Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mt. Pinatubo... Again!

Eight months later, I joined my family for another Mt. Pinatubo trek. The difference with this trip is that a new 4x4 path was created called SkyWay. The 4x4 ride now takes much longer but the trek/walking part now only takes almost one hour instead of the previous 3-4 hours.As for the landscape, the biggest difference I noticed is how much greener the landscape has become. Before there was hardly any vegetation in Crow Valley. Now, some of the grass are as high as the 4x4 jeep. What hasn't changed is the number of fees you have to pay before you can start your Pinatubo journey. My 4x4 driver mentioned that as long as money is concerned, everyone wants a piece of the pie. Some of the fees includes:
  • conservation fee
  • tour guide
  • 4x4 rental
  • skyway toll fee
Along the way, you will encounter some local indigenous inhabitants, the Aetas. The drop-off point is where all the 4x4's park. There's also a shed and male and female toilets available. Don't expect them to be clean though because there is no running water.The journey starts with a climb down this incline which was bull-dozed from a sheer cliff. The climb down was extremely tricky because of the loose sand and rocks. The climb back up was even more difficult because the incline was more than 45 degrees in some parts. This was the most difficult part of the Pinatubo trek - the start and end! The SkyWay is actually short-cut. The trek will only take you less than 1 hour to get to the Pinatubo crator.As with my previous trek, when the path becomes greener, steeper and narrower, you are almost near the summit.Eight months has also made a difference in the color of the lake. It's now light blue instead of the darker bluish-black back in March 2007.The Pinatubo trek is now much easier. In fact, we even brought my 12 and 13 year old sisters along. It is no longer the punishing and gruelling 3-4 trek last March. The lake water is still freezing cold like it was back in March 2007. It doesn't get any better when you get out of the water because of the strong winds. Since it was December, we were not baking under the summer sun. Unfortunately, it did rain intermittently. My second trip was not as satisfying as my first trip to Pinatubo. The first trip was so grueling and punishing that it felt like I accomplished something after the trek. My second trip was so much easier in comparison.

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