|A trail within the Mt. Garden.|
Daily guided walks with a park naturalist are conducted and joining one of these walks will introduce you to the wonders of the cool mountain forest and how to spot the treasures of the forest which are often very tiny, camouflaged for safety or just invisible to the untrained eye.
To truly enjoy the forest at this high altitude I would suggest that you plan to spend a minimum of 3 hours on the trails or more. The garden has properly laid out trails with handrails and bridges across streams that make it easy for walking. Should you be more adventurous there is a network of trails that will take you along bubbling brooks and up hills to viewpoints.
As it is rather chilly here and rains quite often, it is advisable to bring along a raincoat or at least a sweater and an umbrella. You will also need decent walking shoes and be prepared for them to get wet and muddy if you do venture on the trails outside the Mountain Garden. Binoculars are great, as Kinabalu is home to many birds and they also come in handy as a magnifying glass, (Just turn them upside down and look through the large lenses at the object).
|Ginger flower bract.|
The trees around the park H.Q. are mainly conifers, oaks and chestnuts which during the seeding season you will find fallen acorns and chestnuts on the ground. The forest is a delight to the eyes with its various shades of green from the lichens, mosses and ferns that grow on tree trunks and drape themselves over rocks. Occasionally the bright orange trunk of the Tristania tree stands out in stark contrast to the lichen covered barks of the other trees. Fondly called the naked tree, it is a relative of the eucalyptus of Australia. Even though there are more than a thousand species of orchids, the most often asked question by visitors is where are the orchids?
These jewels of the rainforest are often tiny and hidden, so one needs patience and good eyesight to
The Rhododendrons on the other hand, just shout out for your attention with their bright showy umbels of flowers and the various shades and shapes of leaves and ferns are equally beautiful. Don’t expect to see any large mammals as this is not their habitat but you can expect to see squirrels and tree shrews.
To see the most on your walk, take your time and relish the opportunity to commune with nature.
Text and Photos by DAVID DE LA HARPE