Lost in Paradise: First Solo Hike in Mt. Kapugan

by - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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I am thrilled for this climb because it will serve as my first solo hike and my first hike in the north. The night before my hike gave me so much mishaps and I hope nothing worst will happened on my climb.

We were supposed to meet by 5:30 am at Barangay Ambabag but there are so much dogs that blocks my way, I know, this is too funny because I end up meeting her by 6 am. That’s the time I get to cross those dogs. HAHA!

Moving on, we stop by this house because my guide will borrow a bolo to be use to cut some grass for the trail. But it seems that there are no people there so we end up empty handed and continue our trek. It was 6:30 am when we started climbing.

The first part of the trail is crossing this bridge and then into the forest. There are no clearing so I am not expecting any clear sky on the summit but deep inside of me I know I am hoping for a great clearing. The trail consists of steep and assault and some single-use trail. 

I know, its blurred. :P

There are also few nipa huts and according to my guide they are the ones who prefer living there in the woods. I also seen some bat trap, she said some of the locals ate bats.

bat trap

The bat that was captured using the trap

First stop

As we go deep inside the forest trails became confusing. Honestly, there are no established trail during our climb. I asked the guide when was the last time someone climb this mountain and she said that the last one was last October 2015 (my climb was last March 2016). That explains. Climbing this mountain really requires a guide. If you notice, on my pants and top are plants attached to it, I don't know what its called but it is itchy and can cause papercuts so make sure to cover your skin when you plan on climbing this mountain.

some parts of the trail

some parts of the trail

some parts of the trail

plant you will see on the trail

some notable part of the trail which means you are halfway there

some notable part of the trail which means you are halfway there

I’ve been climbing almost every week and been doing my running training since November 2015 so I am pretty confident that I will finish this climb early. I am also doing a no-hydrate hike in preparation for my trail running in the future. My bag only has 500ml water and a biscuits. My target finish time is 11am.

almost there

By 8 am we are on the last ascent going to the summit. It was pretty fast according to her. And the good thing is I never drink any water! Ha! My guide left me for a while because she was examining the trail to summit. So I waited on this big trunk of the tree. 

This is the exact trunk

When she came back, that’s when I heard about the bad news. Trail is not possible, we need to abort unless I want to end up in the hospital or more so. I hesitate for a while, I think for fifteen minutes or so. I can’t decide, really. I wanted to continue. The last ascent will take us only fifteen to twenty minutes, I was that closed. My guide explains everything and I have to make up my mind and agree to her. There are some climb that you need to decide whether to continue or abort it especially if your safety is at stake.

Also, according to her, the hut on the summit that was constructed as a viewpoint area were burnt already, some says it was because of a couple who recently climbs the mountain but the police are still undergoing some investigations.

By 8:30 am we decided to go down. It was heartbreaking decision for me, knowing I was that close enough.

When we were descending, I notice that there are some flowers on the trail that I don’t remember passing during our ascent. And I was checking the time because it was almost 11am and we are still inside the forest and didn’t end up halfway down. Until we reached this dead end trail and that’s the time I finally realized that we are lost.

So we go back to where we both agreed that this is where we take the wrong turn. But still no luck. We stop for a while to rest because we are taking wrong turns and I did not bring any food or enough water. My guide make several calls with dialect I really don’t understand. But she informed me that she is calling for help and rescue. Good thing signal is very strong inside the forest. But before help came, we were able to find the right trail.

It was around 4:30 in the afternoon when we finally reach the jump off. It was one for the books, really. I really thought my first night in Ifugao ended all my mishaps. I was wrong. But it was a climb I will never forget for it gives so much memories that I will forever treasure and will bring to my every climb in the future. My first solo hike; what a memorable one.

With my guide

After my climb, I really wanted to visit the nearby falls, I think I need this kind of reward after a fail climb. Next post will be my encounter with one of Ifuago’s falls. 

I really hope that locals or authorities will make action on this mountain, according to my guide, when they establish a trail they make a blockage on trails to avoid confusion but during our climb there are several wrong blockage that is why we end up on the wrong trail.

1.     Expect worst. I don’t know if it’s a good thing but base on my experience yeah it is. At least we are ready for whatever will happen.
2.     Bring enough water, no matter how confident you are about yourself and no matter how strong you are or pro you are on climbing, you may never know what will happen.
3.     Bring enough food. Why? Read number 2.

4.     Always be ready. For whatever comes your way you have to keep calm and work on whatever you have and whoever you are with.

xBelow are some of the photos

Below are Mt. Kapugan

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  1. i never ever tried a solo hike neither solo travel. kelangan talaga may kasama ako kasi walang kukuha ng shots.. hahahha! Good job... keep on reaching the peak..


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