magic camping spot we couldn’t find it before full dark. Never mind – we had a nice cool stream for washing and a spot to set up the tent. What more could we need?

Elevation Profile
Download GPS Track in GPX format

One Response to “More than we planned for”

  1. Jenn Wudrich Says:

    Did it taste like birds’ nests? mmmmm

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