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So you’ve had your share of being in the woods, probably it was during a school trip or a scout jamboree and all you could take away from the experience is that it’s really uncomfortable to ‘do business’ outdoors. And that was probably your only take on bonding with the wilderness.
However, camping as an adult is a totally different experience. With the rise of environmental awareness globally, it’s fitting for us to reconnect with mother nature and learn a thing or two which we might have missed as children.
The inaugural Hammock Camping Gathering was held in Lubuk Yu, Maran, Pahang between the 7th and 8th of November 2015 with a few objectives to meet; the toughest being the main one—to re-establish Lubuk Yu as an outdoor destination after 2007’s tragic plague of Leptospirosis(also known as rat catcher’s yellow, swamp fever or locally as air kencing tikus) that resulted in 6 casualties.
It was all downhill after that incident—Lubuk Yu deteriorated from a natural haven for campers to being misused by ‘’vice-loving’ visitors.
Programme director Laili Basir welcomes participants to the first Hammock Camp Gathering.
Programme director Laili Basir is putting in efforts to bring glory back to Lubuk Yu and make it better by raising the level of environmental consciousness via eco-tourism activities, including activities such as hammock camping.
Laili, who works for Taman Negara and an active member of the HUGS PROJECT (Helping Unfortunate Groups & Society) has a holistic vision, not only by improving Lubuk Yu’s public image but also by sharing survival skills and knowledge—as seen by the success of the inaugural Hammock Camping Gathering which attracted 200 participants, including campers from Syria and Singapore.
Hammock camping grounds.
“One thing is that I respect the campers—they still participated in spite of Lubuk Yu’s reputation. Most of them are hardcore outdoor enthusiasts, so I’m very happy to have them in my programme”, commented Laili Basir on the turnout.
The importance of having participants sleeping in hammocks is also so that no trees will be cut down or damaged in pursuit of recreation. The programme includes activities like a tree climbing clinic, the ‘leap of faith’ (with harness attached, of course), a Save and Swim Clinic and river tubing among others. These activities not only enrich the participants with skills and knowledge, but most importantly it also serves as a public reminder that Lubuk Yu is now Leptospirosis-free.
Participants setting up their hammock camps.
To keep up with the demands of the social media world, there were even photography classes—specifically for taking pictures of nature with your smartphone and light-painting photography.
Participants were taught the most basic and safest tree climbing system using the Double Rope Technique (DRT) and Single Rope Technique (SRT).
For those who are curious whether is it possible to have a good night’s sleep in a hammock, Laili explains, “We have professionals setting up the hammocks. They know the right setup techniques and they will show you how to lie down properly. Even if you’re on the heavy side, you can still sleep safely and well in a hammock without worries.”
Aquaputra Lifeguard conducted a Swim & Save session, another one of the event’s activities.
Fresh off rolling the hammocks after this first event, there has already been registration enquiries from Europe, the U.K and other parts of the world for the next one. A true success not only for Laili and his adventure events team, but also as a statement on how to replace the fear of stigma with the love of mother nature.
By Smek Almohdzar
Photos by Fad Manaf
For those who want to sample hammock camping, next year’s Hammock Camping Gathering is from 5th to 7th August 2016 but limited to only 100 local and 100 foreign participants. Check their events page for updates and information on how to register.
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