HINDHEDE NATURE PARK – a tearful reunion with monkey woman

Hindhede Nature Park is right next to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. In fact, when you park at the public car park for BTNR, the entrance to Hindhede is right at the same car park.

The Hindhede is a Danish family name (roughly pronounced “hin-d-her”) and the Hindhede Quarry at Bukit Timah Hill was named after Danish civil engineer Jens Hindhede. The Hindhede Nature Park opened in 2001 and, in contrast to the more popular, steep route to the summit of Bukit Timah Hill, was designed for families with young children. Its short trail starts from the Visitor Centre and runs in a loop to the Hindhede Quarry only 90 metres away.

Located next to Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, Hindhede Nature Park features a variety of activities catered for everyone. Scenic and serene, it is an excellent spot for bird watching, trekking or simply taking in the best nature has to offer. With easy trails and well-defined footpaths, the park is ideal for families with young children and the elderly.

Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the view of Hindhede Quarry, which is located at the end of the park. Alternatively, go for a hike on the park’s many trails and try to spot the park’s many inhabitants including the Banded Woodpecker, Clouded Monitor Lizard, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and Plaintain Squirrel.

With a rich diversity of flora and fauna, Hindhede Nature Park is a great “outdoor classroom” venue for teachers to conduct lessons. For those who enjoy physical challenges, there are several adventurous play areas located around the park.

I arrived bright and early. It had poured in the early morning but the sun was peeking out just for me when I arrived.

I had my wireless earphones on and decided slow tracks would be in order to suit the tranquil settings.

Yesterday from the Beatles seemed appropriate.

The waft of crisp wet vegetation and the tranquil serenity of the woods invaded my senses.

In no time at all (and this surprised me) I reached a hut called “Lookout Point”. This was just overlooking the beautiful Quarry and I stopped for a few moments taking in the stillness and the panoramic beauty that was the Quarry.

Through the barricades came on.

It was just me there and this really old geezer who was seriously practicing “Chi Kung” and other intense pugilistic moves.

I decided to leave before he challenged me to a death fight Shaolin style.

The other parts of Hindhede were scenic and pleasant enough. I began to understand why the park description says it is suitable for the elderly and young children. The paths were short and well paved and easy to navigate.

Highway run
Into the midnight sun
Wheels go round and round
You’re on my mind

Journey was belting out “Faithfully

I was seriously getting into the zone but again it was no time before I reached this bridge with a sign which showed that I was being led to the Visitors Centre of the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve.

Wow – it has barely been 15-20 mins. Hindhede is really small.

So ok looks like I’m going up BTNR again.

I had mixed feelings. The last time I went up there was this Romantic Interlude with Gertrude the Monkey Woman.

But I had bailed and I felt bad about it.

Everybody needs a little time away
I heard her say
From each other

Even lovers needs a holiday
Far away from each other

Hold me now
It’s hard for me to say I’m sorry
I just want you to stay

Those of you who have been to the BTNR will know that the first 200-400 metres will be the most strenuous, and it gets better after that.

The first stretch is this steep slope upwards that makes me pant like an exuberant hog and remind me of all my gastronomic sins and what a lard tub I am.

Just how steep is it ?

Its so steep that when coming down, your quads are worked to the extreme as you have to pull back to stop yourself from running down that steep slope.

Folks resort to walking backwards in both directions (up and down) to fight gravity.

Paul McCartney was mocking me with “The Long and Winding Road”

It wasn’t long before I was approaching the Summit.

Actually, the distance between the start point to the Summit using the simple paved road is just 1.3 km one way.

It is the steep ascent that makes it tiring.

Coming down from the Summit, I couldn’t help but notice a little side trail so I took it.

The beauty of the trail overwhelmed me.

My yesterdays are all boxed up and neatly put away
But every now and then you come to mind
‘Cause you were always waiting to be picked to play the game
But when your name was called, you found a place to hide
When you knew that I was always on your side

Sheryl Crow and Sting was crooningAlways on your side”

Shit – lots of steps but at least it was going downward one way.

Spoke too soon.

I was straining and heaving.

Don’t give up on us, baby
We’re still worth one more try
I know we put a last one by
Just for a rainy evening
When maybe stars are few
Don’t give up on us, I know
We can still come through

David Soul came on

I came to this weird bridge. Hmm what’s that funny structure? A tomb of some sort ?

And hey – that’s the smallest waterfall I’ve ever seen. Cool cool.

Everything was looking strange. I was light headed for sure.

Ohh- cute baby monkey!

What are you doing here all by yourself buddy boy ?

Wait – am I feeling paternal ?!

“Poppa … are you my poppa ?”

I blacked out.

Hey!, if we can solve any problem
Then why do we lose so many tears 
Oh, and so you go again 
When the leading man appears

Hall & Oates were doing a soulful version of “Every time you go away”

I slowly opened my eyes.

Gertrude ?”

“Darling you ran away. And you never called”

“Yes I know and I’m sorry. It’s just that I can’t survive on fruits and berries and ……..”

” Did you miss me?”

“Yes, yes I did. Every time I went to the market to buy coconuts, I feel nostalgic and weepy …..”

“I’m late”

” Late for what? You’re a monkey how hectic is your schedule … wait … what ?

This is unreal – did I ?

My foggy brain cleared up and I arose from my slumber.

My eyes cleared

“Wait – you’re not even Gertrude! You’re a baboon for god’s sake”

“It’s yours Duke ….”

” Wait ! Whose’s Duke? I’m not Duke……”

“My father liked you”

“What are you talking about , I never met your father “

“He took a picture with you”

“Dude ! That was taken in London in a subway ! And that is a gorilla and you’re a baboon ! Is this some sort of scam ??

“Ok ok Darling I’m not your Gertrude but stay with me …. I can see us growing old together ”

“And we will make beautiful babies”

And for a moment I wavered.

It’s true I’m not the same person I was before. In recent times, I’ve felt little connection with people.

I could feel myself changing…

I could afford to live a healthier life.

I could be buff staying in these woods.

But then again I could sit and scratch my ass all day and run out of shape

” Look Babs this is purely exploratory but if I do this, we have to dig some proper latrines. And twice a week we have to go and eat some of my favourite food like this …

She ran away shrieking.

I really have to stop taking this damn steps.

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