Sunday, May 29, 2011

THREE PEAKS: Mt. Gola

San Miguel, Bulacan


First Challenge: Traversing Mt. Gola
By: Heinz Lopez Alvarez, Jr.

Team Backpackers and Friends

May 19, 2011 - The group met up and gathered at ES Transport Terminal in Cubao, Quezon City; when completed, boarded a bus bound for Cabanatuan. The travel from the terminal to Brgy. Kamias in San Miguel, Bulacan ate two hours of our Day One. Noontime was a pleasure seeing our nice guide again, Kuya Al (who was also our guide when we had our first Madlum adventure). And, good thing that a jeepney, which took us to the jump-off at Sitio Madlum of Brgy. Sibul, was already waiting for the group. It parked in front of an eatery where everybody bought his lunch meal.


At ES Transport Terminal in Cubao












In a bus on the way to San Miguel, Bulacan











 
Jeepney ride to Sitio Madlum of Brgy. Sibul












Finally at the Jump-off, Sitio Madlum












All set!
Reaching the jump-off point definitely heightened our excitement. We reached the Sitio at around 01:00 PM. After agreeing to have the baggage transported to the other side of the river by a raft, we proceeded to  crossing the river by the Tyrolean Traverse.

The backpackers Lead Ivan and guest climber Gwen transporting the baggage on a raft.


Everybody enjoyed the Tyrolean Traverse and it was a good appetizer for this two-day adventure!

Marion
 
















Alex

Angel

















Clue













York

Contz














Frank



















Weng
Andie




















What we always liked at this jump-off is that it has a multipurpose center where  we could change, cook, eat and have quality rest. Restrooms were also made available for visitors for a very minimal "maintenance-fee". After the physical warm-up with the Tyrolean Traverse, we had our fun lunch, prepared, and went on to the main course.

At Madlum Association Multipurpose Center

The trek and climb to Mt. Gola took almost two and a half hours. Our guests who were first timers were able to manage the course to our first peak goal despite of some challenges.

"It was a very tiring walk. The scorching heat of the sun was burning our skin and our nape, and  was drying our throats so we always have to request for a 5-10 minutes rest from our trek guides to hydrate..." ~ Ralph Flores

It was the "Backpackers' company" that made it manageable for them, they said. We crossed the river twice and had average uphill climbs. Ka ' Tonying, one of our two guides  provided our girls with trekking poles (tungkod made of bamboo) that supported and helped them in balancing on difficult ascending paths.

Lovers Angel and Ivan crossing the river
Good thing the current was not a life-swiper!
Our guest thought it's easy!
The trek.

The climb.

The climb.

Finally, we reached Mt. Golas's peak. It was a huge rock formation and everybody was able to set foot on the top seeing the refreshing view below. For us, who are thankful to have the opportunity of climbing other peaks in the past, each mountain has a different beauty to offer. So, after achieving Mt. Gola's peak, we, especially The Backpackers Lead, Ivan Ignacio, were very excited to bring our guests to another peak and give them the challenge they were ready for.
























Led by our two guides, the group started to complete the traverse. It was an easy descend by the other side of Mt. Gola. The sun's heat had started to diminish. Verdant views were fascinating on that other side of the mountain. And, everybody was looking forward to reaching the second peak goal.

Our worry, though, was- it would be dark already and we have to cross the river several times before even starting the actual climb to Mt. Bagong- Bali's elevation...



Want to know what happened next to The Backpackers and Friends as they complete the Three Peaks Challenge? Read the next entry "Second Challenge: Be Among the Firsts at Mt. Bagong- Bali".



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