Or it could also be that the ennui of urban life and a desk job (though I don't suppose that many others would classify suicidal asylum seekers, hostile applicants, and run-ins with law enforcement bodies as a source of ennui) is making me restless for different challenges and riskier adventures.
And so on Halloween morning, I joined the MNS Pathfinders on a sunrise hike up the eastern part of the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge.
The Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (KGQR) is the longest quartz ridge in the world, spanning 14 km and soaring to 380m at its highest point. Surveys indicate that at least 265 plant species thrive in this unique ecosystem, and that 5 of these are endemic to the Quartz Ridge and are found only in a particular 'island habitat'.
Isolated vegetation at the top of the ridge differs from those in the surrounding areas. The grass-like Eulaili milsumii is a rare plant that grows only on the ridge and nowhere else in the world. Other endemic plants are small woody shrubs known taxonomically as Aleisanthia rupestris, small trees classified as llex praetermissa, the wiry herb Borreria pilulifera, and the ground herb Henckelia primulina.
A National Parks and Wildlife Department survey carried out in 1985 found the tracks of 5 rare animals, the serow, but it's anyone's guess how many are still around today.
In 1958, a retaining wall was built at the natural gap along the ridge to form the KGQR dam to hold water whilst the whole ridge acts as the foundation. Will the proposed Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR) cutting through KGQR, Selangor State Park, the forest reserves of Hulu Gombak, Ampang and Hulu Langat or any alignments affect the fragile ecosystem?
Come on a virtual hike with us to find out!
We follow the pipelines past the village at the foot of the hill.
The gradient increases as we enter the forested area. Tree roots form natural steps in the terrain.
My buddy, Doc, ascends a steep slope with the help of a rope. Many of the ropes on the trail are not well-maintained. 4 deaths have been recorded in the western side of the Ridge in recent years.
"Is it time for breakfast yet? I have Oreos in my backpack!"
The natural beauty of the Quartz Ridge and its surrounding environment is a photographer's delight.
... During the tectonic folding millions of years ago, massive buckling and faulting in the Earth's crust thrust hydrothermal quartz upwards, where they then crystalised, forming a quartz ridge.
Consisting almost entirely of quartz crystals, the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge deserves the status of a World Heritage Site due to its size and the diversity and uniqueness of flora in its vicinity.
There are major quartz veins around KL and Seremban due to the Kuala Lumpur - Mersing Fault Zone, but none are equal to the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge in size.
Exposed quartz crystals in the granite. I mentioned to Doc that these must be the capillaries of the quartz vein!
Semi-opaque quartz crystals a.k.a. silicone dioxide abound on the surface of the Ridge.
Loose quartz crystals in the palm of my hand.
Sorry Jacob, I ruined your cycling gloves!
The din and pollution of the City seemed lightyears away...
Watershed areas are protected zones. But the area is now threatened by urban development. Our forests provide vital ecosystem services, including as water catchment zones. Please help us protect and conserve the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge!
More adventure beckons over yonder! We are off to do vertical climbing with no safety equipment. Hurrah! We love living on the edge!
Up we go again. One careless step and it's curtains for you, buddy.
Photographing the photographer. Our guide, Leo, is the Coordinator of the Pathfinders and a reliable friend and compatriot.
We completed our hike within 3.5 hours and adjourned to breakfast after that. I had to attend a MYCAT (Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers) Volunteer Appreciation Lunch at noon, and bade goodbye to my friends. There is still so much data collection and lobbying work to be done in relation to the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, and so little time left to do it.
Please lend your voice to support conservation! Help us by signing the petition to protect the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge and Selangor State Park from the proposed Kuala Lumpur Outer Ring Road (KLORR)! Thank you for your support!