Box with monkey-proof lid
One day on a cool Sunday afternoon, Tyre Girl (TG) wanted to explore a trail run between Bukit Timah and Macritchie Reservoir. She called some friends to join her, but unfortunately they cried off sick or were busy running an ultra marathon. So I piped up and asked to come along. After all, how many tyres get to watch water monitor lizards, monkeys swinging from branch to branch and who knows...... I might even get to see one of those mysterious Pangolas. After all the Bukit Timah Nature Reservejoins with the Central Catchment Nature Reserve providing just over 3K hectares dedicated to storing water and housing wildlife.
So Box climbed up on top and got "lidded" to stop the monkeys from stealing the food, water and extra clothes TG would place into Box.
Map of Kampong Trail
Looking up at the trees
We set off on the Kampong trail. It is called "Kampong" as once upon a time the indigenous people used to live in zinc-roofed houses in villages, keeping chickens and growing their own crops.
We meandered initially over crude bridges made of solid wooden doors placed over drains before reaching the main trail. Looking carefully in the plant overgrowth, one could see foundations of houses and low crumbling walls locked in battle with vines and creepers. Singapore has left this part of the island to be wilderness and for this moment, nature is mostly victorious. "Mostly victorious" because the trail through is kept clear and maintained by Singapore's highly efficient gardening machine. The same gardening machine that keeps the entire island looking manicured and pristine. Though they failed me today, as I got stuck on debris that had fallen from the night's storm. TG gingerly picked me up a couple of times, and didn't seem too enamoured by the task. Okay so I had a bit of mud and leaves on me......"it's the jungle TG, and it's damp from the night's downpour!"
Looking over the canopy
Once we crossed the Rifle Range road, the trail narrowed, and I don't think TG got the trail quite right 'cos I'm sure I caught a glimpse of a wider trail deeper within the jungle that looked more like the trail we were on initially. Anyway after getting caught on roots and rocks and woman-hauled over fallen trees, I began to feel a little worn. Thankfully, TG decided to break away from the trail and head out onto the road (Rifle Range Road). I was kind of glad as my poor rubber suffered a bit of abrasion.
Chapped lips from scrapping on rocks
It was along this road when we would see our first group of humans plodding along in the mid-day sun. They gawked at me and I threw them a chapped lip kiss whilst TG wished them season's greetings.
Anyway I was now happy, gliding along the sunny road until we had to leap over a barrier to enter Macritchie Nature Reserve. More stones and roots to bump and grind over....my poor rubber treads.
A sweaty man walker looked at Box longingly...."Do you have any drinks in your box?". TG replied "Yes, it's $5 a sip. All proceeds to Acres". The walker laughed and walked on.
Another lady walker looked at Box longingly....."Do you have any ice creams in your box?". TG replied "Only drinks and sandwiches. It's $5 a sip. All proceeds to Acres". The walker laughed and walked on. Oh well, TG could only try!
A family came walking by and the 8 year old son yells...."Hey what's in the box?". TG replied "It's a secret and if you are good, you will see good things inside". The parents stopped and talked to TG, then took a couple of snapshots. The young daughter seemed scared of little ol' me.....although I blame that on Box. Box was really getting all the attention.
As the parents continued to talk with TG and check if I was a real tyre, the boy's curiosity intensified, firstly repeatedly asking...."What's in the box?", and then began to repeatedly demand to see the contents of Box.
TG replied "If you really want to see what's in the box, then you will have to pay $5 to see its contents".
The boy immediately turned to his father and asked him for $5. His father laughed and said "Wait until we get to the car, son".
The boy looked up at TG and asked "so how?"
TG responded "Sorry kid. The secret has to remain"
Suddenly the boy tried to lift the lid off Box, but TG had secured the lid so that the "monkeys" would not be able to lift the lid. The lid stayed on guarding Box's contents. The boy's parents told him off for being so rude. TG told him gently "Sorry kid, the box does not want you to see its secret. Just be happy that you couldn't open it, otherwise it could have been bad!" The parents laughed and said goodbye and as we parted company the boy demanded one more time "Tell me what's in the box!"
Am sure there is a moral to this tale.....
Finally we got onto a broadwalk that belonged to the end of the Macritchie treetop walk and passed many walkers. I felt TG was a little rough with me as I got bounced down multiple sets of steps as she tried to hurry on, and was happy when we finally reached the trail after 1km. There was an ultra marathon going on in one direction, so TG went in the opposite to avoid blocking runners.
The trail appeared to be deserted and I was able to see monkeys playing and a 1 metre water monitor lizard. Soon we entered a golf course and were stopped by an American couple Dan and Emily who were curious about me. After a conversation they made a donation to Acres.
Note to Dan and Emily
The charity website is http://www.acres.org.sg/ and for more Asian adventures, speak to Jack or Jo from Ace Adventures http://www.aceadventure.com.sg/
After 3 hours of trail from Bukit Timah to Macritchie, we ended at the Macritchie Park Cafe: me for a wash down; TG to catch up with some friends doing the ultra and of course food.
It soon began to rain and TG shied off returning back through the jungle. We instead took a bus home. Thank you Mr Bus Driver for your patience, as TG had to angle me and Box through the door to get us in and out of the bus.
Overall, as a tyre that is game for anything, this was a hard track to cross especially when crossing into the Macritchie Nature Reserve. For runners, trail shoes and strong ankles would be recommended. The track from Bukit Timah to the start of Macritchie is easy as long as you follow the trail which is a wide path! If you are concerned about the path, do as TG did and use the road instead. It is a fairly quiet road with very little traffic. Could do this part in normal road shoes but be prepared for undulating hills.
Next week, I'm looking forward to checking out the Southern Ridges with TG.