Monday, March 25, 2013

Bukit Timah Nature Reserve

It's been quite a while since we went hiking last, but now that everyone's better we've done it two weekends in a row. Both trips were at Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

This isn't the first time we've been there, but I don't seem to have posted about it before (a post may exist, but I don't care enough to check thoroughly). Singapore being a small city-state has only three nature reserves (as opposed to fully developed and manicured parks): Sungei Buloh, Labrador and Bukit Timah. Bukit Timah is the most centrally located. It contains Singapore's highest hill (a very unimpressive 536 feet, shorter than dozens of buildings here), 40% of Singapore's plant and animal species, and the only intact jungle forest on the island.

The main trail to the summit is paved if steep (you can even push a stroller on it, which we've done when R was smaller), and at least on weekends is relatively crowded. However, there are dozens of side trails which are totally deserted (Singaporeans are not big nature lovers, especially if the experience involves dirt and discomfort).
R on the main path, pointing out the noise of the cicadas
R liked the main path because then she could RACE down it at top speed (her dad has to sprint to keep up)
She also liked "reading" all the informational placards: that's my girl!
They are also pretty rugged, just barely visible footpaths sometimes. The jungle is an extremely hostile environment to all forms of human effort, so it's really hard to maintain anything there, including hiking trails.
Slightly more rugged path
This is really rugged! (yes, the branches are the path, up a hill so steep you must climb it mostly on all fours: we helped R so that she wouldn't fall, but she climbed like a champ)
That's one reason Singapore impresses me: it's one thing to build a spotlessly clean modern city in a climate like California, but to make it in what would otherwise be impassable jungle and mangrove swamps, full of deadly animals and snakes, is really something.
This is what Singapore would look like in a natural state: note you can't walk anywhere without a machete
R hiked for long portions of the trip (she is not yet able to do the full hours-long version, largely because she doesn't necessarily want to walk in the right direction) and greatly enjoyed herself. Once she fell and skinned both knees and an elbow: both times she came back covered in dirt and sweat. Bliss for an active toddler!
R striding along
Her favorite part was playing in a jungle stream
It was sandy so she could mold the soil to some extent 
Toddler total satisfaction

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