The route: 90 exceptionally hilly km, 7708km http://connect.garmin.com/activity/199898901
We knew this was gonna be a toughie, so after a fab breakfast of curried noodles and crispy pork we stocked up on snacks and water and bade farewell to supremely pleasant Ipoh. The pan flat first 20km soon gave way to a wide (and quite trafficked) mountain road that climbed steadily for 40km. Ouch. Despite the cars full of weekending Malaysians whizzing past (who spurred us on by hanging out of their car windows yelling ‘very good!’) the road was utterly bereft of gas stations and shops, so we were had to purify stream water – free and cooled to perfection!
After five hours, the first signs that the Cameron Highlands are a tourist destination emerged, in the form of a ‘self-plucking’ strawberry farm. It would seem however that most of the enterprise’s revenue is derived from the sale of a bewildering array of strawberry themed souvenirs – from tiny key rings to giant stuffed fruits, it was all there. We ignored the overpriced soft fruit and got stuck into instant noodles and ice cream instead.
Rejuvenated, we completed the next 20km with relative ease, but we were rather disappointed as we crested the summit and headed into the famed Cameron Highlands. Although there are pretty tea plantations and English-ish rolling hills, construction seems completely unrestricted, and the traffic (on a Saturday, admittedly) was atrocious. The price of development, eh?
Things improved very slightly as we rolled into Tanah Rata (only slightly – KFC and Starbucks lie in wait for exhausted hikers), and our legs knew it had indeed been a toughie – 2000m of climbing over 80km.After rewarding ourselves with our first glass of wine in Malaysia, we slept like very tired logs.