Friday, May 26, 2017

A stroll from Bukit Timah to Zhenghua and back

The morning of 26 May 2017 was a good day for a stroll in the woods.  The skies were overcast but rain was not imminent (which meant a cool day). I made the impromptu decision to check out the trail leading to ZhengHua from Rail Mall.

My trail head started from Rail Mall playground access point to the Quarry trail. My side of Bkt Timah was still in the shadows and so the trail started on a cool note. Along the way, the MOE learning center was buzzing with the excited chatter of school children. 

I was on a familiar route and opted for the longer path that points to Zhenghua PCN, in the direction of Wallace Center. The trail was well maintained except for a couple of spot where the bushes have grown faster that Nparks could handle.

Carpark B was a 15 minutes from the Rail Mall trail head, a marker for me. Runkeeper’s Kate noted that I made 1 km in that 15 mins.

I did a right as the signboard said.   A dirt trail opened on my left after a 5 minutes walk. The trail was part cement, part gravel and rotted vegetation. It was a slight descent but my walking pole came in handy in parts that was slippery with clay.

A clearing opened up pretty soon and “Belukar Trail” running perpendicular to my dirt track caused me to pause. Right to Rifle Range Rd or left to Zhenghua? A young , sprightly couple came trundling from the direction of Zhenghua, freshfaced and excited. Should we continue or exit to Bukit Timah, they asked. Decisions, decisions.

I made a left turn heading to Zhenghua. It was a shared bike/hiker path , wide and level for walking. Belukar ran under Dairy Farm Rd and continued northwards beside the BKE. I was never too far from the expressway and felt assured that should I encounter trouble, help would be just steps away.  

It was an easy walk all the way to Chestnut Drive. The nature park turned into a typical HDB style park with its ubiquitous wooden tables and chairs.  In case you did not notice the change in landscape, big signs announced that you are in Zhenghua territory.

Now that I have accomplished my ‘goal’, I checked out the park for another 500m or so before turning back to retrace my steps. Up to that point, the distance completed was just under 4km.

At 10.30am, the clouds parted and I was grateful to be in the shade until I reached Rail Mall. It was a mini workout going back as the terrain has turned into a gradual and long ascent, though it was nothing I couldn’t handle.

Kate has turned from loud to glum and I totally forgot about my Runkeeper time keeper. It was only later that I realized Runkeeper has died on me and I have lost my logs for the past hour.

I would have concluded it with a happy note by buying lunch at Rail Mall but I discovered that I have left home without a single dollar on me. I have walked some 7km  but felt defeated because there would be no reward at the end of the walk.

It was a 7km saunter but perhaps the next time, I would try to reach Bkt Panjang and beyond at a quicker pace.  

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