(Photo credits to Pat Brunsdon, Phillip Bee and Laurent Ane)
Sure, we have some really cool sounding names for the trails around Bukit Kiara. Too cool in fact, you might ask? All the trails earned their respective names for a good reason, take for example “Pure Quill” was named when the trail builder(s) in the form of Tony Stapleton (and company) spotted a porcupine nearby while building the trail. Yes a porcupine, who would’ve expected to see such creatures in our own backyard? The “2K” trail was named that because, well, it was originally 2kms in distance when it was first built!! Now as for trails such as “Boner” and “Clenched Sphincter”, let’s just leave it at that…
Do you know why “Wasteland” was named as such? Take a short walk with me down (an equally short) memory lane, and have a look at these:
Get the idea yet? A lot of the dead twigs sticking out of the ground in the photos above used to be the top branches of trees, just to give you an idea of how deep the valley used to be!
In 2009, when the developers started leveling the hill to build the new bungalows that now overlook Sri Hartamas, they needed to build an access road to go up the hill in order to cut it. What do they do with the excess soil? It all got conveniently dumped over the side. And I mean ALL of it. Right beneath it lays “Boulder”, which was the link between “Plan C” to “Upper Short”, and even though it was easily a 10-15 foot drop, it was completely blotted out of memory. And it didn’t stop there. The valley that lay below Boulder got completely filled up as well. This resulted in the end (or start, depending on which side you rode in from) of “Bar-A-Kuda” getting cut off as well, effectively severing 2 main trails that provided access from the Sri Hartamas side into TTDI.
And so the Penghulu jumped into action, looking for a way to reconnect the trails. First was a gallant but alas futile attempt to connect the end of “Bar-A-Kuda” directly to the broken tarmac section just below the new bungalows, but that ended up being named “Slide Zone” for a good reason. The soil took very long to settle, and was perpetually shifting, hence the Penghulu was forced to focus his efforts further down the valley, or “Wasteland” as we know it today.
The only obstacle in between the valley was a small stream crossing, which meant a bridge was needed to span across the 2 banks. This resulted in the birth of ‘Bridge V1.0’ (which was really a skinny!!).
In the following months to come, the skinny started to rot, as any normal untreated wood would in our extremely ‘mild’ weather conditions. This brought about the need for a replacement bridge. By now, the TnT fund was starting to kick off, and there was enough money to allow our Penghulu to utilize it to construct a proper bridge with good, local hard wood. Thus, ‘Bridge V2.0’ was born.
Of course, in between the years till today, the supporting columns which had been hand built with rocks and clay (all natural resources that Mother Nature has provided), had started to fall apart from heavy rains and strong river currents, and we’ve had to rebuilt/reinforce them at least a couple of times now.
Amazingly though, it is still the same wooden bridge you see on “Wasteland” today, and it was only the supporting columns and the banks that have needed some TLC, as was evident in the recent bout of wet weather.
The recent ‘mini trail day’ in early Feb 2013 was an impromptu call to get a small group to focus on rebuilding the support columns, with excellent results.
‘Refurbished’ in Feb, 2013
So there you have it, the beauty and history of “Wasteland” in a nutshell. What was very evident in the photos is the amount of erosion that has taken place over the years. I did not think much of it until Phil Bee pointed it out when he re-shared these old photos with some of us again.
The work crew from 2009 with the then completed skinny
The work crew from 2013, note the amount of erosion that has gone on underneath the bridge!
The main culprit is the stream that wends its way under the bridge, and we all know how much rain we get in KL, not to mention the recent bout of extremely bad weather as well. In the photos, the area under the left span of the bridge does seem to fare much better without the stream going through.
If this amount of erosion was caused solely by natural causes, can you imagine the impact of bikes on wet and muddy trails? Not forgetting riders who drag their rear brakes just because they don’t know how to control their ride?
Learn the right riding techniques, come out and do some trail work, and then you will really get to enjoy your ride!