TRAINING DAY #7: Onwards & Upwards!

April 18, 2012

TCRP2012 Training Sesh #7!
7th April 2012, 830am, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Arriving at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve Visitor’s Centre bright-eyed and bushy tailed
from the holidays, a group of catalysts assembled to tackle Bukit Timah hill. This time,
there was the added challenge of weighted backpacks. For many, it was a test day for
new equipment and clunky new hiking boots that needed wearing in.

One eager adventurer loaded up her backpack with a sack of rice, while others carried
magazines or bottles of water. Our first taste of what our hike would feel like!

The group started out on a downhill trek around the bottom of the hill, before heading
upslope. A fallen tree proved no match for the group – we got a nice little taste of the
clambering we'd have to do on the mountain. As it turns out, the worst that can happen
is getting a bit of a dusty bum and a mildly bruised ego.

Ambling along, a little grass snake caught our eye and sent a couple of the group
scurrying. A quick detour to climb some rocky steps, ended with some humble pie when
we came across a bunch of school kids who put us to shame with their exuberance.

Well, not really. We doubled back to the aptly named “Help me!” steps, for a bit of an
extra ‘oomph’ in our training. On reaching the top we puffed out a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday for Glenda, and passed around bananas and apples as a substitute
for cake. Jokes about apple galette and banana pie abounded – if there had been a
café at the top of the hill, our grumbling tummies would probably have been motivation
enough to run the rest of the way. As we headed down the hill, the stairs to the summit
beckoned. Ting and Alex rallied the troops for one last stair sprint to the top.

The almost literal last gasp effort to get up the short (relatively speaking) flight of steps to the summit was heartening not only because everyone was collectively out of breath,
but also because we did it altogether and helped each other along. Wobbly legs post
training were the norm, but so was a sense of fulfilment for having gotten through the
two hours of climbing with our new equipment and carrying extra weight. It’ll be a great
experience climbing Mt Apo with such a solid bunch of people.

Yienli Yap, Catalyst for Change, (TCRP 2012)