Wednesday, March 21

Bokod Trio - On a Sky Run

Since the year started, I only had one minor super short night trek  climb and that was never  followed  at all.  I had a race on a trail but it was in Hongkong on a park away from the city. But aside from that I  really haven't been to any real climb nor trail run on any part of the country yet. And I miss it, I miss the scenery, I miss the smell of the mist in the forest, I miss the challenge.  Just  the opposite of  how active I was in the mountain last year at almost the same month. This time, my weekends had been so occupied with road runs mostly longer distances. I hope to strike a balance as the months will unfold between running,  trekking and rock climbing. 

This weekend is really for trail run, no matter where the  mountain be, I really allocate this as my practice run for my upcoming TNF100 trail run more than a month to go from now. I wouldn't have that much time to practice anymore.  What I have been doing lately are mostly road runs,  which I need to balance it with trail. So with the announcement of PhilSky for a recon on this place, I decided to join together with my running mates who are also running the TNF100. With my legs still fresh from a 50 kilometer road run last weekend, I thought of just making this trail run an easy relax pace for me.

Three major mountain peaks, a 3 day climb itinerary, a distance of 30 kilometers from the jump off at Japas traversing to Bokod Municipality Hall, with the highest altitude elevation of beyond 2,000+masl, together with the Philsky members and friends,  we did it in 9 hours and 30 minutes.

Our adventure started with a two hour jeepney ride from Baguio proper to the jump off. Actually we traverse the same road as that of going to Mt. Pulag but what is so exciting about this trip is that even before midway to where the jump off is, all of us already feel dizzy and nauseous going through the zigzag road. I myself do not know how long can I hold before reaching the jump off place. A stop over at midway restaurant is such a great help but Iam still dealing with headache and nausea until we arrive at the jump off area.

After few minutes of stretching from the bumpy ride,  we started our real adventure with the uphill trail visible from the road. The mountain slope is covered with tall huge pine trees making the single trail conducive to running/trekking even on a sunny day. As we traverse the slope higher the single trail becomes wider until we reach to the top of the hill on the first waiting shed, as we move further we reach a school at Mangakew.

A first sign of community. Beginning this area we trudge a rolling rough road of flat, uphill down hill slope until it leads to a newly open road carved just beside the mountain slope. It's a long one, the other end visible as we go along the road covered by mossy forest. It's cold despite the sunny day. While running on the road, the view is just beautiful seeing the other mountain slopes with contour painted by the green lush  forest. Upon reaching the third waiting shed is a left uphill turn to the mossy forest. This starts our adventure inside a dense forest with branches covered with thick moss. The guide said there are leeches but I am lucky I did not see any. It's cold inside the forest and one can hear chirping of the birds. Until we reach the peak of Mt. Pack. The lead pack has been waiting for us for 45minutes already, it's cold and the view is beautiful up there. The local cleared the area though and made some man made structures such as chairs and benches for visitors like us.

After several minutes of photo opt at the first  major peak, we proceed to the next peak, Purgatory, it's a slope going down still inside the pristine mossy forest. Running down is just fun, until we reach the open  trail with bushes around, now the group reach Purgatory, open place with hut where we have our lunch. There are latrine as well that each climber can use. After lunch we proceed to Mt. Komkompol, the way to the highest among the the major peak. The trail to this peak is varied, inside the forest then it leads the an open pebbled trail beside the mountain trail to the trail under the big pine trees to an open trail again, going up going down passing through a mossy forest again until we reach the open cleared view deck. Some of the trees are cut and benches are made to give way to visitors like us. On the right of the view deck is a view of Mt Pack and the mountain range where we come from on the left is a view of Mt. Pulag and the community of the Municipality of Bokod way way below the mountain slopes. Our guides said this will be another 3 hours of descend on some single track trail beside a mountain slope full of dried pine leaves making the trail challenging.

After several minutes of rest and photo opt, the group start the very last leg of this  skyrun (that is what we or I thought). It's going down but not really all the way going down,  on the first few kilometers inside the forest there are  still  minor portion going up until it reaches a trail   under the huge pine trees on the side of the mountain slope. And truly this is just all the way going down. And since I run next to the lead pack (sweeper of the lead pack) and sort of lead to the mid pack, on this portion of the trail I run just alone. There are portions that trail is just too near to the cliff and there are also part that the descend is just to direct and with dry pine leaves its just really slippery. I thought if I overshoot myself on any curve and fall the cliff no one will really see me for I am alone.

At some portion that there is a fork, I just have to read the trail look for marks and trail signs before I proceed with the run. I ma way far behind the lead pack and I just do not know how far is the one following me. I just take my time enjoying the beautiful view and  running the down hill slope following my instinct where to go especially on the area where there are already few houses. Good thing upon reaching the part with many trail I see the lead pack on the trail at the other side of the mountain slope. Sign language worked and I followed their instruction. After crossing the last bridge the trail is now wider, some vegetable plantation is now visible. After some kilometers of the downhill slope the trail leads to a rough road. The lead pack stop for there is a water falls below the rice plantation, but I  said I'd rather see the food than the fall, the rest agreed to that idea and off we resume with our  run.  At first we thought it's just near and we thought we will just take it easy and walk, but once you are on the downward slope, I just can't help but on a running pace again.

We already meet locals going back to their homes, it's getting late and we are still far to our final destination. After the downhill rough road comes a cemented still down hill road. There are already houses, people are already wondering where we are from, there is already a jeep and a sari-sari store that we get soda to boost our energy for the last stretch of this adventure. But that did not happen soon. A combination of road and cemented road, after the downhill part, is now a flat road. Our target is the Municipality of Bokod, it will get dark soon, we did not run any longer, we just walk until we see the community which we assume already where we should go. With patience and just telling stories on the very last part of the walk, we finally made it before it gets totally dark.

That was one hell of a great trail run for me. I just love the trail,  I love the terrain, I love the weather, I love the mountain, I love the view and I love the company. That makes me so so so happy. It feeds not just my body but also my soul. We survive a day of adventure in Purgatory and come out alive....

My expenses; less than PhP2,000.00 for the 2 day trip. Thanks to the subsidy made by Philsky group.

One thing about this trail, with a clean and clear wide trail from bushes, I can wear a three forths tights on the trail. There wouldn't be bushes that I may get allergy from.  

1 comment: