April 27th saw me being back again at Ternate, Cavite and squaring off against Mt. Pico De Loro for the second time in a month, only this time I’m with my running buddies – Team Runner-Up.
Well it would have been the same story except this time; we were going to traverse the trail from Ternate, Cavite to Nasugbu, Batangas and of course by now, I’m dead set to climb the Parrot’s Beak.
Early in the afternoon, the skies poured heavily and would not let up until around 5pm, the whole team met at SM Bacoor expecting what entails next – a muddy, slippery night trek.
Pre climb preparations at the jump-off and minutes before 11 pm, the night trek ensues. As expected of the trip upwards, the trail was unforgiving, handing us difficult maneuvers one after another with the team trying to avoid the slips, spills, and splunks.
Base Camp 1
The muddy terrain took a heavy toll on us, especially with our footwears as with every step, the mud that keeps on sticking at our soles accumulated, making our strides heavier. In fact, the mud claimed the shoes of a couple of my team mates, good thing my trusty rope was ever present in such situations. Nyohoho!
Four hours later and we found ourselves setting up camp near the peak. The climb would have been much more difficult if not for my gears. These guys were of much help:
- Deuter 40+10L ACT Lite – A good bag is essential, the first thing I’ve learned from my previous climb. The tech allows air circulation at my back (now that’s a lot of comfort), and the belt strap eases the weight of the pack off the shoulders (means I am not straining more carrying my stuffs).
- Sandugo SH1201 – Shoes! This would have to be my first hiking shoes, compared to the one I used before, which was a running shoe, this one did its job well. The soles were made of hard plastic rubber (that makes a stable footing especially on rocks and my foot didn’t ache all through the ascent), and the whole body was constructed expecting the shoes to be wet.
- Energizer headlamp – Having a headlamp instead of a handheld flash light frees my hands. This allows me a wider array of movements during the night trek.
- Rain Gear / Poncho – Though it would not be used until the next day, the poncho shielded me well from a heavy downpour during our descent.
There were fifteen of us who climbed the mountain that day, and we were organized in two groups. This division was designed so that breakfast preparations would be faster with two burners and two cooksets, and also allowed us a little bantering as to whose breakfast meals was better.
Group 1: Mang Ernie, Miss Mads, Arvin, Tintin, Basheshe, Jops, and Me (Doggie) – 7
Group 2: JCuenca (yes we were with a celebrity), Joey, Meg, Papa Bear, Kuya Chris, Angelo, CrisTy, and Onin – 8
During break camp, the group even had a chance to meet with Sir Tony (GN Mountaineers), with the Shembot Climberz (?!). Hats up to these fellas for their enthusiasm and of course for some great photos, we even shared a few moments with these guys before heading down, a moment which involved Arvin, and Isabel, and one which Tintin would like to forget. Haha! Boom!
Runner Up with GN Mountaineer
Runner Up prepping for the summit
from the back photo
Past the summit, the group continued the descent to climb the infamous Parrot’s Beak – yeah, that one monolith that we were not able to climb the first time. From the view of the summit the monolith would look pretty intimidating, which was not the case once you started the climb here. In fact, the only difficult part was on the steep section of the boulders where you have to grab unto a rope for stability, after that, it’s almost a walk on the park.
At around noon, and after a few minutes later we started our descent to the Nasugbu Batangas trail, this was a traverse hike after all. At Campsite we have arranged for traspo, and houses where we could freshen up once done – so everything’s set then huh? – Well except that it rained good during our hike downwards. Sigh!
My Muddy Trek Shoes
Living with discomfort was a fitting title for this article because by the time we’ve finished the trail, some of us were bruised, drenched in sweat and rainwater, lathered in mud, and just plain exhausted. It took us almost four hours to descend a trail that was relatively easier, though farther. Take Fives (rests) were kept at a minimum and we kept on marching until the finish line.
The heavy downpour gave us much trouble since we were on a muddy and slippery incline. Slips and Slides were unavoidable and every instance was met with laughter and jokes and our lunches were mere portions from our festive breakfast, yet this group endured.
Tramping (trekking plus camping) and Mountaineering isn’t an activity for everyone. In the middle of a hike, you can’t just turn around and head back home, you can’t always expect an ideal weather, and you won’t find convenience stores at camps. Being in a group or with buddies makes it easier because you share the responsibilities with your mates, but that doesn’t mean that you no longer need to pull your own equal weight. But for this noob who’s beginning to embrace a life of discomfort, I could clearly see the need to endure, and the need to experience whatever nature could throw at you. Cause at the end of the road, we are always promised a solemn sunset, a peaceful starlit sky, a mesmerizing dawn, a fear conquered, or an exuberant journey – kinda like life.
Till Next Time