There's no other choice but to take this lone trail full of thorny bushes and tall blade-like talahibs. Beneath our feet was an army of ants willing to give you the itch you'll never wish to experience... Mother Nature simply put up her vilest defenses on this last leg of the traverse...
I, together with my blogger friend, Christine Fernandez of jovialwanderer.com, joined Pinoy Mountaineer and his friends in their Mt. Damas Traverse Dayhike last Sunday (July 15, 2012). I am a big fan of Pinoy Mountaineer blog, so there's no reason for me to decline an invitation from him (sino ba naman ako para tanggihan ang isang Gideon Lasco).
Sunday - July 15, 2012
It was 12 MN, me and ate Christine decided to meet Gideon's group at MRT-Q.Ave. Both of us were excited, aside from the fact that it is our first time to join a hike arranged by no less than "THE" Gideon Lasco (woohh.. fan boy mode ako), it also served as our reunion climb (the last time I climbed with ate Christine was during my 2nd climb - Mt. Maculot dayhike - wala pa akong kaalam-alam noon sa mountaineering, marami akong napulot sa kanyang techniques hence, I consider her one of my hiking mentors). I did not bother reading and researching for this mountain, since we were with the master of hiking itineraries naman.
By 12:30 AM, the whole team was aboard the hired van and we're now bound for Camiling, Tarlac (travel time lasted only for about 3 hrs or less)
At Camiling, Tarlac, four dudes from GAME-NEST joined the team.
| GAME-NEST is a Tarlac-based mountaineering group that explored and created the trails to Mt. Damas. applause to them.
Hiking up Mt. Damas (Papaac-Papaac Circuit)
We were supposed to ride a truck from Camiling town up to Sitio Dueg (the main jump-off), but the truck we were expecting did not show up. Thus, we were compelled to go to Brgy. Papaac (the alternate jump-off) to take the 2 hours longer route.
To start this historic dayhike (yup it is historic because according to GAME-NEST, we're the first team to attempt a traverse dayhike on this mountain), sir Emman of GAME-NEST briefed us on what we're going to expect on this mountain. His words sounded like a not-so-difficult hike, so I can't help myself but to underestimate Mt. Damas. At exactly 5:30 AM, our trek commenced.
|easy trail huh?|
|Sunrise while trekking - awesome|
it is said that if we're on the summit at a very early time, we might catch the sea of clouds
|our first river crossing|
|After about an hour, we stopped at this first hut, there's a water source nearby.|
At the junction (left descending trail leads to Mt. Damas; right ascending trail leads to Sitio Dueg) near the lonely mango tree, we met a family heading back to their home at Sitio Dueg. According to them, they came all the way from Pampanga by foot (yup, BY FOOT) because they have no money for fare. grabe lang.
|Accoring to Chad of GAME-NEST, they discovered Mt. Damas because of this tree.|
|the 3rd hut.|
If I counted it right, we encountered a total of 6 huts throughout the traverse.
|with the clear sky comes a very hot sunshine :) because of it, our trek became a bit more challenging. Buti na lang protektado ako ng aking sombrero.|
|river trekking for 15 minutes|
|then to the 4th hut,|
here, Doc Gid was discussing about his future hikes in the nearby Mts. Bungkol Baka and Tangisan
|Talahib everywhere, wearing a pair of arm warmers/long sleeves is highly recommended|
|At 10:00 AM, the sun's heat was excruciatingly painful to skin. extra challenge.|
|We rested for 5 minutes at the campsite just about 100 meters before the summit. Kanya-kanya kaming hanap ng masisilungan mula kay Haring Araw dahil SOBRANG INIT..|
|our final assault before the summit|
|Sitio Dueg as seen from the summit of Mt. Damas|
|Doc Gideon at the summit.|
o ha, caption him
|Doc Gideon with the GAME-NEST dudes. Big thanks to them.|
Then on the 5th hut (20 mins from the summit), we decided to stop for lunch and rest as well. Doc Gideon was even joking that he wants to steal my wide brimmed straw hat and bring it atop Mt. Amuyao. haha. Dapat daw mahirapan ako - kung alam mo lang Doc Gid, sobrang nahihirapan na ako sa Mt. Damas na ito, hehe.
|the 5th hut - lunch break|
|So we trekked along the river,|
|then we reached Si-el Falls (also a good falls, but shorter than Ubod Falls),|
|then climbed these rocks,|
|and vwalla, Ubod Falls at last, so high so great.|
At around 2 PM, we decided to carry on with the trek to complete the Papaac-Papaac Circuit. I really thought the trail beyond Ubod Falls wouldn't be as hard as the previous ones, but I was so wrong again.
Just 10 minutes from the falls, we ascended a very steep trail. It was so steep that the mountaineers started calling it the "Cardiac Trail".
|buti na lang merong great view ng Ubod Falls from the trail.|
|slide na lang.|
|end of our steep misery|
|hop lang ng hop sa mga rocks|
Then for the final leg of the Papaac-Papaac circuit, we assaulted the seemingly Mother Nature's final line of defense. We had no choice but to take this lone trail full of thorny bushes and tall blade-like talahibs. Beneath our feet was an army of ants willing to give you the itch you'll never wish to experience (up until now as I write this article, sobrang kati pa rin nung mga kagat ng langgam sa hita ko)... Mother Nature simply put up her vilest defenses on this last leg of the traverse.
|hands up talaga, tusok tusok yan pag binaba mo|
|petiks na pero pagod na kami|
|it took us 10 hours and 30 mins to complete the first ever traverse dayhike on this mountain. Congrats to us.|
|To celebrate our success, GAME-NEST treated the whole group with pancit, ice cold softdrink and a yummy tinola dish.|
My big thanks to Pinoy Mountaineer for inviting me in this awesome dayhike, sobra po akong na-challenge. Read Pinoy Mountaineer's Hiking Matters #282.
To the whole Mt. Damas Traverse Team, you guys rock
To GAME-NEST dudes, thanks for guiding and hosting the whole group, you guys rock also.
17th Mountain Completed