Trekking adventures

by | October 22, 2013

Ramanujam Kalimuthu is not letting age get him down when it comes to enjoying beautiful scenery, and flora and fauna.

BY: Joanne Tok


Muthu at one of the peaks at Sungai Lembing, Pahang.

Sixty-eight-year-old Ramanujam Kalimuthu (for short, Muthu), a retired teacher and currently a part-time school counsellor with the Ministry of Education, started trekking in his 30s and got quickly addicted to it.

He lives by the belief that it is important to “treasure your health and keep yourself active to enjoy life in your twilight years”.

Ageless Online speaks to this grandfather of one about his trekking adventures including coming face-to-face with ferocious baboons in South Africa and climbing a glacier in New Zealand:


When did you start trekking and how did you pick it up?

I started going trekking in my early 30s but became more active after my retirement in 2004. I used to enjoy gardening in my kampung days, and that led me to an interest in nature. Through that, it developed my appreciation for beautiful scenery, flora and fauna, and hence got into trekking as it allows me to enjoy the beauty of nature along my journey.


Can you share your first trek?

I went on my first trek to Nepal, in 1965 when I was in my 30s. I trekked up to Pokhara, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Nepal. It was very tiring as it was my first experience. The sight of the Himalayas was mesmerising, as I went up to Sarankot, where there was a panoramic view of Himalayas overlooking the city of Pokhara. 


I understand that you trek three to four times a year. How do you prepare for each trek and what motivates you to trek each time?

Muthu cooling off at a waterfall in Cameron Highlands.

I hit the gym at least three times a week, consistently throughout the year. It helps me to improve my cardiovascular fitness and strengthen my muscles so that I can manage the rough and tumbles of trekking. It can be tough along the journey but the the beauty of nature is what keeps me going, wanting to trek each time.

I try to go to new places all the time. All my destinations are unique in its own way and I enjoy all of them. There aren’t exactly any favourite places I’ve got as every destination has got its own set of adventures.


You are also a member of the YMCA Adventure Club and the Singapore Nature Society. How has these organisations helped you in your trekking?

They organise adventurous and educational trips regularly for their members. So far I’ve gone on trips with them mainly to Malaysia and there was one to Sandakan (Sipilok), in Sabah. These two organisations have enthused and enlightened me to appreciate the beauty of nature and how precious they are to our everyday lives. 


Any interesting trekking experiences that you could single out?

The one that was probably the most frightening was climbing a glacier mountain in New Zealand (which I think is Franz Joseph Glacier which was 12km long). While on the way up the glacier mountain, there were many tumbling stones and ice which would definitely cause serious injuries if hit and even death, if you fall off the tracks. The danger was intimidating at that point in time and was one of my most memorable ones.

Muthu enjoying a cultural dance with the natives of Kazan, Russia.

Another incident would be coming face-to-face with a pack of ferocious baboons in my safari hut while I was in South Africa. I didn’t heed the warning of the wardens and kept my windows open allowing the baboons to come in. It was really a close-up, face-to-face encounter which sent chills down my spine. If the baboons had attacked me, I would have probably been seriously mauled or injured. So much for being gung-ho! Luckily, I managed to shoo them away with a wooden branch which I happened to have at that time. It was definitely an adventure to remember!


Any advice for those who want to trek regularly like yourself? Do you think age should be a limiting factor?

There is no age limit for adventure. As long as you have the interest and passion to enjoy what you are doing, anyone can do it!



1 Comment

  1. simon grange

    It is so heartening to read that people like Muthu are still embracing life and seeking new challenges despite their very advanced years.


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