The road to Poh Simpo was not so simple
We collected the last of the donated goods at Anis Putri 2 in TTDI and 4 cars made their way to Raub at 10 pm on Friday 7 November 2008. We broke our journey in Raub for the night. The next morning 6 cars in Raub were to rendezvous with another 3 cars in Gua Musang.
OUR TEAM OF VOLUNTEERS IN A CONVOY
After lunch in Gua Musang, volunteers in nine off road vehicles convoyed towards Pos Simpo. The group entered the trail around 1230pm, with a fine weather outlook.
We reached Kg Dandut at 530pm where some of the donated goods was unloaded. Kampong Dandut, was the first village along the journey of about 40km from the trail head. There we were told that the logging had stopped since September and it was difficult for the villagers to get in and out especially for Kampong Rekom the last village along the route.
By the time we left Kampung Dandut, the rain started to pour and the trail condition deteriorated. The vehicles were sliding as the trail had turned slippery.
The weather took a turn for the worst as we reached the logging camp at the last hill before Pos Simpo. One by one, the vehicle gathered momentum and made a run up the hill. Four cars made it half way but it was a struggle as they were sliding from side to side of the trail. At this point we wondered if the other cars could make it. Sure enough the next two cars got stuck along the way and the rain became heavier and more running water was flowing down the hill. Time was running out as it was getting dark.
The effort of getting in and out of the cars, towing and winching took a toll on all of us. We were tired, hungry and wet from the downpour. Three of the cars, at half way point decided to make their way to Pos Simpo. Two of the cars made it to the top of the hill and was already rejoicing their victory when suddenly a call came on the radio from the third car about 50 meters behind, saying he has an engine problem. Our heart sank - it was the last straw as Pos Simpo was only 3km away. It was decided collectively to stick together as a team and return back half way down the hill for the night. We slept in the car along the trail and waited for the bad weather to pass. The other two vehicle stuck along the hill was abandoned for the night and their drivers and passengers walked down to the logging camp below where they had dry shelter and hot food.
It was a long, tiring and wet night for the four vehicles at half way point. Most of us couldn’t sleep that night. The rain only stopped at 3a.m.
The next morning after breakfast the recovery of the two vehicles began as team members at the logging camp climbed the hill to recover their vehicle. Because of the rain the night before, descending the hill was too dangerous as the slippery trail will result in an uncontrollable descent. A decision was made to tie a log to the back of the vehicles to slow down the descent so that we could have some measure of control. This idea worked well only trouble was it took time to cut down one tree for each car.
In the meantime, rather than wait for recovery efforts, two vehicles at the half way point decided to make a run for Pos Simpo. They loaded all the donated items from the other vehicles and made a dash for Pos Simpo. The climb was still a struggle.
Pak Abo was waiting for them at the Junction to Pos Simpo. From here an OA guide took them to the next drop off point where the villagers of Kampung Rekom was waiting. When we reached the drop off point, initially no one was there, but moments later, as if like magic, the villagers appeared from the jungle to collect the goods.
We had a brief word with the Senior Tok Batin who thanked us for our efforts. At least half the goods were delivered to Kg Rekom our destination objective. On the way back, we contemplated whether we could carry the balance of items up the hill. When met up with Pak Abo at Pos Simpo again, we told him that if we are not there by afternoon, it would mean that we could not make it up the hill again. We will leave the donated goods at the logging camp below. Pak Abo looked worried as he has been waiting for us since yesterday.
Making our way back, the big concern was the descent down the slippery hill. Upon reaching the first descent, we had to tie a log to the back of our vehicles to minimise the slipping action. During cutting of trees, a team member accidentally injured himself with a deep cut on his leg. The situation now became more grave and serious. Priority was to quickly get him to hospital. We managed to temporarily stop the bleeding from the cut by using a handkerchief. In order to get him to a hospital quickly, we decided to take the risk of descending the hill in our vehicle without a log. A “mayday” call was made to team members at halfway point to prepare the first Aid kit. Upon arriving, first aid was administered to the wound.
Worried that the weather could turn for the worst, and make our exit more difficult, three vehicles left the kongsi camp first to send the injured team member to the hospital in Gua Musang.
Just before the last convoy group left the logging camp, two men from Kampung Rekom arrived to stay guard over the donated items and coordinate efforts to carry the goods back to Kg Rekom. The location of the Kongsi camp is about 10km from Kg Rekom which would probably take them about 8hrs by foot (one way).
We reached Gua Musang Hospital at about 5 pm and the doctors attended to the injured party. He was treated, stitched up and was well enough to travel back to KL.
Although regretting that we had not achieved our full mission objective, we were more thankful that we got our friend to the hospital on time. Perhaps we could have made it but it was too dangerous for the vehicle when descending the hill. We will never know.
Ultimately the lesson learnt is to be prepared for the worst, be well equipped and not underestimate Mother Nature.
Big thanks to all who donated goods to the many OA villages on the way there. A big thank you goes to the team members consisting of HAM and non Ham from ORS and Buaya Puchong volunters who made this trip possible.
Video of track condition
What is UNIARMNEWS ?
This is a support site for UNIARM blogspot. It has detailed information on articles and reports posted on the Uniarm blogspot.