The Trek and Beyond by Sheldon School

We have finally finished our jungle trek after 5 long hard days of walking, and with very few mishaps along the way!  The start of our trek began at a new camp in Bongkud and there we organised our kit as well as the food we had to carry.  The food included mash potato mixture and lots of cereal, noodles and biscuits!  We set off around 3 and soon got to our first camp which was a basic long house, mosquito nets and beds were quickly assembled and a nice meal of beans and mash was consumed.

The second day saw us actually enter the jungle and it was also the hardest day of the trek.  We started early in the morning and ended up trekking for around 9 hours!  The trek started off along paths and then saw us wade through rivers before entering the jungle.  Walking in the jungle was an amazing experience but also very hard work, kit was shared out among the team as individuals began to suffer, notable contributions from "they call me 2 hammock Sam" as well as the girls who all took turns to carry kit, which was massively appreciated.  The day ended as we finally arrived at our camp for the night, an open field with climbing frames dotted around and a nice river at the bottom.  Hammocks were slowly assembled and then we descended on to the river for a wash, which was much needed!  Another meal of mash and beans followed before everyone headed to their hammocks, thoroughly shattered after a hard days walking.

Day 3 saw a new approach to the trek from our team, we split into a fast and a slow group and this saw a much improved morale among both teams who could go at their own pace rather than having to go too quick or too slow.  Despite leaving an hour and a half later than the slow group, the fast group showed fantastic strength to be first up the 2000 meter hill which was the basis of the days walk.  The descent down the other side of the hill saw things start to go slightly off plan however,  Mrs Langley was first up, taking a tumble and breaking a tooth.  I (Chris) decided to follow this up with a fall of my own, which left me unable to put any weight on my left leg, not my best idea!  Whilst the rest of the group stormed ahead to the camp, by now well into their rhythm and walking well as a team, I was stretchered back to camp by the team of guides.  At the camp, everyone seemed to be in much improved spirits despite two very hard days of trekking and we moved on to a dinner of instant noodles, which made a nice change! Hammocks were once again assembled, most people took a dip in the small stream below the camp and an evacuation plan was made for Mrs Langley and myself for the morning.

Day 4 of the trek began early for Mrs Langley and I as we set off out of the jungle, after an hour or so of walking we reached our pick up point and were picked up and taken back to Bongkud for a couple of days of rest and to sort out our injuries.  The rest of the group had a shorter walk than in the previous two days, around 2-3 hours, but still rather tough with many hills and slippery tracks encountered along the way. The trek concluded at the next of our sites, which were seemingly becoming ever more basic in terms of size and conditions. The hammocks were set up on a very steep hill, which made for a very interesting night's sleep for many!

Day 5 was the final day, with the promised land of the Sabah Tea Long House being our destination. The first group were woken at 4:00 for a 6:00 leave from camp, whilst the second group had the luxury of a lie in until 6:00 for a 7:30 departure. Having been told that the walk would take a minimum of 5-6 hours, and potentially up to 8, we were all very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at Sabah Tea within 4 hours. We emerged from the dense jungle around an hour into the walk and then followed the track to the tea plantation, taking in the stunning views of the jungle through which we had just walked, as well as the impressive Mount Kinabalu. At Sabah Tea, we were treated to a wonderful BBQ, which was one of the highlights of a very enjoyable evening - everyone was very relaxed and particularly enjoying proper toilets and showers!

Today we are having an R&R day, having just visited the Death March Memorial, and currently in the town of Ranau for a little shopping. This afternoon we are heading for the Springs at Poring for a relaxing swim and ice cream!

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