Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gunung Janing Barat; The fan garden of Endau Rompin National Park

Gunung Janing Barat (1870 feet) is located in the Endau Rompin National Park in the southern state of Johor. I somehow (and barely) made it up this mountain during a trip with the Malaysian Nature Society’s Nature Guide group.

Conquering Gunung Janing Barat (GJB) was not in itself the objective of our visit to Endau Rompin. We were climbing GJB hoping to catch a glimpse of a few tropical jungle marvels. Among them are the ant plants, the fan palms and the pitcher plants.

I honestly struggled up GJB. It was steep and climbing most of the way. I was huffing and puffing all the way, no thanks to my lack of stamina. The trail was very visible but rather narrow. If you were to stop, you’d have to find a suitable place or otherwise you will be blocking other’s path. Some parts of the trail are rocky and hand line has been put up to help climbers.

It’s a long and rather steep way up

Midway up, there is a resting place with a view overlooking jungle canopy for as far as the eye can see.

Malaysian jungle for as far as the eye can see

The trail begins to plateau a bit towards to peak and I suddenly realize that the jungle around me has somewhat changed. I was in a different world!

There were Fan Palms (Livistona endauensis) everywhere! Some of the leaves are really huge. At some parts, the leaves are dense enough to create like an umbrella canopy, shielding sunlight from hitting the jungle floor, resulting in an amazing display of bright green areas above. This is one amazing Malaysian jungle I have not seen before. What’s more, the Livistona endauensis is endemic to Endau Rompin!

Fan palms or Livistona endauensis

We couldn’t find the ant plant but there were a number of pitcher plants that we saw. They came in all shapes and sizes.

One of ‘em pitcher plants we spotted

I almost stepped on these cute ones

The hike up GJB caught me by surprise but I was glad that I did it. The reward is really up there (if you are interested in appreciating Mother Nature). If you do decide to climb this mountain, a few word of advice.

  • Bring extra drinking water.
  • If possible, report yourself to the ranger's station before you start the hike.
  • Start early so that you are can move at your own pace.
  • Note that there is strictly no camping along the trail.
  • Hire a guide for safety reasons.
  • Bring some food or snack to keep you going.

  • Happy climbing!