Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Solo Dawn Hike to Mt. Ampacao in Sagada

While on a seminar in Sagada, Mountain Province, I managed to squeeze a hike on the town's highest mountain. But to do that, I have to wake up at 4:00 am to start my trek by 4:30 am from the guest house. Understandably, it was all dark and quiet, as only a few souls are awake at that time.

It was a peaceful and not-so-cold early morning of 29 June 2013. I did not wore my jacket, but I brought my disposable raincoat, in case it rains. Though its dark and I'm unfamiliar with the trail, I felt no fear, except for those aggressive dogs who I thought would bite me as they got near my path.

The trail starts from the cemented road that leads to Ambasing Elementary School. Then instead of following the rough road to the left, a local man told me to follow the right road uphill. 

After 30 minutes, the weak sunlight started to illuminate the zigzagging forest trail, so I turned off my headlamp. But there is a thick fog covering the mountain, so I did not expect a nice view from the summit of Mt. Ampacao.

The village is almost covered by cloud as well, as seen from one of the trail's corner edge.

A water source is present below, but it has weak pressure, and I doubt if its safe to drink.

Later, I have to go under a wooden gate, a fixture which I suspect to keep the cows within the area. 

After about 50 minutes of hiking, I arrived at the wide grassland, which some hikers call as "rancho". Since it is an open and high area, it was very cold, and visibility is limited to just a few meters because of the very thick fog.

Here, I found many pitcher plants, which are smaller and not the vine type unlike those in Mt. Apo. It is nice to see them again in the wild.

A proof of the place being used as pasture area for cows.

There were burnt woods, so campfires may have been done here by locals during their hunting activities. Sampinit plants are also present on the area, but they don't bear the raspberry-like fruits at this time.

Below photo shows the trail that leads to the summit with the telco cellsites. I did not bothered to go there because of the thick fog.

After 20 minutes on the rancho, I started my descent, as I cannot bear the very cold breeze. Only then that the views got clearer, with lots of pine trees around.

Some more interesting plants and flowers. There are also many birds on the forest.

Sample of the road trail to the mountain.

View of the Sagada village as I approach the civilization.

On my way back to the guesthouse, I saw baguio beans just growing on a fence.

Fruits from an unknown tree along the way.

A rock formation when I made a short detour to see the limestone rocks on the gorge.

I would surely go back in Sagada to finish my hike on Mt. Ampacao's summit.

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