10 April 2012


The first time I mentioned a hike along Singapore’s Treetop Walk, Paul came up with a number of excuses as to why we should not go. For one, MacRitchie Park is an hour commute on two buses. Another reason – in order to get to the Treetop Walk, we would need to hike more than 5 km. And then there were the monkeys. 

Once I read that monkeys can be seen in the park, and informed my loving husband, he decided that we should not put ourselves into the monkeys’ path before our health insurance came through. OK, fine. He didn’t want to go. I got it.

Six months later, I still had not experienced the Treetop Walk that I had wanted to hike from the moment I read it existed. That changed Friday.

Again, I was inspired by the mom who got off her butt, hired a personal trainer and got herself into shape so that she could hike mountains in the Pacific Northwest with her kids. After surviving the death hill at Bukit Timah, I figured I was ready to accept the challenge of a five-hour hike to the Treetop Walk and back.

For this hike, I did not go alone. I went with a new friend and her husband. Friday, being Good Friday, was a national holiday so the park was filled with people of all ages. Many families were hiking together as most of the island’s population enjoyed a work holiday.

The trek was not too bad. I really enjoyed walking on the trails and seeing the jungle around me. We did meet some monkeys on the path but they were not phased by us at all; they just went about their business as we calmly got out of their way.

We followed the not-so-strategically-placed signs and eventually found our way to the Treetop Walk. We hiked up yet another death hill, walked the trail, climbed some stairs and then made our way through the Ranger’s Station to the suspension bridge. The bridge was only a couple of feet wide and did not leave room for casual walkers and photographers to be passed easily.

The bridge itself was quite short, not at all what I was expecting. Based on what I had read and had experienced at other parks, I was under the impression that the Treetop Walk would be several kilometers long and would take various paths along the forest. That was not the case.

We walked about 50 meters or so and began our descent along wooded stairs and path. I was hoping for much more of a view and much more of an adventure.

Well, I got my adventure. We came to a clearing, determined our location and decided on a path that would lead us back to where we started. Did I mention that it had been thundering for the last 15 minutes?

Oh yes. We had just taken our first steps toward the 5.5-km loop and the rain came down – calmly at first, and then it stopped a few minutes later. We decided to commence the trek so we headed out.

Before we knew it, the monsoon was upon us and I was the only one with an umbrella in the backpack. At one point, all three of us were huddled underneath my umbrella, backpacks at our feet in the middle, and we stood on the edge of one of the wooden paths. A few people passed us as we stood there and contemplated just how long we imagined ourselves in this position before realizing that it could rain all day.

We became close friends under that umbrella but we eventually moved on because we knew there was no other way. As the rains poured, our clothes became heavy, which added to our workout. Our feet inside our sopping socks were squishy as we quickly walked and sometimes ran on the path. When we came off of the wooden path and headed back onto the dirt, we realized that there was something else awaiting our arrival – the trail was nothing short of ankle-deep rapids that raced toward us.

We ran through it, trying desperately to find better ground. We took a break under a small building but then, again, decided to just keep moving. We sloshed through the rapids, made our way through flooded grounds and the whole time we were just amazed at our surroundings.

We all liked the rain. Watching the rain pour down, watching the effects of the rain on plants, the lake and the grounds and smelling the rain as it comes in are all great things. But, when there seemed to be an eternity between me and shelter, sometimes I did not enjoy pushing on toward my goal – especially when I knew that goal of shelter and a ride home would mean I would be sopping wet in the back of a bus or taxi that was filled with freezing air blowing on every part of my body. Holy cold.

I was ready to dive into my bag o’ sopping wet snacks, even though I know that no food or drinks are permitted inside cabs. At that point, I really didn’t care. I was wet, I was hungry and I had a sizeable ride ahead. And, to add to my hunger, the guy who rode to the park in a cab had pizza so the whole cab smelled like warm bread, savory sauce and melted cheese. Oh how I wanted some of that pizza. But, alas, I wanted a shower and some sweats more.

When I got home, I knew I could not shower right away because the hot water heater needed a chance to warm up. I took everything into one of our bathrooms and just unloaded. It was here that I confirmed that nothing was saved from the rain.

Why, yes, that is a cell phone in pieces.
Three days later, my husband’s cell phone (he has mine in the U.S.) sat in rice and still would not operate so I / the rain officially killed it. Yes, friends, that is the third phone I have lost or destroyed within what, six months? How much my husband should hate me, but he does not. Don’t feel badly for him, though. He will use this as an excuse to buy a new, pretty, not-even-released-yet Android phone. He is hiding his excitement well. 

1 comment:

amanda said...

Long journey but now you can say you did it!!!