Ever since moving to Asia, we have been dreaming of hiking Mt. Kinabalu (one of the highest!). After overcoming incredible odds, we've done it!
First there was the question of bringing Aya – the mountain is too dangerous and high for babies. Luckily our guesthouse agreed to babysit for a day. Unfortunately, one day isn't enough – most hike the mountain in 2 or 3 days! One day ascents are not unheard of but are heavily frowned upon by the park officials. After a sizing up by the park ranger and explanations concerning all sorts of dangers, you are essentially told that all the spots are filled but encouraged to come the next day to see if anyone cancels (likely to make sure only hardcore hikers show up). Fortunately, most who decide to show up pass the test and are usually given access (like we were).
There are also the hardships of hiking 2300m up and then down again, not to mention the thin air at the summit (4095m). As we got near the top, we could barely walk or breathe. Our heads and chests were pounding from the lack of oxygen and only a few steps at a time were possible due to our lack of training for such a climb. On the way down it rained constantly, making every step even more slippery to our already clumsy limbs.
The views at the top were stunning though, the last 1/3 above the treeline was like walking through a futuristic wasteland. At 4000m, we were well above the clouds and on top of the world!