Mt Pulag located at Benguet Philippines is arguably the 2nd highest peak of the country from which you will find
the famed "Killer Trail" by mountaineers due to its long steep slopes that is required to trek with scenic pine-covered slopes with a never ending ascend up to the heavens.
The challenge? Crossing rivers, traversing numerous hills with gigantic pine tress, diverse display of flora and fauna, chilling cold and vast area of terrains from grasslands to mossy forest are waiting to be conquered on my first major climb for 2012.
So it begins..
From the jump-off, 3 hours of trek is required to achieve the Eddet River refreshing place to prepare and analyze the trail ahead which is already somewhat taunting mountaineers. Here, mountaineers usually retire for the day after an exhausting rough road travel by using a jeepney plus the trek which serves as an appetizer for what is to upfold the other day.
By sunrise, the trail will be staring and is waiting for you. A daring assault climb awaits. A river cross using a hanging bridge will tell you that the challenge begins with a towering height of at least 200 meters above waterfalls will tell you this will be a long day.
Trekking for another 4 hours will take you to the famous "Marlboro Country" such name due to its brown-like wide landscape that truly mimics the cigars commercial on TV is really a moment to remember. Reaching it mid-day 12 noon is just enough time to enjoy the much awaited lunch!
Seeing the mountains like paitings while inhaling a cold breeze simply is rewarding. Taking a much awaited rest and hydration is the best next thing on this level. Analyzing the next trail ahead, being at 1900 MASL my hands are almost touching the clouds I can say this expedition is a potential stunner.
After a ragged ascent through the slopes with as much as 70 degree angle will take you yet again to the next terrain. This time, embracing the preserved age and tranquility of the mossy forest. This forest will let you turn back time, rejuvenate your senses, inspire your spirit to boost your drained morale as it whispering the beauty of what lies beneath this woods.
Two more hours of trek will literally give you the rare opportunity to touch the clouds. Exiting this forest will take you to the grasslands that will not only permit you to glance the summit , but experience the cold-bending , mind-shivering cold of Mt Pulag. Expect the rainshowers to swallow down all your body heat as the temperature lowers down to a merely 8 degress celcius.
Another 20 minute trek will take you down to view the "Saddle Camp" A place where mountaineers stay for the night to prepare their tent, cook dinner to warm those empty starving stomachs, perpare some booz to warm bodies and socialize with co-mountaineers. Due to the cold air and rain showers, most often than not mountaineers stay at their tents from this moment while taking the much needed rest for the summit assault the next morning.
Lights out generally happens by 8pm to 9pm to prepare to that much awaited sea of clouds! Waking up by 4am in the morning will be a general wake up call before the 30 minute summit assualt to the summit. Chilling winds as cold as -2 degress centigrade will greet you outside your cozy place. Headlamps light up as the group prepares for the assault.
Alas, a final 30 minute trek will take you to the summit. Doing this climb will be of a mix of hope and excitement. The priviledge of witnessing the sea of clouds will be at your subconsious up until you see it or not. At 2922 MASL , the summit will be meet. The famed sea of clouds are a rare site even for seasoned mountaineers. For best results, climbing this mountain by Janruary to March is advisable to witness this phenomenon.
Braving up the summit is a mere feat, and self realization of the mere fact the such beauty still exists in this world.
Seeing the landscape changes everything from this moment on to the persons life one way or the other.
Mountaineers who attained such level of completion will truly beg for more after this one.
A flashback to your first conquered mountain up to this moment will run up through your veins.
As it asks you.. Why do I climb? What is it for me up here?
Questions will be answered , Confidence will build up and Conquering is now in progress.
Will this mountain change you? Will this bring yourself to nirvana? Will it be worh it?