There’s nothing that’ll make you sweat more than a long hike through the jungle, which is exactly what we did on Saturday. McRitchie Reservoir is north of the city center and part of a nature reserve in the center of the island of Singapore. We made our way north on the MRT, then meandered through an upscale neighborhood of homes to where we thought the trail started. A resident Aussie directed us further to the exact trail location and we were off. Our goal was Treetops Bridge, suspended in the jungle canopy. Signs indicated we had 4.6 kilometers (2.8 miles) to go. Hmmm. In a steam bath like Singapore, that’s kind of a long way to go by foot. Not exactly what we expected. But we headed down the path anyway.
We’ve hiked in the jungle a few times before — searching out ruins in the jungle of Siem Reap, Cambodia and tracking gibbons in the treetops of Pak Chong, Thailand (while wearing the ever-important leach socks!). I have to say, there is nothing quite like hiking in the jungle. Were there not a path, it would be a maddening endeavor for as you go forward the jungle seems to close behind you. Your path of entry is erased, your sense of direction entirely unbalanced with no landmarks, and every inch of the jungle floor claustrophobic with plant life. It’s a marvel that people have sought out the Darien Gap (read: The Darkest Jungle) and survived jungle warfare (read: My American Journey by Colin Powell).
We saw lizards and birds and two big monkeys crossed our path. Eek! We know what to do if we see a bear… but Toto, we’re not in Tahoe anymore! Per the guide book, we were careful not to make eye contact or appear aggressive, but Jay had wondered earlier if it was okay to do your best monkey dance as you scratched your armpits and hopped around? Let’s not find out.
Four kilometers later, we came across the car park and realized we’d taken the long way ’round. A much shorter path would have taken us there far more quickly, with far less sweat. Better luck next time. We walked the last .5 km and finally arrived at Treetops Bridge, beautifully suspended super high above the jungle floor and well worth the longer journey.