A week after our postponed twin-climb in Batangas, the mountainist Ivan took the initiative in making up for the lost time and planning effort by letting us hike with him in the craggy and sharp rocks of Tarak ridge, a well-known spot for hiker-wannabes like me. Hence, making this my first major climb. Take note, though, that this is not your typical walk-in-the-park type of adventure as tough trails and deadly cliffs are out and about.
I tried my best to capture what my lens and film could see, while treading the forty-five degree slopes of the trail. Here are some of the selected unprocessed photos from my camera.
Days and nights before the trak, I was patiently monitoring the PAG-ASA website for any possible disturbances in the weather because I want to make sure that we'd be hiking on dry soil (I learned after the trek that the weather won't always be on our side so it's best to anticipate the rain everytime I go climbing). Luckily, we were given a very pleasant morning after we started walking from the jumpoff point.
A very long dirt road stretched through a semi-rural housing, with the peak towered in the background. Green thickets and canopies started to crawl above the trail, until we were completely enveloped by the dense foliage.
Time check: around 10:00am, we reached Papaya river, in which according to my companions, could be a good source of potable drinking water and a place to freshen up.
Roughly an hour and a half after Papaya river, a continuous uphill trek is required to reach a point where you can rest and prepare for the final assault. Of course it wouldn't be so fun if we won't take photos, so we took time for a short photoshoot. Haha!
A symphony of root systems helped us climb the almost vertical assault of the mountain. For nearly an hour, we were literally clinging on roots, branches, grass, leaves, dirt, rocks and anything that could propel us up the steep hill. Like a light at the end of a tunnel, a clearing showed itself at the far side of a rock outcrop. From there, overcast sunlight bathed the tall cogon grasses while swaying to the monsoon winds of the West Philippine Sea. At last, a little more and we're on the ridge.
According to pinoymountaineer, the ridge offers an almost perfect 270-degree view of the Bataan peninsula, including corregidor island (on the photo), manila bay and cavite city. Unfortunately, a barrage of clouds swept through their private thoroughfare, depriving us of the promised view. Our team also abandoned the idea of climbing the peak which is nearly an hour uphill.
Open and constantly beaten by strong winds, the ridge campsite is a good place to spend the night if you're looking for a hypothermia challenge. The temperature in this elevation at during nightfall could be threatening; that is if you are planning to sleep naked outside. Kidding aside, it's really cold especially during this season.
My super trusty white rubber shoes. A little out-of-place, but did not fail me! :D
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