Sungai Terengganu Mati Merdeka Trip Day 3

Sg Terengganu Mati Merdeka Trip Day 3

We’ve already been on this trail for the past two days working from morning to night. We have an estimated 6 km to go. 6 km on the highways is just over 5 minutes of driving, but here on this trail, it can take you hours. The incentive for the day is that we are sure to reach our destination before the end of the day.

Day 3

We started the day with a wash in the stream and then a hearty breakfast to make up for the day before. The spot we had stayed at the night before was just before a river that had big rocks the whole width of it. We had to be on our guard for sharp rocks that could rip the tires of do damage to the differentials or brake lines. Again, with the guidance of a spotter, we made it through without damage.

We drove on for a while without much happening in terms of tough challenges. The next difficult track we encountered involved going down a steep slippery slope onto another road that was tilted towards the side of a hill. Because the track was slippery and the rigs could slide into the side of the hill and maybe cause some damage to the bodywork, we decided to check out the trail first. Finally, we decided that some track building was in order and work started to make the descent easier. We leveled the first slope slightly and fill the deep ruts of the second where the vehicles had to make a sharp right turn as it slid down. When we were satisfied with what we had done, the first rig made its way down followed by the rest. There was some slipping and sliding as the vehicles descended and turned but nothing to worry about.

After this, we pass through a stretch of trail with deep ruts. Although we had pay attention to the obstacles and drive slowly, this part was relatively easy. We drove on until we came to a small stream where we decided to stop and have lunch. Although we had planned nice meals for every meal, all the equipment was beyond reach as the recovery equipment took up most of the easy to reach parts of the vehicles. We were very close to the journey’s end, so we didn’t want to remove everything to get the cooking equipment and cooler boxes containing the food. We settled for instant noodles in a cup. After 20 minutes of being in this place, we resumed our journey.

From this point on, we were passed by trail bikes making their way to the same location. The 31st of August is Malaysia’s Independence Day and a Holiday. This fell on a Monday giving Malaysians a 3-day holiday stretch with the weekend. Fishing enthusiasts took the opportunity to come here on bikes to indulge in their favorite activity after being stuck at home during the Movement Control Order to contain the Covid-19 epidemic. We estimated that around 40 bikes had passed us since we resumed our journey after lunch.

Next was a steep hill climb. It would have been not much of a problem except that more bikers appeared, and we had to stopped to let them pass. This delayed our progress as every few minutes, a group of 3 to 5 bikes would pass. After the hill climb, we came to a 90°corner. Just before the corner was a section that had been partly washed away by rain and water coming down the hill slopes. The ground was also very slippery and had just enough space for the trucks to pass. The face of a hill was on one side and a deep ravine on the other. The lighter Cruisers made it through without problems, but when it came to the black Ranger, it started sliding towards the ravine. We reinforced the edge of the tracks with logs but felt that that was not enough to take the weight of the big trucks. Because of the 90° turn just immediately after this hazard, towing was not an option. The only other was to climb the hill face in front and anchor a winching point. The back section of the truck was anchored to the white Ranger behind it via a winch line. Slowly, but surely, we got the driver out of his predicament. Now for the white Ranger. He had nothing to anchor hid truck from the back. Fortunately, he was one of our most experienced drivers and got through without any mishap.

The next hill was also very steep and slippery, what made matters worse was that the tracks were badly torn up. Each time we attempted to drive up, more bikers would appear, and they would dart in front of our vehicles wanting to get to the top before we did. This caused us a delay of almost two hours. By this time, almost 70 bikes in total had passed us today. Finally, we had a chance to make a move up the slope. The first vehicle made it without getting stuck. As the second vehicle was almost half-way up, it lost traction and decided to be winched up the rest of the way.

At the bottom, a group of local buggy drivers appeared and just cut in the front of everyone else. It’s sad that people can have this attitude of, “to hell with everyone else, we want to go first.”

At the top, the first rig managed to get the second rig up safely. The rest of us at the bottom decided to let the impatient buggy drivers go ahead. We were here to have a good time and would not let anything affect out mood. After two of the other group got up, the remaining vehicles in our group made our way up. The first two buggies that were up were blocking the single lane track in front so that nobody else could pass. They were waiting for their other friends to arrive and help them up. By the time their friends were all up and had cleared the trail, it was dark. The bikes and buggies cost us another 4 hours of delays. As it was already dark, we decided to have dinner here before moving on. This was the first real meal we had in 3 days.  Alicia and I prepared a pari (sting ray) curry, fried chicken and white rice.

We drove on to the top where we met a friend who had gone in earlier. He told us that there were more than 100 people at the campsites by the river. Because of the Covid situation, we decided that we would camp at the top of the hill and make our way down in the morning. We had allocated 5 days for this trip with the expectation of reaching the campsite within 24 hours. It took us 3 days to reach the top and looking at the tracks we passed, it would take us another 3 days to get out.

We had set out to prove that we could take the longer, wider and heavier trucks to the top of Sg, Terengganu Mati when everyone else said it couldn’t be done. The going was very tough, but we achieved what we set out to do. Everyone went to sleep that night with the satisfaction of knowing they achieved something nobody else had done.