Written by Sergeant Nicholas Ng of the 12th Kuala Lumpur Company
Pictures courtesy of Pastor Calvin and Mr Andrew Tan (Lieutenant)
HULU LANGAT, SELANGOR - On the 5-6th of June 2015, the 12th Kuala Lumpur Boys’ Brigade organised an expedition camp for the Members. The purpose of this camp was to ensure that the Boys will learn basic camping and hiking skills as well as train them to work together as one as they endure the hardships of conquering the expedition trail and pass their Expedition Badge – killing two birds with one stone.
The expedition camp was organized and planned by Corporal Yap Ming Yang and Sergeant Nicholas Ng. Total number of boys attended was 21, accompanied by Lieutenant Mr. Andrew Tan and our expedition trainer, Pastor Calvin. The venue for the expedition camp was at Gunung Nuang, Ulu Langat. It is widely renowned as the third highest peak in the Selangor State, standing at a staggering 1493 meters high. Infamously known for its tough trail up to the peak, we decided for it to be a good challenge for our boys. No pain, no gain.
On Friday morning, participants were expected to reach school by 9:30am. After that, the boys gathered in their respective teams, namely Team Alpha, Beta, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Foxtrot. Inspection of rucksacks was done shortly after and items that were redundant were confiscated, for example junk food, as space was required for them to load their meals for 2 days. Corporal Yap Ming Yang packed their meals, which were rice, instant noodles, bread, canned beans, curry and sardines, and gave it to each team. The teams were instructed to delegate the load equally amongst the team members. After packing, safety briefing was done by Sergeant Nicholas and shortly after that everyone got ready to set off to Gunung Nuang. We were fortunate as some parents volunteered willingly to send some teams to the Gunung Nuang entrance, while some of us had to go there with the Officers’ help.
Everyone reached the entrance of Gunung Nuang at around 12 noon and we all had light lunch while doing some last minute checking of equipment. Our trainer Pastor Calvin then gave us all a briefing on safety and rules while hiking up, telling us the do’s and don’ts and also what to expect from the hike. After briefing, every boy was given a walking stick to aid them in hiking up the challenging trail. There were three stages to this hike, Stage 1 being from the foot of the mountain to Base Camp Lolo, a strenuous 6 kilometer trail hike infamously known as the ‘never ending road’. As it was the first ever expedition for some of the boys, the hike took longer than expected and it took us a total of 3 hours to reach Base Camp Lolo. By then all of us were blue in the face but relieved that we finished Stage 1. Every team was given a task to find a spot to set up camp as both Corporal and Sergeant went around helping the boys.
Many hands made light work. After all the tents were successfully set up, we started to cook for our dinner. It was a simple meal, but we did not care much as we were as hungry as a bear. To us it was a privilege to eat rice and canned food up in the mountain. By nightfall, everyone had finished their dinner and we all gathered around the campfire to have a short sing-along session, followed by a sharing session and a debrief session by Pastor Calvin. After that, we all had marshmallows for supper and went for bed. There was sentry duty that night and each squad was tasked to do duty per hour. As camp commandants, both Corporal Yap Ming Yang and Sergeant Nicholas Ng had to stay up longer and woke up earlier to ensure everything runs smoothly without flaw.
The early bird catches the worm. By 6:00am the boys woke up and prepared breakfast as they got ready to hike up and continue to Stage 2. We left Base Camp Lolo at 7:30am and started hiking up. It was a challenging trail as the tracks were slippery and the incline was very steep. The walking stick on our hand proved its worth as it was deemed invaluable during the hike. Along the way leeches and mosquitoes bit some of us but nothing hindered us from achieving our goal. Unfortunately, when we reached the midpoint of Stage 2, known as Apek Turun or midway to Base Camp Pacat, Pastor Calvin said that not all of us were fit enough to reach the peak on time and we had to go down. As sad as it might sound, with a heavy heart Sergeant Nicholas instructed everyone to return to Base Camp Lolo and to pack up. It was the wiser decision, as we had to enforce the term ‘Esprit de Corps’ and do everything as a team. After all we all need to realize that failure to reach the peak didn’t mean that we had cold feet; it was all for one and one for all that the whole team stayed together throughout the hike. Once we returned to Base Camp Lolo, we had light lunch and packed up all our belongings before departure. Another 3 hours into the hike and finally we reached the entrance of Gunung Nuang which we started off just a day ago. Exhausted, we waited patiently while enjoying ice cream sold by vendors as our parents came to fetch us back home.
Even though we did not manage to conquer Gunung Nuang this time around, we were all determined that one day we will be able to finally reach the peak. We all agreed that a flower blooms more than once. For the boys it was an unforgettable experience: learning how to be independent by pitching up their own tents and cooking their own meals. Through this expedition camp, we have knitted new friendship bonds especially with the new recruits. Most importantly everyone enjoyed it and all returned in one piece. As each departed our own way home, I was sure everyone was still clinging on the hope that one day we shall return to Gunung Nuang to complete our conquest.