Wednesday - May 1, 2013
Our plan was to traverse the twin mountains, starting from Mt. Kalisungan in Calauan, through the ridge that connects the two mountains, then finally, finish the hike in the San Pablo side of Mt. Atimla. This could go up to 10 hours, hot and energy draining trek, according to Doc Gideon, as it is still somewhat exploratory.
So at 6 in the morning, after traveling from Manila and meeting with Kuya Bino, the group of 12, which Doc Gideon assembled, began the day's adventure.
I wrote before, based on first hand experience, that this mountain is notorious for having a chain of confusing trails. During my first climb here, we were so lost for about 2 hours, already hacking our way up the summit and almost totally ran out of water (read the story of my first ascent in Mt. Kalisungan in this link). I'm glad we still made it to the summit safely despite all the troubles. I was only 20 back then, too young and daring, my lack of experience and thirst for thrill made me go on that hike of luck and uncertainty.
Anyway, Mt. Kalisungan is among the early mountains that thought me valuable things in mountaineering. It made me realize that hiking without a guide, however thrilling, won't prove anything. Getting a guide won't make you look weak or lily-livered. With or without a guide, it still boils down on how well you spent your golden time on the trails.
|on the way to the summit|
We passed by a lot of fruit trees (with no fruits yet), two kubo (huts), a bamboo grove, before finally arriving at the final steep assault to the summit at around 8 AM. It then took us several minutes to surpass this challenging assault. Sobrang nakaka-hingal talaga itong part na ito ng Mt. Kalisungan.
|the newly trimmed grassy summit of Mt. Kalisungan.|
The clear day revealed to us the peaks of Banahaw and Cristobal directly southeast, Malarayat Range, Makiling and a faint Maculot to the southwest, then there's Tagapo and Sembrano of Rizal Province to the north. Not to mention, there's also the seven lakes of San Pablo City. The summit of Mt. Kalisungan is indeed a good vantage point to view all the surrounding nearby peaks and waterforms.
|my ever favorite Mt. Makiling as seen from Mt. Kalisungan|
|intense heat at the summit of Mt. Kalisungan.|
It was this mountain, and not Mt. Kalisungan, that made me feel excited in this day hike, simply because it's a new mountain to me (my 44th unique mountain in my Kabundukan Page). The type of trail that would welcome us and the view from its peak kept me wondering.
|view of Mt. Atimla as we descend Mt. Kalisungan.|
|The steepness of the trail gave us the challenge we've been looking for.|
|given that the trail was just one week old, it's still not so clear, .|
|into the confusing forest of Mt. Atimla|
|rest time while others are busy fending off the red ants|
|A house in the middle of the twin mountains|
|the summit of Mt. Atimla as seen from the isolated house|
|not only did we have a hard time looking for the right trail to the summit, the humid air made our trek not that easy.|
|the rarely seen east face of Mt. Kalisungan as seen from the trail of Mt. Atimla|
|chilling time at the summit|
|Mt. Cristobal as seen from Mt. Atimla.|
|Mt. Atimla's forest of confusion|
|on our way to housing, in Brgy. Curba, Calauan, Laguna.|
|Mt. Tagapo and Mt. Sembrano as seen from the easy trail|
|Mt. Makiling also seen from the trail|