The last few days have been a bit of a rollercoaster. Leaving Sepilok and saying goodbye to everyone was awful, esspecially when I have no idea when I will see people again! I just want to say to everyoner I met there that you are all fantastic and made the last 2 months absolutely fantastic! We had a leaving dinner on friday night which was lovely but so sad to say goodbye to all the rangers!
Anyway, we left the rest house on saturday and flew from Sandakan to KK where we got to stay at the Rasa Ria for our last official night of the project! We met up with Marie for pizza when we arrived, but we found out shes leaving Rasa Ria! If she ever reads this I wish her the best of luck with everything and I hope her dreams of joining the police and setting up an animal shelter come true! I'm so glad we got to meet Marie before she left!
We stayed up for some cocktails after an amazing buffet dinner and saying goodbye to Naaemah who has been fantastic at organising!
The next day we had an early start - we had to say goodbye to Kate at 7 and then Katie at 9! Selina, Kirsten, Georgi, Fiona, Jen and I stayed around until 12 (Annabel and Emma stayed later), dropped our stuff off at summer lodge in KK and went for lunch at the rainforest cafe and an explore of the Filipino market and the handicraft market. Emma and Annabel arrived at 6 when we had to say another goodbye to Emma and Jen who went off to the airport.
We went for an Italian that night - I haven't had pasta in months and it was amazing! We decided we needed to load the carbs for the day ahead!
Yesterday was another early start, Selina, Annabel and I (Group 3 - one team, one way towards excellence!) left the hostel at half 7 with warm clothes and waterproofs! We took a taxi to Inanum where we took a bus to the Kinabalu park HQ which took about an hour and a half. We paid our entry fee then the money to climb the mountain and money for a guide. We started climbing at about half 11 and I can honestly say it was the most horrendous thing I've ever done. Sure the views were stunning but by the km 3 I was close to giving up, but I pushed through. Things got really bad as we approached Laban Rata, my ears were still giving me problems and I was breathless and dizzy. I did not love it. At all. It was such a relief to get to Laban Rata but I was dreading the 2.30am start to reach the summit. Which unfortunately Selina and I didn't quite make. I didn't sleep at all and was out of breath even lying in my bed - I was also absolutely perishing, it was friggin freezing up there! You wouldn't expect to be so damn cold on the equator! I was so gutted but I spoke to the others and decided that I really couldn't walk the 2.7km to the summit in the pitch dark, Selina left with Annabel but she had to turn back as she started to suffer from altitude sickness after another 0.5km. We were both so upset not to make it to the summit but it made us feel a little better when Annabel got back and said 'That was the most awful thing I've ever done.' They couldn't see the sunrise because of the mist, and she had never been so cold in her life, she couldn't even take photos because her hands were so cold! But Annabel I take my hat off to you, you did alot better than I could have! I am still really pleased with myself, it may only be 6km to Laban Rata but it was the hardest 6km ever, in parts there are steps that are almost vertical. Laban Rata is at 3000m up Mount Kinabalu, which at 4095m is the highest mountain in South East Asia, so I think I did pretty well considering I'm hardly the fittest person on the planet!
I quite enjoyed the walk down, it took about 4 hours but seemed easy compared to the 5 hour trek up where I was stopping to catch my breath what seemed like every step! And it was worth it for the buffet lunch when we got down! We arrived back at the hostel at about 4 and were greeted by a very brown looking Kirsten and Fiona (who had spent the day on Manukan) who had brought us cake! Genius!
Now I am sat in my sun bears t-shirt and thinking about the fact that I am never climbing a mountain again... well maybe I can managhe Snowdon.