Sunday, November 26, 2006

Learning from an Ancient Library (part 1)

MacRitchie Nature Walk - Quote
Losing a rain forest is like letting an ancient library burn down before you can read all the books ~ Randall Haydes

Packing for Tree Top WalkThis morning, armed with a bottle of water, two bananas (along with an umbrella and my camera), I set off for the TreeTop Walk at MacRitchie's nature trail (see also, WildSingapore and Habitatnews).

I did my homework on the hiking route by visiting the NParks website. I knew it would take about five hours of walking. My aim was to reach the TreeTop Walk. The weather has been rainy so I made sure I packed an umbrella. Other than that, I wasn't sure what to expect.

I started the trail at 11.30am and arrived back at the start point around 4.30pm. I was left with sore leg muscles but a soaring spirit. It might have been the fresh air in the forest, the almost perfect weather for hiking, the tranquility, being ONE with nature... whatever it was, I'm contented.
MacRitchie Monkeys MacRitchie Terrapins MacRitchie Tree Top Walk
MacRitchie Squirrel MacRitchie - Flower

It's with pride that I say Singaporeans have a nature reserve that's full of things to learn. It's our Natural Heritage. Sure, it's not the Grand Canyon. Never mind that the hike was not as tough or the scenery as spectacular as this particular trail. The MacRitchie nature reserve is no walk in the park, let me tell you. It's good enough to work up a sweat and there are a few steep slopes to make it physically challenging.

I was also quietly delighted the trail was litter free (there were one or two things that made me frown -- but I'll save it for another post).

In my youth, I've been fed with talk of how Singapore is a concrete jungle devoid of "nature"; everything is man-made. Absolutely not true. Today it took less than an hour for me to go from my home to MacRitchie and cost less than $2 by bus per trip. And the experience -- priceless.

Definitely planning a few more trips to MacRitchie's nature trial. Kudos to NParks and all the people who made the trail a reality. It's beautifully done. I don't normally gush with pride when it comes to Singapore landmarks but I can't help it for that one.

The image at the top was from one of the many information signages strategically placed throughout the nature trail. Even though I was without a guide, I was able to read, watch, listen, learn and reflect.

Randall Haydes was spot on: a rain forest is indeed like a library.

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  1. Anonymous3:53 pm

    You did the right thing to do your homework about the hiking route beforehand. When it was first publicised in the newspapers, my elderly uncle did the walk in slippers because everyone was clueless how long the walk took! He was cursing and swearing when they finished the hike! hahaha...At the end of the hike, my hubby had to hitch a ride from someone to bring him back to the macritchie carpark! I was fortunately spared of the "torture" becos I was then resting at home with my newborn son.

  2. Hey, I'm glad you liked it. I went a few months ago with my parents and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly in spite of the sore muscles. I particularly enjoyed the view of MacRitchie Reservoir. I did a "western region parks trail" (haha, my own invention) last weekend. I went to Kent Ridge Park, Jurong Hill and West Coast Park with husband. Such lovely views. Jurong Hill has this really nice little garden of fame where the plants are all planted by famous people like the emperor of Japan and ex-presidents of Singapore. Now, it's little excursions like these that make me feel that Singapore is not such a boring place afterall!

  3. Anonymous7:19 pm

    What an interesting post. Probably cos I am on my way to Singapore in the next week and half. Must say I am looking forward to it, even though it will on be for two days (Singapore Stopover)at least I have a free pass to Sentosa Island ...any tips for a traveler???

  4. Karen, even though I obtained information from the NParks website, I was still mildly surprised how tired it could get. So for your uncle who's unprepared mentally and physically, oh dear -- my sympathies.

    QQ - no, I don't think Singapore is boring. I think it's Singaporeans who often visit the same old place, and then complain there's nothing to see -- they're the boring ones.

    Addie -- no specific tips other than to dress for the weather, i.e. be prepared for showers and the tropical weather. Other than that, Singapore is quite tourist-friendly.

  5. Anonymous4:38 am

    :) Nice pictures, I love nature, animals, forest and lakes!

  6. Anonymous5:35 pm

    Ivan took 11.30am to 4.30pm to do the Treetop Trail as well as suffer aching legs after the event. Readers may like to know (especially those who wish to bring elderly folks or young children) that there is a much shorter route. From the HSBC-signed car park at Venus Drive, off Upper Thomson Road, it will take about 20-30 minutes to get to NPB Ranger Station and the beginning of the Treetop Trail.

    Since it is one-way on the Treetop Trail bridge, one has to take a slightly different route to get back to the NPB Ranger Station. So, the return journey to the Venus Drive car park (assuming one doesn't get lost) will take 15 minutes more than the forward journey (35-45 minutes). Assuming you spend 15 minutes on the Treetop Trail bridge, the total time should be under 2 hours.

    Readers may also like to know that there is a stamp-sheet in honour of the Treetop Trail issued in 2004. Sorry I do not know how to post it but you can go to the website run by CS Philatelic Agency to view it:


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