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Soon after leaving the bamboo forest and the Fourth Shelter Carson's Camp is reached at 2,651m (8,700ft). This is a small clearing on the ridge crest with an abandoned hut where wild raspberries (Rubus lineatus)grow in profusion. It is a good place to stop and have lunch and relax in the cool mountain air.

At about 2,438m (8,000ft) one first sees LOW'S RHODODENDRON (Rhododendron lowii), with magnificent heads of large peachy-yellow blooms, up to 30cm (12") across. The main flowering season for Rhododendrons seems to be November to January, though a few can be seen flowering almost all the year round. The GOLDEN RHODODENDRON (Rhododendron retivenium) is also seen in the bamboo forest but lower down. The pure yellow flowers of this species are easy to confuse with Low's Rhododendron but the leaves of the Golden Rhododendron are smaller and much narrower.
From Carson's Camp the trail climbs steeply over an out-crop of ultrabasic rocks. These rocks give rise to a distinctive yellow. Almost orange-coloured soil containing an unusually high concentration of toxic elements such as nickel or chromium. Only plants that have adapted to toleiate these elements will survive. Consequently, the vegetation changes abruptly as the LEPTOSPERMUM or TEA-TREE (Leptospermum recurvum), locally called 'sayat-sayat', a shrubby tree with small greyish leaves and starry White flowers; and the Southern Pine (Dacrydiumgibbsiae), one of the southern hemisphere conifers, become the most abundant trees. The large and ornate MOSSY PITCHER-PLANT (Nepenthes villosa), up to 25cm (10") long is fairly common in this locality by the side of the trail. The delightful little green MOUNTAlN BLACKEYE (Chlorocharis emiliae), with a distinctive black eye can often be seen in this area and as far up as 3,810m (12,500ft) dipping its beak into the rhododendrons and other flowers.

Just before the Fifth Trail Shelter at 2,896m (9,500 ft) one climbs over the first rock outcroppings, to a view looking back down the mountain towards the Park Headquarters. On a clear day, glimpses of Kinabalu's jagged peaks, towering far above, can be seen through the trees ahead. Here sompact bushes of STAPF'S VACClNlUM (Vaccinium stapfianum)with conspicuous showy red young leaves and the HEATH RHODODENDRON (Rhododendron ericoldes) begin to appear. The small red tubular flowers and tiny leves of the Heath Rhododendron are distinctive and it is found only on Kinabalu.

Shortly before the Sixth Trail Shelter is reached there is a short track leading off to the right to a helipad. If the sky is clear, a really magnificent view of Kinabalu can be seen from here and it is well worth spending an extra 10-20 minutes on this detour. Ten minutes walk further on brings you off the ultrabasic soil and to the Sixth Trail Shelter at 3,109m (10,200ft)

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Created 06/28/98 by
Last Updated 06/28/98
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