SNAPSHOTS FROM MT. PULAG
I’ve been to Mt. Pulag a lot of times, 8 to be exact. I started climbing Luzon’s highest peak in 2003 and from then on, I found myself trekking it almost every year. I already tried scaling it via the 2 most popular routes; 5 times in Akiki notoriously known as the Killer Trail and 3 times in Ambangeg which they call the Executive trail. I like Akiki trail more, not that I am a hardcore climber, but a hardcore nature lover. though it is more difficult and have longer trekking days than Ambangeg, it offers a more majestic scenery. The mighty Eddet River with the suspended bridge is one of them. I find the climb boring using the same route ascending and descending. I must enjoy the best of both worlds.
One of the advantages of climbing via Akiki trail is the proximity of the campsite to the summit. Saddle Camp is only a 20 minute trek compare to the 1 1/2 hours from Ambangeg’s Camp 2. Yes, I am a lazy stubborn climber. I prefer sleeping more or sip a hot choco drink instead of chasing sunrise that starts as early as 3:30 in the morning, trailblazing through dark narrow trails while gasping on thin air. And yeah, darkness is not my friend. During our last annual physical exam, I find it hard to believe that my vision with my glasses on is 20/20. I doubt it. I think that medical center was just fooling us.
Witnessing the “Sea of Clouds” phenomenon at the summit is not a promise. I am still lucky that my Sea of Clouds experience is 50% or that is 4 out of 8 climbs. That percentage is considered high compare to others I know. Come to think of it, If you are a first time Mt. Pulag climber and the Sea of Clouds is not there. Will you come back?
In 2006, I already experienced my worst climb ever in Mt. Pulag, when we were caught by typhoon-like weather (or worse than that) while traversing the mossy forest of the Akiki Side, it rained hard with roaring thunders and lightning the whole night. We spent the night at Saddle Camp with 6 inches ice cold water inside our tent. All of our things were all wet, submerged in water is the right word. Our dinner was only a pack of hot & spicy peanuts for all 6 of us inside the tent. One of our members already suffered from hypothermia, she was unconscious and her lips turned black. Two members didn’t make it to the campsite, they showed up the next day. The experience was not pleasant, but I consider it as added spices of my outdoor life.
Did I stop climbing mountains particularly Mt. Pulag after that incident? Hell No! I actually came back again to Mt. Pulag the following year and another 3 in the span of years. How can I resist not to go back with the beauty of Mt. Pulag?
You can also check out my other entry of Mt. Pulag here.