Sunday, October 9

Mt.Ugo on a Skyrun

PSA Team at Tinongdan Barangay Hall
My usual weekend, I am not in town again, at this time I am on the slopes of Benguet, to do a skyrun at Mt. Ugo. This is going to be PSA's final training run for Kinabalu Race, a skyrun to Mt. Ugo. We arrive Baguio already cloudy and before we travel for Itogon, it was already drizzling. This is going to be a rainy skyrun for 20 runners, the biggest group among the several past training runs that we had.

Mt. Ugo, Itogon Trail
After the registration, coffee and final preparation at Tinongdan Barangay Hall, the group proceed to the jump off, stretching and final briefing, who will be with the lead, mid and tail end of the group. The usual pace, I am with the mid pack with Nina at first, then with  Glenn and Carlo. I've been to Mt. Ugo several times but it's always going down on this trail, and  last June while I was with the Baguio Climbers, it was via Ambasa, so I really do not have any clear recall of the exact trail on this route.

A misty trail to Mt. Ugo
I tried to keep  pace with the tail end of the lead pack, at first I keep a sight of them but as we go further they were no where to find. I just follow my guts, especially after the fork of the trail that goes to Lusod and the other trail to Ambasa, the last part of the trail that I've been to last June. I remember Kuya Mimis saying it's a trail going all the way up to slope of the mountain.

It was when we were lost that we just enjoy the view
It continued to rain but it's not very cold because we continue moving as well. There were times I run alone, until Glenn catch up with me in the fork trail of Lusod, then Carlo showed up, I cannot figure out where the right trail is, will it be going  to the community or the right where there is a fence and to the pine trees again. We decided to go the left trail but it leads again to the fence then to the gate, we decided to get inside the gate until we met a man after the terraces. He gave us directions where to go. After several minutes up, we decided to take our lunch. The view of the mountain being wet from the rain and the fog on the pines trees is just really beautiful. How I wish we can stay longer but it's getting colder. We put on our jackets and keep moving.

A rainy run for all of us
It was on the last fence that we miss our turn, we made a right turn instead of going left. With this the trail was going down, until we come to a fork again, going left or going down. But before making a final call Carlo and myself can't hep but notice the view. It's just simply beautiful with the face of Mt. Ugo in front of us, with pine trees painted on the slopes of it with several falls flowing, magnificent view, Carlo said, this is just like Boulder, Colorado. That started our conversataion about beautiful places in the US, we had the same list of places to visit someday and surprisingly the same set of athletes we look up to. After taking pictures we decided to go with the downhill trail until we reach a small community of just around 3 houses. We are facing on the peak of Mt. Ugo but we are way below it.

Nice trail
We saw a river and a bridge, we tried to look for a way across the river. Now we call ourselves, the group of three 'sky explorers'.  It was here that we realized we are lost. Glenn decided to go back while Carlo and myself decided to explore the place, we know we will not make it to the summit of Mt. Ugo anymore, having less than two hours left on our turn around time. Just when we are about to move down to the river, a lady from the community called us, kind enough to lead us to the right trail. She lead us to an uphill trail, given our time left, Carlo and myself decided to make an early turn around and proceed back.

Green terraces at this time
We just follow the trail we used earlier, thoughts playing on my mind if the trail that the lady pointed us is uphill, which means the right trail is up on the ridge of the mountain slope, where did I made a wrong turn. I can't seem to figure out. After the hilly part, it was already a run on the trail with Carlo. It was a good training run going back with rest stop only to take pictures of the view  and to pee. Despite our fast pace we did not meet Glenn, I was thinking probably he met  Nina and decided to join them instead of going down. We meet 3 local kids and saying he met a guy on all black. So it's Glenn, he continued going down but he's really fast, we did not catch up with him despite our fast pace. Until we met the local that gave us the right direction earlier, he asked if we reached Mt. Ugo. 'No, we got lost', our reply.

the highway to Mt. Ugo
It was then we know where we made a wrong turn, a left turn supposedly , we made a right turn. We continued running down, until we met with Mayan and Erl. We asked them about Glenn but they did not see him. Oh, is he lost? It's a long stretch going down, but we just continued on. We reached the trail end ahead of the rest of the group. Until few minutes later Alex arrived, there are only four who proceed to the summit, Glenn is an accounted as of the moment. We decided to wait at the barangay hall. We are wet and it's getting cold.

Crossing the bridge on a speed is a challenge
Of the many trails on the  way to Mt. Ugo,  some of us got lost, some was earlier on the run,  on our case it was on the few hours before the turn around time, one almost fall the raven, one got dizzy, most of  us may not made it to the summit of Mt Ugo but it was good training run after all. The view of the slopes of the mountain painted by the pine trees with the sea of clouds is really beautiful. Thanks to TJ Isla for leading this trip, to Alex Cinzon for offering his house as our wash up and for the great food and to PSA for another good run. 'Til the next adventure.

Total trip expenses: PhP1,430.00

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