Hiking, The Route To Fitness, Friendship and Family Bonding

Last update: 17/04/2019

KUALA LUMPUR,  (Bernama) -- Hiking is in.  The social media is abuzz with updates of friends and families going on weekend hikes in an effort to stay active and healthy.

This activity seems fun and easy enough to do, until you do it.

In their desperate urge to embark on hiking journeys and ‘conquer’ the hills, those new to the activity might overlook some important precautions that they need to take such as learning about the hike trails beforehand, testing and preparing for gears and having good physical health.

Information on hike trails in and around Peninsular Malaysia can be found on personal blogs and all over the social media.

One just need to do some due diligence to ensure a good hiking experience.

RUNNER-TURNED-HIKER

An avid runner, Sanorhizam Sadili, 44, started his blog in 2011, to document his adventures in the running scene, aptly entitled RUNNING.

“I used to participate in running events almost every week where I would train every other day, but, my busy work schedule got in the way,” he shared.

That was when he turned to hiking.

“I find hiking is a more relaxed activity as far as time is concerned, not competitive and you don’t need to put in grueling hours of training.

With hiking, I feel I have full control over what I am doing,” Sanorhizam added.

When he wanted to embark on his first hike to Gunung Nuang (bordering Selangor and Pahang) in 2012, Sanorhizam could not find much, let alone, detailed information on the trail, in terms of getting there and the cost involved.

This scarcity of information prompted him to turn his running blog into a hiking one.

It is in this blog that Sanorhizam detailed his hiking escapades not only in Malaysia but also in the neighbouring countries.

“There are not many blogs available then, that have all the details a hiker might find useful such as the hike distance, duration and trail conditions.

So I started blogging about my hiking experience to prepare hikers in terms of their physical fitness, budget and what to expect before, during and after, as well as what gears they should use during the hike,” Sanorhizam told Bernama Lifestyle and Youth in an email recently.

To date, Sanorhizam has scaled numerous mountains and hills in Malaysia and several others overseas namely Kinabalu, Tahan, Korbu, Gayong, Yong Yap, Yong Belar and Rok Nenek as well as Rinjani (Indonesia), Santo Thomas (the Philippines) and Fansipan in Vietnam.

HELPING OTHER HIKERS

Sanorhizam admitted that he felt a sense of pride when readers of his blog told him how the blog has helped them in their own hikes.

“This means that what I am trying to convey through my blog have reached most of the readers and I am proud of that,” he said.

According to Sanorhizam, people go for hikes for many reasons.

“Some might be motivated to witness sunrise at the peak, others might want to prove that they can do it for personal glory, while many of the hikers just want to try new things and visit new places,” he added.

Asked on what are the preparations new hikers should take into consideration, Sanorhizam said: “Firstly, one should consider the distance, its difficulty level, the gears to be used during the hike and one’s fitness level.”

For newbies, Sanorhizam suggested, the best thing for them to do prior to an extreme hike is to practice on basic hikes just to gauge their fitness level.

Once they are comfortable with it, they can proceed to higher locations, he added.

Sanorhizam also noted that one should find likeminded hike enthusiasts especially for motivations and tips.

Recently, Sanorhizam and several of his hike buddies had made an effort to put up simple handmade signage at Bukit Gasing, Petaling Jaya, a popular hiking trail that they frequently explore.

“My friends and I are frequent hikers at the trail but there are so many trails and unknown routes that will definitely confuse leisure hikers.

There are also so many breathtaking locations in Bukit Gasing waiting to be explored but due to lack of indications, not many people know about its existence,” he said.

These simple signboards inform hikers of the distance of one trail to another and can assist them to look for the nearest exit out of Bukit Gasing.

When asked would he one day stop hiking, Sanorhizam said: “I will never stop hiking, I will continue doing it  as long as my health permits it and so far, thanks to Allah, everything is good.”

FAMILY BONDING

This sentiment is also shared by one of Sanorhizam’s hiking buddies and school friend, Zarmila Salmi Sabot, 43.

Zarmila began her journey into the hiking world when she was 20 years old, invited by an acquaintance, who is now her husband.

Her first hiking destination was Gunung Ledang.

“I wasn’t properly prepared and I just went into it.  I was lucky because he was an avid hiker.  It started from there and after the first hike, my weekends was almost always filled with hiking activities,” Zarmila said.

The hikes took a back seat in 2004 when they wanted to focus on building their family life.

In 2010, when their first daughter was three years old, Zarmila and her husband decided to revive their shared passion. 

“Hiking, camping and outdoor activities not only challenge my physical strength but also my mental aptitude.

These activities had taught me what real patience is.  It also moves me closer to nature and makes me appreciate what we have,” she added.

Now the active couple are trying to instill the love for hiking in their three daughters, aged eight, nine and 12.

As a rule when hiking with their children in tow, Zarmila and her husband will normally explore trails that are not more than 500 metres in height such as Bukit Broga, Semenyih, Bukit Batu Putih in Port Dickson, Bukit Baginda of Batu Kikir and Bukit Melati, in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.

For more grueling trails, they will normally go without their daughters. 

Together, this couple has successfully completed the “G7” mission.

G7 refers to the seven highest mountains in Peninsular Malaysia comprising Gunung Tahan, Gunung Chamah, Gunung Ulu Sepat, Gunung Yong Yap, Gunung Korbu, Gunung Gayong and Gunung Yong Belar.

When asked about some of the benefits she reaps from hiking, Zarmila listed an opportunity to bond with family and friends as one of it, apart from its obvious physical and mental health benefits.

“If Allah wills it, I will continue with this activity for years to come as a family quality time,” she added.

--BERNAMA