“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves”
– EDMUND HILLARY
Mount Ophir commonly known to all as Gunung Ledang. A mountain of sheer myth and mystery. Malaysians are often entertained by the tale of the fabled celestial princess that inhabits Gunung Ledang, whose presence is said to still permeate the jungle slopes. The tale of how she turned down the Sultan of Malacca for her hand in marriage with seven impossible requests. This highest mountain in Johor stands at 1,276m and is situated between the border of Muar and Malacca. Alongside Paun Cher Chin, our avid hiker-trail runner friend, Running Malaysia will reveal the hidden mystery and beauty of Gunung Ledang to you.
We met up with our hiking buddies and fueled our stomachs with breakfast. The anticipation to hike Gunung Ledang could not be contained within us. We gathered at the Gunung Ledang Lagenda Park Office with our informative guide. He briefed us on the famous history and the mysterious tales of Gunung Ledang before showing us the route map of our tracks. A total of 7 checkpoints were before us to reach the peak of this mountain. Following a quick warm up, we were all set to go.
Gunung Ledang, here we come!. Accompanied by the morning sun shining brightly upon us, everyone’s spirits were in full bloom. Jokes and smiles were exchanged all around. All the way from checkpoint 1 to checkpoint 2 were man made stairs. A salute to all the park’s staffs and volunteers for not one speck of litter could be seen. Our eyes were greeted with fresh greeneries sprawling all around. It took about one hour and a half to reach checkpoint 2. From this point onwards, the man-made stairs were beginning to cease slowly. Our legs were challenged by jungle tracks.
Crossed the stream and we were greeted by KFC. No this is not Colonel Sander’s 11 secret herbs and spices for his delicious fried chicken located in Gunung Ledang. Its friendly acronym is more deadly once revealed. Killer for Climber(KFC) were huge rocks in which iron ladders and ropes were fixed for us to climb over. We were amazed when we learned that the locals had brought the iron ladders all the way to the peak. Frankly no surprise to that nickname. Pushing one’s body up a rock with only the help of a rope was physically taxing.
It was around noon when ominous dark clouds loomed over the tree tops. It did not kill our determination. The moment we held on to the ropes, the rain lashed down upon us. The rocks became more slippery as we took each step. The guide was anxious that this weather could be too dangerous for our hike. We might have to end our hike and return to the main office if the weather worsened.