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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Dream High... Trekking the Majestic Mt. Apo I

     Last April 2012 I have climbed the highest mountain in the Philippines, Mt. Apo, the grandfather of all mountains and believe it or not, Im a newbie mountaineer. It was my first climb and my first summit. It was a do or don't decision on my part but I felt that If I wasn't able to do it now, I might not be able to do it anymore in the future. I came across this opportunity and now I have that chance, why not grab it.

      Being a first timer doesn't stop me to climb the Philippines highest mountain. I have only two months of preparation. I read a lot of articles and blog about Mt. Apo and how to prepare for such climb. It is a major climb after all.

     The first day was exciting, I have no idea of  what is ahead of us, I just prepare myself for that day, took the risk and pray. Whatever happens, it is my choice. We woke up at 5:30am, have a breakfast, take a bath in preparation for our three days trek and wait for the van to come. It's already 6:30 when the chartered van arrive and at 7:30 we are on our way to the mountain. 

At Kidapawan, take our breakfast
     We are group of 24 including the guide and porters. I and Jim John are newbies, Karen, the one I met at DMIA joined us even if her main purpose was not to climb. Lucky and his friend, the group of packer mountaineers (Deng, Erwin, Charlie, Mary, Dothy, Mara, Tita Leone, Mac Mac, Victor, Dell, and Chaym). , Mam Garnet and her porter Francis)Two of our companion, The porters, Bentoy and Paopao and our guide Jezer.  Two of our companion Sir Dan and Sir Bob came from US and has been a mountaineer since a long time ago. Sir Bob, 75 years old told us that he has climbed more than 5000 mountain around the world starting off when he was only 18 years old. 

         From Digos, a chartered van took us to Kapatagan Market for our breakfast, and from there a 4x4 multicab took us across rugged road to Mainit Jump off. It was killer trail as we experience bumpy, and dangerous maneuver, it was like you are riding a roller coaster, Big rocks, muds  on our way, this is just one hell of a side by side see saw ride and at a point it seems to stumble and fall but the driver easily manuever the multi cab.. It was one of the first challenge that Mt. Apo dare to give us. It as dangerous and yet exciting.
               As we arrived at Mainit jump off site, we packed our things up, did some stretching, warm ups and offered a prayer for safe climb and then were ready to go...

      The trail is easy at the very start, just like walking and climbing a little, trail was not a problem it was an open field and was very clear. It issurrounded by a farmland green vegetable plantation. We saw carrots, cabbage, radish, and other vegetable planted in the area  Some take a pause and take some picture of the mountain as we go along the way.

          After two hours of continuous hike, we arrived  at the  first campsite which is called Paradise. It was an easy trek.. Here we ate our lunch, rest and stayed  for almost two hrs and then were ready to go...

     Rain slowly falls we resume our trek, it took a while for the rain to stop we slightly saw Mt. Apo boulders and its peak adding excitement  to our hike. Narrow trail, thicker, dense grass and thicker mud was on  its way but still manageable. 

     We arrived at the upper paradise at around 4pm.  Here the rain fall harder and never stop. So we decided to camp on this site against our original itinerary to reach Goodi Goodi campsite which is four hours from this site. They pitched their tent at the vacant lot, while Me, Jim John, Karen and Madam Jean set up at the vacant "Kubo". 

        The rain continuously pour, the organizer serve us Corned beef and rice. The night was very cold and its a total darkness, we could hear buzzing sound, cricking sound  and can watch fireflies shimmer in the forest. It rain night long plus there were a chorus of frog, birds and crickets adding an amazing sensory experience that we could only experience in the forest. 

                                                                            DAY 2 

      We woke at 5:30am, breakfast was served and  its already 7am when left the campsite we were greeted by a mud show  along the way. It was harder than before and with increasing intensity and level up of hiking. There was a continuous uphill that was a treat for us. There was a time that we need to stop to refresh. We enjoyed the jungle scene and we were amazes of how things go through our sight. It was a long long long walk after all. We were greeted by scattered log make us walk, climb, jump that added to our hardship.  

   The transition from the grassland to the forest is abrupt, the trail become narrower and muddier. We could see a lot of stumbled tree along the way that makes it a little harder.  It is a gradual  then steep assault followed by descending. The trail became a little technical from here leading to endless up hilll. There were a lot of spiky plants , trees and vines which is very helpful in our climb.



       After four hours of hike we finally arrived at Baroring and rest for a while, from here it is 3-3.5 hrs going to gogi godi camp.We couldn't stay for long so we have to resumed our hike. The trail to goodi-goodi is more challenging , it was even more deadlier and trickier, more stumbled trees on our way, we have crawl, we have to jump in order to pass by, althought it is a gradual hike. 

     We passed by   a mossy rainforest and it took only two hours for us to reach Godi godi campsite from Baroring. Here we took a rest, eat our lunch and regroup. From here it would take four hours to reach the Peak using the Boulder trail.



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