SAFETY FIRST:Hikers advised to take precautions before start of journey
CITY folk who are into hiking have quite a number of places to explore nature. Among the better known jungle trekking spots within an hour's drive from the city centre are the Kutu Hill in Kuala Kubu Baru, Saga Hill (Cheras), Broga Hill (Semenyih), and Templer's Park and Kanching Forest Reserve near Rawang.
Some of these spots are popular hiking trails, built with various facilities including trail markers and rest huts, others are not.
The latter usually have signboards cautioning trekkers to explore at their own risk. The trails are also not monitored by guides or rangers to whom hikers can report themselves before starting their journey.
For those intending to explore forests in Selangor, the State Forestry Department has advised hikers and trekkers to inform them first.
"At least if they get lost, we can look for them," said a spokesman.
Malaysian Nature Society nature guide Pasupathy Jayaraj said it is very important to read up about the terrain or surroundings of the hiking area.
"Safety precautions have to be taken so that what starts off as an adventure does not end up as a traumatic outing or tragedy," she said.
"It is important to inform someone about your hiking route and expected time of return. Stick to the planned route," Pasupathy said.
She added that it is better to inform the police if one plans to attempt difficult climbs or if the hike takes a few days.
Pasupathy said that unless it is a well-marked often used trail, it is advisable to engage an experienced guide.
"Get a local guide or orang asli if you are going into the deep jungle. Look for a professional guide and be prepared to pay as your safety and welfare is of top priority," she said.
She cautioned that even in places like Sungai Chiling, Templer's Park and Fraser's Hill, one can get lost or get caught in bad weather or high water.
"Some have even lost their way in Kota Damansara Community Forest Park," she said.
Pasupathy suggested a maximum of 15 persons to a guide. "If you plan to go without a guide, at least bring another person along."
For those planning to explore the jungle, she urged them to always enter the forest with positive thoughts, respect the jungle and stay safe.