- Posted August 24, 2013 by
Trekking to Kanching
Our voices drowned in the crashing torrents of the Hutan Lipur Kanching Waterfalls, nestled in the heart of the 478-hectare Kanching Forest Reserve, some 20 kms. from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. We could only hear the thundering sound of the waterfalls as we climbed the uphill trail with my Malaysia-based Filipino guide and companion. We walked through some beautiful stands of pine, wild bamboo cane and hardwood trees, soaring like cathedral vaults. The air was cool and still. I looked up and saw eagles soaring above the forest canopy. Long-tail Macaques darted from tree to tree. I turned my camera towards a baby monkey clinging to its mother amidst a curious troop of Macaques, perched on a rock. Some of them were grooming each other while others waited, looking at us expectantly.
Once, I paused under a tree, more than 25 meters high, with the label: Kapur. Scientific name: Dryobalanops Aromatica. How majestic, these trees that lifted themselves toward the sky! Most of the large trees here are dipterocarps, a family of tropical hardwoods, among the tallest of rainforest trees, rising to 90 meters and found primarily in Southeast Asia. The rare, endemic and endangered merawan kanching tree grows naturally only here in the Kanching Forest Reserve and is not found anywhere else.
The trail was fairly steep and after hiking for more than half an hour, we halted at the 5th level waterfall or “lata tembusu” at a height of 173 meters. The sight of the silver-strand Hutan Lipur Sungai Kanching, cascading down into seven stunning falls, is a vision to behold. Here and there, it tumbled along huge, mossy, granite boulders onto several swirling, bubbling pools of water.
I crossed a shallow stream and carefully navigated slippery rocks until I reached the basin of the falls, where locals were having a cold shower in waist-deep water. It’s so blissful here, that for the time at least, everything seems right with the world.
There are bridges that span the streams and visitors are able to stroll across the cascades without getting wet. Throughout the park, there are food outlets, chalets, recreational facilities (in the lower-level falls), hiking trails and campgrounds.
One of Malaysia’s oldest recreation areas, the Kanching Recreational Park was developed into a tourist attraction in 1978 by the Selangor Forestry Department. Today, it is administered by the Selangor Tourism. It’s accessible from the city center, located just off the KL- Ipoh trunk road, between Selayang and Rawang in Selangor.
The Kanching Recreational Forest serves a good first introduction to the rich biodiversity of Malaysia. It isn’t only a place of recreation with activities to strengthen the body but also a sanctuary to stretch the mind and soul. We are nourished in mind as well as body by nature and our love for it.
Trekking to the Kanching Waterfalls helped me make sense of our environment and reflect on the world’s diminishing rainforests. This decline should sound the alarm, warning us that we are losing some of the world’s most beautiful and wonderful species, which can set off a chain reaction that affects us all.
*Photos by this writer and R.Paglinawan