Gunung Kinabalu. 36 x 54
1. This mountain is in Sabah, Malaysia. In the Malay tongue the word
"kina" means China, and "balu" means widow. This massive spire of raw
granite that dominates North Borneo is named to commemorate an exiled
empress of China who wept and died there thousands of years ago. I
presume the legend of weeping widow comes from the freshets of crystal
water that fall from the bare summit into the heavy jungle below.
Near the equator, at 13,500 feet, there is no snow on top, although I
saw frost there when I flew by it 30 years ago. The water comes from
the nearly constant heavy rains on the peak. Last October, Roz and I
were lucky. The heavy clouds parted for an hour while we were on the
trail from Kota Kinabalu to Ranau along a ridge of 5000 feet. Across
the wide valley, the great widow showed her weeping face in a shroud
of mourning white. Across her shoulders folded a dense cloak of rain
forest, the growth of 5 million years.
2. Another time Wilson
wrote: In Malay "Kinabalu" means "Chinese widow" and is the name of
the great granite spire standing almost 14,000 feet above the jungle
floor in north Borneo. From the time I first saw it as a pilot in the
Army Air Corps, 30 years passed, yet its awesome beauty remains
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