Saturday - June 6, 2013
Aboard a bus bound for Nasugbu, Batangas, I was thinking, "kakayanin ko ba ang Nasugbu Trilogy challenge, Batulao-Talamitam-Pico De Loro?, may MakTrav pa ako kinabukasan!" With a mindset ready for the three mountain challenge, I sat comfortably at my seat, and soon fell asleep. The next thing I knew, we're almost at Evercrest.
Mt. Batulao trail run.
It was around 6AM when we alighted the bus in front of Evercrest Golf Course, the popular landmark for all dyhikers of Mt. Batulao. I'm with a group composed of many new faces, anyway, I'm just a joiner in this event organized by a friend.
From the highway, we rode a trike up to the jump-off, and once there, I started kicking on the trail. Mt. Batulao is a mountain I am very familiar with. In fact, it's one of the easiest trails close to Manila. So definitely, running the trail, old to new, can be done very swiftly.
So I did it, started at 07:10 AM using the Old Trail, finished at 08:45 AM using the New Trail, this of course has breaks in between.
The weather was pleasant that day, I even saw the peaks of Mt. Mariveles.
|Pleasant day at Batulao|
|green grassy Batulao|
|while waiting for others, the advanced group had a Goto break at the kubo.|
We waited for the rest, and filled our tummies with authentic Goto Batangas. The food was too good and we did not realize that an hour had passed already. Oh no! Any more delay would certainly ruin the itinerary.
So my friend, the team leader, decided to carry on without the others.
Mt. Talamitam and the confused weather.
We arrived at the jump-off of Mt. Talamitam at 12 noon, almost two hours late from the original itinerary. There, I saw more new faces joined the group.
|group shot at the jump-off|
Again, I'm still too familiar with Mt. Talamitam since I did a hike there a little more than a month ago. A quick ascent from the river would lead us to a lovely green grazeland. The open grassland was the hardest part as it was a very hot day, despite the dark clouds we saw from afar, about to engulf the summit of Talamitam.
But we carried on.
|the weather was still awesome when we came out to the grassland...|
|but a few moments later, dark clouds were seen ahead. confused weather noh?|
|taking a break at the summit.|
|meanwhile, it's raining on the other side of Nasugbu.|
I rushed back to jump-off to prepare for the third mountain which is Pico de Loro. It was already past 3PM. Apparently, night time would caught up with us at Pico de loro. So I looked for my headlamp, checked here and there, "where's my headlamp?" It was too unfortunate that I don't have my headlamp with me. sighs
I don't want to be the groups burden, so I opted to stop there and let go Pico de Loro. I bid goodbye to everyone and hopped into the first Manila-bound bus I saw at the highway. Well, I have Maktrav the following day anyway.
end of story.
It is actually not a bad idea to hike again those beginner-friendly mountains (difficulty level 4 or less) every once in a while. I'm referring to the minor mountains where most of the hikers from Metro Manila got hooked to mountaineering for the first time—the likes of Maculot, Batulao, Talamitam, and Pico de Loro. Hiking up these "mother mountains", as I preferably call them, often brings back the good sweet memories of our very first climb, sadyang napakasarap alalahanin.
But as time goes by, with more difficult mountains coming our way, we become stronger and more experienced, until eventually, those easy mountains that once made us sweat and suffer would be no more than pieces of cake, petiks climb na lang 'ika nga.
Because of this, we yearn for more challenging hikes, we yearn to experience something new. We try to test our very limits and see how well we improved from the time we started facing the mountains. Because of this, mountaineers take the challenge of a double day hike—hiking two mountains in a day.
Double dayhikes, or for some, twin hike or combo hike, has only one goal — finish two mountains in one day. Either completing two neighboring mountains in a vicinity (i.e Nasugbu Twin Hike: Batulao and Talamitam), or a long continuous traverse of two adjacent mountains or peaks (i.e Kalisungan-Atimla Traverse, or Manabu-Malipunyo Traverse). More often than not, these above-average hikes are done by experienced mountaineers.
How to Successfully Do a Double Dayhike?
Just like in planning a simple dayhike, a mountaineer must take into consideration several points.
How to get from point A to point B? Is it even possible? When planning for a double dayhike, the team leader must be sure that hiking the two mountains is logistically plausible. The two mountains, if they're distant from each other (near yet still far), should be linked by a mode of transportation, either public or hired vehicle. For instance, doing a twin hike of Batulao and Talamitam is painlessly possible since there's a highway connecting the jump-offs of both the mountains. Renting a van or taking the jeepney that plies the route makes a Nasugbu Twin Hike logistically possible.
Of course, since double dayhikes are expected to be long, the team leader must consider the trip schedule if they're commuting.
Double dayhikes are long hikes, thus, the group must have the right amount of resources. Food and water that are just enough for the day or what the body requires. Overpacking is overwhelming, and it's a terrible thing as it will surely slow you down, remember you're on a 2-mountain-in-a-day hiking quest.
To avoid overpacking, the group must know if food or water sources will be met before or middle of the hike. Be it a store, a spring water, or fresh buko.
Not that we're underestimating the abilities of budding hikers, but speed and endurance are key skills to make double dayhikes successful. Any delay caused by easily worn-out participants might slim the chance of completing the twin hike, or worse, end up not reaching the second mountain.
Joiners must be fit, determined, and seasoned to take the challenge of this above average hiking. If possible, the TL must screen his participants before letting them join.
• Difficulty and Length of the Trails
We all, probably, aspire to get promoted to hardcore level of mountaineering, and do it effortlessly like Hercules. But our bodies are mere mortals, it has physical limits. Learn that we are taking risk and life is at stake if we overdo it. If the mountain trails are lengthy (at least 8 hours of trekking required), do not attempt to combine it to another major mountain that also requires long trekking time, well, unless you have superhuman speed and endurance.
Tips and Tricks
• Leave at the jump-off, if possible, your extra load. Packing light is the one of the key to complete a speedy double dayhike.
• Bring only the right amount of water and trail food. If possible, take heavy meals (i.e. lunch) only when the first mountain is completed.
• Limit the photo ops.
• It is preferable to do double dayhikes on mountains you have previously hiked already. There's always a big tendency to spend more time at the summit and ponder the moment if it's your first time there.
• If you're the TL and you're having a problem with some of your participants (can't keep up with the rest), give them an option to not to pursue for the second mountain and politely tell them that if they push through, they might jeopardize the group's objective.
That's it pansit!