05-Feb-2013 -- This confluence visit is the third out of a series of 15 visits in Malaysia and Thailand. The previous confluence is 3°N 103°E. It is in turn part of a 4-month bicycle trip starting in Tasmania at 43°S 146°E.
This was one of the last unvisited confluence points on the Malay Peninsula. I was wondering why it hadn't been visited. Google Earth shows a track directly leading to the confluence. So it should be no problem to access the point, shouldn't it?
In the morning at 6:40 AM, I started cycling from Muadzam Shah (100 km south of the confluence) and reached the historic tin mining town Sungai Lembing (10 km beeline from CP) at 2:30 PM. After having a late lunch, I felt strong enough to go for the confluence point for the rest of the day. To cover 10 km shouldn't be a problem on roads - I thought.
But it turned out that the area is extremely mountainous and the road soon turned into a dirt road with the surface consisting of loose rocks. The track was snaking around the mountains but also always steep upwards or downwards. It took me 1:15 hours to cover 5 km. At the distance of 5 km I reached to my surprise a nice asphalt road again - obviously I had taken some sub-optimal route. But soon the road turned into a dirt track again and degraded rapidly. At a distance of 3 km the track became unused with deep erosion canyons that required pushing or carrying the bicycle. Taking this curling track took most of my energy and daytime. I am still not clear about the reason for this track - it goes through the deep jungle and ends at a place with a labyrinth of tracks. May be this place has been used for mining - the town Lembing was a famous tin mining town until 1986.
However, I reached the confluence at 5:30 PM with not much time for daylight left. I was extremely exhausted and not sure how I would make it back to Lembing in the darkness. The confluence was just 20 m from the track at the edge of a bulldozed area.
All the way, i.e. the last 5 km, I didn't meet any traffic or any person. I could tell from the road condition that this track hasn't been used for a while. After the documentation, I started my long way back. Half way, I had a flat tire. This was just when I reached the first village again. I fixed the tire at a farmer's backyard while being protected from the beginning rain. I continued riding in the darkness and when I got the second flat, I kept on cycling even though this might have ruined my wheel. When I got back to Lembing at 8:30 PM, I noticed that I had not only ruined my bicycle, but also my feet. Big blisters had opened up and were bleeding badly. The constant rain, cycling and walking in sandals without socks had been softening my skin. Now it was too late - I would have to suffer a lot the coming week.
PS: There is no ATM in Lembing. I didn't have enough cash and had to learn a lesson... the next ATM is in Kuantan (40 km away).
CP Visit Details:
- Distance to an asphalt road: 5 km
- Distance to a track: 20 m
- Distance of bicycle parking: 2 m
- Time to reach CP from bicycle parking: 0 seconds
- Time at CP: 5:30 PM
- Measured height: 101 m
- Minimal distance according to GPS: 2 m
- Position accuracy: 6 m
- Topography: steep hills of 30-50 m in height
- Vegetation: jungle
- Weather: rain, 25° C (felt temperature)
- Given Name: The Tin Blister Confluence
More pictures of the trip can found at mautz.net.
The story continues at 5°N 103°E.