Sungai Terengganu Mati Merdeka Trip Day 2

Sg Terengganu Mati Trip Day 2

The 1st Day at Sg. Terengganu Mati was nothing as what we imagined. Having been here 4 years ago, we expected to have reached the campsite at the end of the first day. However, we were met with challenges that slowed our progress tremendously. The whole journey from the logging camp to the campsite was only 24 km. Where we were at now, we had only covered less than 10 km. Perhaps things will be easier the next day.

Day 2

We woke up around 7 am, washed up at a nearby stream and had breakfast before packing up. We hoped that we could reach the river where we had planned to fish and swim for the 3 days we had allocated by day’s end or earlier.

Not too far up the trail, we arrived at the first gully crossing. It looked much wider and more gradual than it did on my last trip here. All the rigs made the crossing without any problems. But at the next hill ascend, the black Ranger had a problem with air leaking from his tire. A piece of wood had lodged in between the rim and tire. Also, there was a piece of rock protruding out the side of the track and this ranger received a deep scratch from being too close to it. After a while, too much air had already leaked out and the tire popped the bead. As the track was too narrow, we had to tow the truck to a wider and more level ground for the repairs.

The tracks ahead prove to be more difficult with lots of mud and steep slopes every few meters. We can drive without stopping for about 5 minutes before we get into more technical stretches of mud and water that require winching for every vehicle. This takes about 20 minutes to an hour to clear all our rigs. Fortunately, our jumpers (the term we give to the teammates who are out of the vehicles helping to secure winch ropes or tow straps) are very efficient and know exactly what to do for every occasion that comes up. Although the work is tough and the boys are tired, they are almost never without a smile or laughing as they go about doing what they do. At one part where we were winching the white Ranger up a steep, muddy slope, the plasma rope snapped. Guessed it couldn’t take the strain of all the winching while having been soaked with mud and water the past two day. Plus, the Ranger was a very heavy truck. To get it up over the slope, we used another rig to tow it.

The next obstacle we had to overcome was a steep v-gully the had a sharp right turn as soon as you got up. We had to avoid a large rock on one side and a ravine on the other. There was a tense moment when one of the rigs applied too much power coming up, but everything else turn out fine. As the rock was big and strong, we called it “Dwayne”, after another big and strong “Rock”.

Now the next section of the track saw two vehicles in trouble at the same time. One of the Land Cruisers fell into a rut and its left front and rear wheels were in the air. As usual, the team gathered to rescue the vehicle. Unfortunately, nothing could be done. Well, not until photos and videos were taken first. The white Ranger tried to pass the other Ranger so that it could winch the LC from the back. Unfortunately, the back wheel slipped into a hole at the edge of a ravine. Before the driver could do anything to assist the LC, he had to winch himself out first. This took some doing as there wasn’t a solid anchor point we could use. After connecting more tow straps, we finally had an anchor point to rescue the truck.

As for the Land Cruiser, some of the guys tried standing on the rock slider to try to bring down the tires and have the driver drive out of the hole. After a few tries, we heard a loud bang and that was the end of that effort. The rear propeller shaft broke a U-joint and fell off. It was time for some bush mechanics. The broken joint was cut off and a replacement part welded on. The two events kept us here for more than an hour. Then we were on our way again.

This time we drove for about 10 minutes without issues. Then we came to a section where the trail was too soft for our vehicles to get through. After scouting the area for any other safer options, the team decided to build a new path that would bypass the soft mud-pool completely. Although there was also a mud-pool we had to pass, it was not as soft as the original track. After cutting some bushes and clearing a way, we made our move. Our jumpers positioned themselves in strategic locations so that there will be someone to come to the rescue whenever a driver required a rescue. We had spent about three hours at this spot, making sure each vehicle came out safely.

By this time, it was already getting dark and we were still a long way off from our goal. We came across a bridge comprising small trees laid across a ditch. Some of the logs had already snapped and fallen into the ditch, but those that remain, provided just enough of a space for the tires to thread on. We had to cross slowly as the logs could snap or the wheels could slip and fall in. When one of the Rangers crossed, we heard one of the logs cracking. With steady guidance by the spotter, all the vehicles crossed without incidence.

When we passed this section, it was already dark. The last challenge for the day involved climbing another steep, slippery hill with deep ruts. 

This section caused the 2 trucks to lose air in one tire each when they hit a hidden stump along the climb up. Again, we had to stop to repair the two tires. Just after this was a steep descend into a flooded part of the track. We had another stretch to cross that was deeply rutted and with mud pools along the stretch. We had more winching and towing to do in the dark to get out.

Later, we came to a river and decided to spend a night there before continuing our journey in the morning. Everyone was tire and covered in mud. A dip in the stream helped wash away the mud. We went through the whole day without having lunch or dinner. Our only meal was breakfast and some biscuits and snacks along the way. As it was already past midnight and everyone was too tired to eat, we went to sleep. Some slept in the car, while the rest slept on camping chairs in the open. We went to sleep confident that the next day, we would finally reach the end of the trail.