It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.
We are about to hike the much anticipated Pine Tree Trail– the best of times.
Yet, we can’t seem to find the dang entrance- the worst of times.
It is a time of searching, it is a time of perplexation.
It is a time of disorientation as we drive blindly back and forth the same blasted road, searching in vain for the trail entrance. The Apulkat Sisters- we’ve named ourselves- Gloria, Zel, Yeng, and I are keen for our next adventure since Flores. So here we are in Frasers Hill, wondering why the heck is Waze screwing with us.
But as every Gen-Y knows, when Waze fails, just Google. A quick Google search informs us to head for TM Resort, which is located right next to the entrance. And alas, on the shoulder of the road sit parked car after parked car, a sure sign that the trailhead is near.
And it is!
We each have our long hair up in pigtails, just because. But what was initially nothing but a fun reminiscence of our kiddie days turned out to be one of our best ideas yet. Stay tuned to find out why.
The trail starts out easy. The terrain is mostly flat. In fact, there is a substantial amount of downhill within the first one-third of the trail, including flights and flights of man-made stairs. Honestly, this worry me, because what goes down must come up; “what” being a fatigued and panting me at the end of the hike.
But I decide to live in the moment and ignore the shadow of inevitable doom.
The flat ground and downhill stretch at variables. There are also stretches of uphill slopes. They alternate like the black and white keys of Yiruma’s River Flows in You piece.
The vegetation is that of a rain forrest. I admit to being slightly disappointed that unlike the mossy forest, the flora here does not resemble the woods where Hansel and Gretel ventured to their downfall.
At some point, Zel and I are separated from Gloria and Yeng. Zel, who usually flies up the mountain like a mountain goat, stayed behind with me today. For her company, I am very grateful.
After 2 and half hours, we reach a clearing crowded with hikers resting and eating. We learn that this is Pine Tree Peak. One would assume that this is the one and only summit. But Gloria and Yeng are nowhere to be seen. So we ask around: “hi! Seen our friends? Two girls with pigtails like ours?”
“Oh! The pigtails! Yes, that way!” says a resting hiker pointing down a trail separate from the one we arrived on. “This trail takes you to Twin Peak Hill- the second summit.”
Not the two girls in leggings. Not the two Chinese girls. Nope. Few things are more distinguishable than 25 year old girls (AHEMM!) prancing along a hiking trail in high pigtails. Forget luminous clothing, pigtails are the best identifiers.
THIS is why pigtails are the best freaking idea ever. Youthful guise: check. Easy identification: check.
On top of that, we find out about a second summit.
Twin Peak Hill is another 40 minutes hike away. A hiker in an orange t-shirt said 30 minutes, a stranger on the internet cited an hour, but it really was 40 minutes.
Lo and behold, as we scramble up the final stretch of trail towards an opening where the sky is visible, we spot 2 pairs of pigtails: Gloria and Yeng.
Summit number two.
The hike out took 3 hours. Also, I was right. Those descending concrete steps? They are now ascending.
I hyperventilate a little. As usual, I regret saying yes to hiking.
But as I stepped out through the wooden arc that acts as entrance and exit to Pine Tree Trail, I’m ambivalent.
I wanna go again.