Friday, 22 July 2011

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo

a sight to behold

Definitely not for the faint of heart...! 

Conquering Mt. Pinatubo has been at the back of my mind for years. But never got around to doing it because I dread the trek on lahar valleys under the heat of the summer sun. Gone where the days when I'd say yes to a trek in a heartbeat.

Then, some friends suggested Pinatubo for May 1. Mustered enough courage to do it thinking that there is a shorter trail, so organized a group for the said day.

Just a few days before the trip, we were advised that "skyway" (the short trail) is still closed for repairs. So we have to do the 5.7kms trail and back! With no other choice, decided to go and just enjoy the adventure....

4x4 ride across Crow Valley
Oh what an adventure it really was! A total of 2 hours 4X4 ride and more than 5 hours of trekking on hardened lahar, boulders and streams under the extreme summer heat. I could not fathom why am I subjecting myself to such agony! The result? tired and aching feet, sore leg muscles, thousands of calories burned but really beautiful photos and realizing that I can still do it despite my not so younger years anymore. As for Gia? well, she got tired, but no aches and pains at all the following day...ahh youth! :)

Lahar valley
...the trail..
suk tahp
Walking through the lahar valley was like walking in a desert. Hot, humid and arid. No shade except under big boulders or the shadow of lahar mounds that look so fragile it feels like it will crumble anytime. The  trail is beautiful in a strange way.  You pass by lahar mounds several feet high that  dwarfs the trekkers, some bare, a lot with some form of vegetation, a lot of "suk tahp" along the way maybe to mark the trail, sulfur deposits oozing from under the ground, several streams to cross that leaves you with wet cold feet and about a gram of sand/lahar on your feet all the time. 

As the guide said, the scenic sight changes every year, especially after the rainy season, as the mounds shift and move or disintegrate due to heavy rains. So what I might have seen may not be the same by now or by same time next year.