In the morning, a thick fog floats in the air beneath the edge of the waterfall. This sea of cloud together with the sunrise is the most spectacular view in Gunung Stong State Park. Our group (with the exception for me) woke up early in the morning to catch this view. I , on the other hand, imagined this beautiful scene in my dream.
For the 3rd day, we had the option to either climb Gunung Ayam (8 hrs to and back) or the seven-tiered Gunung Stong Waterfall (4 hrs to and back). We were unanimous in our decision – the not so “siong” waterfall. We started the hike from Baha Camp where we crossed the river via some boulders on the river to the opposite side of our campsite As mentioned previously, Baha Camp is located at the top of the main fall of the seven tier Stong Waterfall. The other tiers of the waterfall with less impressive drops are located above Baha Camp. Our mission for the day was to hike to the upper-most tier of Stong Waterfall; above which is the so called “Y-junction” where the Stong River and Ayam River converged. At the point of river crossing we encountered the first upper tier (above Baha Camp) of the waterfall where fun-seekers slide down from the top of the fall to the plunge pool below.
Beyond the first upper tier, the river widens to a series of mini-cascading falls along undulating granite slabs. The river between the tiers was quite shallow. Half the time, we hiked along the section of the river with dry beds or leapt from one raised boulders to the other. Occasionally where there was no dry landing, we had to dip into the water to move forward. However to surmount the tiers, we had to hike uphill via the forest beside the river.
Along the way there were some interesting waterfall structures such as Kolam Tuan Puteri (Princess Pool) and Telaga Tujuh (Seven Wells) which were laden with local legends. At the last two tiers, there were also some 1 – 2 metres deep pools where one can swim or dive in from the rocky platforms beside them. We also tried some water massage by sitting under the falls allowing the falling water to hit onto our backs and shoulders – nature jacuzzi. It was really a refreshing day for us after a gruelling two days trek in the mountains.
We reached back Baha Camp around noon time. We had underestimated our food needs and were only left with a few chocolate bars for lunch. Luckily our neighbours donated some of their excess food to us, otherwise we had to endure hunger till we returned back to Dabong which was at least 2 hours trek away. We left the camp at around 3 pm and reached Dabong around 5 pm. We had dinner at one of the foodstalls in Dabong. After 3 days of eating instant noodles, energy bars and biscuits, we rewarded our stomachs by ordering two main dishes (nasi goreng and soup noodles) each. Alas, after dinner we felt guilty for absorbing back the calories that we had worked so hard to burn off earlier on.
We sat around the dining table to chit-chat and reminisce on the interesting moments of the past few days while waiting for our train to arrive at 11 pm. We spent the night onboard the train and arrived in Singapore at around 6am the next day.