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The Cameron Highlands Part I

Posted by TravellingStrom on March 23, 2013

I had set the alarm for 6am and that was a racket that woke me. It has been a long time since I used an alarm clock, but it gave me time for some toast and tea before Amzah rocked up on the KLR. πŸ™‚ I had talked with him about Geocaching yesterday and he seemed eager to give it a go. He had read some of my blog and knew I searched for something, well today he will find out first hand what it is all about πŸ™‚ He was real chuffed that there are so many in his area.

We headed off just on 0730 with the sun above the horizon and just starting to warm up and break down the mist and fog for the first part of the ride.

If you look at this map, there is a big town at the top, we started out down the road E19 where the little house is. We rode north east and skirted Ipoh until we started to climb into the highlands We took a right turn at the top and followed the road all the way to the south and then turned west and north for a big loop of about 200km. Everything to the right hand side of that major road, the E1 is mountains and nice and cool, everything to the left is flatlands and stinking steamy hot πŸ™‚

Once we started to climb the mountain I have to say I was a tad nervous. The road was damp and it was hard to see whether it was from the mist and fog or whether there was oil there and I am not fond of that stuff any more, not outside of where it should be anyway. But my nervousness slowly left me as I became confident once again in my tyres and when we rode in the sunshine it was a lot better. The first stop was for a Geocache called Journey To Heaven This is the first in a big series of caches up through the highlands and as it is a Premium cache, it is only available to Premium members, that is those who have paid for a yearly subscription, like myself. But, here is what the cache description says
This is a typical guard rail micro located along the Simpang Pulai – Kpg Raja Road. The road links the North and Ipoh to Cameron Highlands. There is another access road to Cameron Highlands – the Tapah – Tanah Rata Road. The road links the South and Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands. However, this road is twisted and winding and it is not at all my favorite. If I were from the South or Kuala Lumpur I would rather take the extra mile to access Cameron Highlands by the Pos Slim – Kpg Raja Road. This access road is less winding and you would be rewarded with some spectacular view of mountains and montane forests. It is through this road the Journey to Heaven begins.

As you can see it was a good start for Amzah as he actually found it before me, so it is his first ever Geocache, well done m8 πŸ™‚ We were not so lucky on the next one as it was missing although we searched around a fair bit and it was only 500m from the last one. Never mind, we continued on riding for a few more kms and stopped at a great viewpoint πŸ™‚

Of course the reaon we stopped was to look at the sights and find a cache called Celastra once again a premium cache:
Celastra means β€˜Of the universe and stars’. At this point you can see scenic view of montane forests and mountain ranges in the distance. The cache is dedicated to our youngest daughter, Siearra Celastra Sarina who is currently residing in Australia following her sister Siearra Marina.

This was another good find although we had some issues. It was placed in the rocks of a gabion and it was wet. WHen I tried to replace it it fell down inside where I could not reach. So, we dismantled part of the gabion until I could extract the container, whew that was lucky!

We skipped a few of the caches as they were interfering in the ride πŸ™‚ So we had a blast riding over the pass and then turning right along the ridge towards the Cameron Highlands proper πŸ™‚ There is a lot of tea plantations up here as well as many many varieties of fruit and vegies, hence all the green houses. We stopped at a tea house which is attached to a tea farm(how curious is that eh!). Here we had some light refreshment in the shape of a strawberry smoothie for me with carrot cake πŸ™‚

After our little snack we continued on. Up here there are many old farm jeeps, most of them need repairs and are very slow and belch out black diesel smoke 😦 The roads through the towns are very narrow and when someone stops, which they do continually to buy stuff from all the stalls lining the road, they usually block a lane, meaning everyone else has to squeeze around. It is not much fun this bit, but we soon get back out of town and onto the bendy bits πŸ™‚

I noticed quite a few big buildings, most likely hotels that have a quite European look to them, with their steep pitched roofs, they would not look out of place in the Alps πŸ™‚ In fact some of the jeeps I mentioned earlier had a large CH sticker on the side which I guess could mean Switzerland, but I am not sure.

We stopped at a restaurant owned by one of Amzah’s friends, but he was not there. It was a bit early for lunch as we had just had smoko. I asked what was the plan, turn around and go back or take the skinny road down the back side of the mountains. Amzah had mentioned to me the road was narrow, about 8ft wide or so and although not too busy it can be hard to pass the local traffic. I was game to have a go, and he agreed so we then had an early lunch as we were not sure what was available down the other side, it has been years since he has tried it.

When we left we stopped just up the road as there was a cache at this location, and maybe there was but we could not get to it as there were a group of people having lunch right on it 😦

The people were sitting right on top of the cache, it was under the seat LOL, oh well, maybe another day πŸ™‚ While we had stopped for lunch we had decided to only do a few more caches, even though they are quick, it takes time to stop, take off helmet, gloves jacket etc etc, find(or not find) cache, put on jacket, gloves helmet etc and it is a tad annoying to continually do this. Ideally, as there are 23 caches up here, I would stay here a month, ride the road every day and find one cache a day πŸ™‚ But, that won’t happen πŸ™‚ The next stop was a nice one, brilliant views over the crop land below. The actual cache was sort of found, in that we could feel it but the advertising sign has had a new advert and it trapped the cache behind it πŸ™‚
Green Gold Green Gold is located near Cameronian Bharat Plantation Tea House, Tanah Rata. The Tea House is a popular resting point for visitors to Cameron Highlands. It offers variations of tea flavors to customers. Here you can see the view of a tea plantation at its best!

We logged it as a find anyway, because we could feel it. We were not so lucky on the next one we stopped at as it was missing. When we read the previous logs, it had been noted as missing for a while but the cache owner has not bothered to do a maintenance run for a while, nor disable it, very disappointing. But,it was still a nice ride there πŸ™‚ We continued on until a place called Tudor House and this is a very English looking Hotel. The cache is on private property, not sure of that is legal or not, but we did find the little sucker πŸ™‚
Tudor Cache Tudor Cache is located at The Lakehouse, which is set in an area dubbed β€œThe Valley of Eternal Spring”. It is a Tudor-style country house, backed by state reserve forests, sits atop a hill overlooking the Sultan Abu Bakar Lake.

The last one of this little batch was called The Big Fat Strawberry The Big Fat Strawberry is my 26th cache in the Cameron Highlands. 26 is my number. This will be my last contribution to geocachers to do geocaching in the Highlands. It is also my last cache in Malaysia.

The Strawberry was big and fat, but the cache was missing. From here on there was only one more cache and that was about 20km away downhill near a waterfall, so after a fruitless(lol) search near here, we chuffed off down the 8ft wide road!

Did you notice anything? The road is no longer 8ft wide but has been modified greatly and even Amzah was surprised πŸ™‚ The problem was, now that the road was better, more people were using it! When we came to the waterfall the congestion was so great we came to a standstill. Right next to the cache location, but there was a lady in her car parked right next to it, so this one would have to wait for another day as well.

We polished off the last of the twisting winding mountain roads around half past two and were now down on the flat amongst the steamy monsoonal heat 😦 After stopping at a servo for a cold drink we took the rural roads back to the flat with just the one more cache to visit today. This one was right next to Amzahs farm and is called the Tin Dredging – What That Is Left Of It
The tin dredge Tanjung Tualang (T.T.) No 5 built in 1938 by W.F. Payne & Sons for Pernas Chartered Management Sdn Bhd. is the last great reminder of the time when Kinta Valley was the world’s richest tin producing area.

Once belonging to Southern Malayan Tin Dredging (M) Sdn Bhd, the dredge had scoured tin ore in the Kinta Valley for 44 years. At that time, the dredge would run on electricity for 24 hours in two shifts with 20 workers per shift.

During tin-mining heyday, there were some 40 dredges operating in Chemor, Ipoh, Gopeng, Batu Gajah, Papan, Tronoh, and Malim Nawar. Tin mining operations stopped in 1983 due to the collapse of the tin mining industry. Since then, T.T. No 5 was laid in a man-made pond at Desa Perlombongan, about 10km from Batu Gajah, Perak.

In 1997, Pernas Chartered Management Sdn Bhd donated the three-storey high dredge to the state, which spent over half a million ringgit to develop it into an attraction. A company, Osborne & Chappel, add another RM100,000 to facelift the dredge.

We had no luck at this place. The cache was in a tree hollow behind the bikes, supposedly, but we searched in vain, bummer. Oh well, we had done OK for the day, we found a few caches, rode some great roads and saw some real nice scenery, so all in all a beautiful day πŸ™‚ We went back to the flat for a shower and some air conditioned comfort, and I showed Amzah how to log caches and otherwise pass on the good oil, before he headed back to Lumut, the town on the coast where he lives.

Myself, well I cooked a good noodle dinner and had some beer again πŸ˜‰ But, not many as I wanted to go and find some more caches tomorrow morning, but down on the flat lands this time. That meant being very hot, so I wanted to be back around lunch time and get relaxed in the aircon before the afternoon thunderstorm arrived. As it was Amzah had to stay here longer today because of a big thunder bumper just after we got in.
Thanks for a great day m8, appreciate it πŸ™‚

Cheers from Batu Gajah

2 Responses to “The Cameron Highlands Part I”

  1. TS, CH is Switzerland. Confederation Helvetia in English. Ted Rees

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