Sunday, 12 February 2017

Mount Maculot

Today for my last exploration in the Philippines I went to a nearby mountain called Mount Maculot. Information on it was hard to find being mostly based on tours from Manila but I decided to take a chance and get a jeepney to the town of Cuenca below it.
Luckily there was a roadside stall where you could hire a guide and sign in. The woman warned me that it would take 5 to 6 hours.

After walking up an increasingly steep road we struck off into the forest. For about 45 minutes it was relentless. Steep, humid and slippy, I used up nearly half my swear words. Eventually we emerged onto a more open ridge by a couple of wood and tarpaulin shelters my guide declared to be "Campsite".

Then it was a stroll along the ridge to the base of what they call The Rockies, a small rock outcrop with views over the lake, and an easy scramble to the top.

Returning to  the Campsite my guide asked if I was going to the summit, I said yes of course and we set off the other way along the ridge.

The way to the summit was like the first part of the hike but far more pleasant thanks to a breeze blowing. The summit itself, I'm sorry to say, was not spectacular. A muddy clearing in the woods, higher than the surrounding ground but without any views to speak of.
After that I was led onto the traverse and it got interesting.
For an hour and a half we descended ridiculously steep and muddy trails through the trees, slipping and sliding down. Well I slipped, the guide strolled casually down 45 degrees of wet mud with sandals on his feet and his handsin his pockets. In places the only option was to go hand over hand on a rope tied to trees and use it to lower myself down.
Eventually we reached the end eof the traverse at a grotto - a small statue of the virgin Mary in a little stone shelter. From there it was mostly steps down to the road.
I was about to apologise for being so slow when I looked at my watch. The 'six hour' hike had taken three and a half.

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