Bukit Kutu – First Hike
I have always wondered what Bukit Kutu was like after having read that it was an abandoned British hill station. Some call it Gunung Kutu which is disputed whether it is really a ‘gunung’ or mountain especially when Pine Tree Hill at the neighbouring Fraser’s Hill stands at 4,777 feet while Bukit Kutu was reported to be about 3,500 feet. As I read more, I found that it was formerly called Gunung Sekutu by the indigenous people, the Temuan who lived in the area. When the British took over, it was renamed Treacher’s Hill and a sanatorium was built there. Fraser’s Hill continued to thrive but somehow Treacher’s Hill faded into oblivion. This hill station was abandoned, the bungalows went into disrepair and finally the roads were overtaken by the jungle. Treacher’s Hill disappeared from the maps and was renamed Bukit Kutu.
Personal accounts from trekkers had given it a bad reputation for leeches and it was notorious as a trek where one would easily get lost. Trekking time was reported to be between three to four hours while the trek was supposed to be eight km long. I was intrigued with Bukit Kutu and jumped at the opportunity to climb Bukit Kutu when Liau invited us to join him for a trek there. Mei was very reluctant because of the notoriety of the leeches but somehow I managed to strong arm her to go.
June 6 – We woke up at 5.55 am for a 6.30 am rendezvous with Gary before proceeding to the group meeting point in Melawati at 7.00 am. Received a text message from Elise that she needed a lift. That’s blew my timing apart. Gary was early, so we picked him up at 6.25 am and proceeded to Elise’s place. We picked her up at 6.40 am and reckoned that 20 minutes was not enough to reach Melawati from Old Klang Road. Called Liau to inform him that we will proceed straight to Kuala Kubu Baru.
The drive to KKB was beautiful and the sunrise which we witness along the way was truly magnificent. We arrived in KKB at 7.45 am and had a quick breakfast when we were surpised by Diane. She was on her way to a white water rafting trip when she saw us and stopped her car just to say hello. We joined Mr. Liau’ group at 8.05 am in a mamak shop where they were having their breakfast.
At 8.30 am, we proceeded towards Fraser’s Hill from KKB. Shortly after passing the water dam, about 7.7 km from KKB town, we took a right turn into Kg Pertak. A quaint little village with lovely single storey detached houses, Kg Pertak is a relocation site for the Temuan community. From Kg Pertak, we ventured straight into a dirt road and continued for about 1 km before the road proved to be inaccessible by normal vehicles.
We had to park our cars at the side of road. From where we parked, we could hear the sound of rushing river waters and this is the start of the Kutu trail (Elevation 827 feet / Coordinates N 03˚34.487’ E 101˚44.201).
It was time to warm up. Lum start with his pumping exercises, Commedian did his kung fu kicks while Joey did her extreme yoga stretches. I was going to conserve my energy for the trek. After 10 minutes or so, we headed out for the Kutu Summit at around 9.00 am.
There were 13 of us. Only 4 of us have reached the summit of Bukit Kutu previously while the rest of us were all first timers to the hill.
The first part of the trek was easy with two metals bridges to cross. The second bridge had partially collapsed and we had to balance on the edge of the bridge.
About 1.5 km from the starting point, we came across our first river crossing. The water is about 2 feet deep. This river crossing could be a hazard on the return trip if it rains as the water level would definitely have gone up.
We did not let up. We continue trekking and encountered another 2 river crossings. These were minor streams and could easily be crossed without getting our feet wet. After crossing the 3rd river, we were in the thick of pacat (leech) country. The treks were a bit muddy but were very manageable given that we have been having dry spells during the past two months. We quickly passed the pacat gauntlet without suffering any leech assaults except for one or two minor bites.
We then started climbing. It was up hill all the way. After more than 30 minutes of continuous up hill, I swore it was like Nuang. When the going seemed to be endless, we reached the Giant Boulder area. It was such a relief. We covered only another 3 km from the 1st river crossing but it felt endless.
We rested a good 20 minutes here at the Giant Boulder. We passed time by taking lots of pictures.
Finally, we were ready for the final assault. It is only less than 2 km more to the summit from the Giant Boulder. Knowing that we have covered more than half of the distance helped us pyschologically in our final push. It was a steady hike upwards towards our goal.
The first to reach the summit clocked at about 11.45 am or a total of 2 hours 45 minutes. I only managed to reach at 12.15 pm clocking in at 3 hours 15 minutes. It was great feeling knowing that I managed to climb Buku Kutu on my first attempt where others have failed. The good weather and excellent ground conditions were instrumental in our above average times. Heard that the record for summitting Bukit Kutu was one hour forty minutes.
According to my GPS the summit of Bukit Kutu stands at 3,576 feet (Coordinates N 03˚34.487’ E 101˚44.201).
Not bad for a day’s work. Trekking up 6.3 km with a total elevation of 2,749 feet in 3 hours 15 minutes. I stand at the summit pretty pleased with the trek.
The going down was relatively swift. We started at 1.40 pm and we reached the river by 3.30 pm in under 2 hours.
It was time for a splash to cool down. The waters felt heavenly.
We left the river at 4.30 pm for a great dinner at Ulu Yam Lama with great memories.