Sunday - December 29, 2013
Despite having a short sleep inside our cute native Ifugao huts, our team had to wake up at 4 in the morning for this much awaited mountain adventure. Our supposed guide for this hike had been too reluctant and negative about our planned 1-day hike, saying that it was never done before. That's why we had to make adjustments in our itinerary, and start really very early.
At 5 AM, we're all set and ready. We called our guide to come over so we could proceed already, but he arrived late and only to announce he can't join us. Holy cow! But he promised, someone will come in his place.
|the kickass team, still waiting at 6 O'clock.|
(L-R: Koi, Doc Gideon, Coby, Daryl, Vince, Josh, Terence)
|ferns, shrubs, and grass, make up the early parts of the trail.|
|Spotted below us was one of Hungduan's pride. All the clusters of terraces in the municipality of Hungduan is a UNESCO World Heritage site.|
|Arrived at Ny-o campsite. The chilly foggy morning prevented us from getting the daily dosage UV rays. At wala kaming makitang view at full 360.|
Following the 5 mins break at Ny-o campsite, we entered a much denser woodland with hints of thick moss cover. And again, the trail was continuously ascending. More and more, as we go higher in altitude, and deeper into the forest, the moss cover of the forest grew thicker and greener. I know from that point, we've just entered the zone of mossy forest.
|ascending a dense mossy forest|
|With its extensive mossy forest, I have a great affinity with Mt. Napulauan.|
|Napulauan is a huge chunk of mossy mountain.|
|don't be surprised to meet sudden steep ascending trails.|
|a portion of log jam and obstacle course will also be met.|
At some point past the obstacle area, our guide mentioned that the summit is less than an hour away. And it's already within our sight.
|The summit of Mt. Napulauan. Konting tambling na lang!|
|the great Koi Grey, threading the trail to the summit|
It was 11 AM when we reached the summit of Mt. Napulauan. It was foggy, but would clear up from time to time, but that wasn't enough to reveal the nearby mountains. Given a very clear day, Mt. Pulag should appear to the south.
The summit has a small clearing, with a rock marker indicating the highest point of Mt. Napulauan. Also found in the summit area is a small tree which has become the photo booth of all Napulauan hikers. We were somehow forced to have a photo with it or else "you-did-not-reach-Napulauan-unless-you-don't-have-a-photo-at-the-tree."
|yours truly at the famous Napulauan Tree|
|the whole summit area. Quite resembles Mt. Tapulao, right?|
|the rock marker of the mountain's summit|
Everyone seemed to be charged up after the lunch break. It was already 12 noon, and we all know there's still a very long way ahead of us. We can't petiks just yet.
|prepping to continue the hike.|
|a haven of plant species|
|We were then greeted by thicker moss which is, for me, the best part in the whole traverse.|
It would be painful to miss all these goodness so we'd rather just stroll and pause at some parts to take photos. But later on, when sir Daryl and Koi Grey started pacing up, I was left with no choice but to keep up. I must say, their heels were blazing in speed. And to think that the great Koi Grey was injured at that time. Whew, halimaw talaga ng trail running.
The trail has gotten slippery when the clouds started to burst in tears, but we carried on. Also because of the downpour, the sleeping guardians of the trail were awakened. Waaah, limitaks all over the place! Mt. Napulauan just gained a spot in my top limatik-infested mountains list.
|When sandwiched by two swift-moving hikers: Koi Grey ahead of me, and Sir Daryl just behind me, I was left with no other option but also to pace up. Pressured!|
|limatiks! there were plenty of it everywhere.|
|ahh, the extremely muddy trail, en route to Hapao Village.|
|The extensive terraces of Hapao Village. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
|towards the end of our traverse, we descended the sides of this terraces.|
I thought we would exit to the grand terraces of Hapao, but actually, at the end of our hike, we found ourselves in the highway. Perhaps, it would be the case if we took the other way (the leftward downward steps). Nevertheless, we finished the traverse by 5:20 PM. Woohoo, another great mountain crossed our from the bucket list!
|Lucky to be able to catch a bus back to Hungduan Proper.|
We went back to Hungduan Poblacion to rest and have a well deserved celebratory dinner, and also to spend another night inside the native Ifugao hut. Tomorrow's gonna be a very long day, but numbing ride back to Manila.
My biggest thanks to Pinoy Mountaineer, and the rest of the team. 'Twas an awesome year-end mountain adventure.
Happy 2 fruitful years of hiking to me!