“ Camp John Hay has forever been my playground and among it’s old school charm is the trails that surrounds it. It’s surrounded by Pine Trees and gives you peak of the neighboring mountain ranges. I got to explore the wet and muddy side of the trail this time around. #TheTaleOfTheTrail brings you to one of the more refreshing things to do in the City of Pines. ”
I’ve been aching to hit the trails but since it’s rainy season, it was a bit difficult finding the right time and trail to trek. I’ve found a small window with the long weekend. I also had another incentive since I have the a new Trail Shoes, with special thanks to Newton Running Philippines, in the Newton Boco AT. I’ve been drooling over this shoes since I first saw it early February on the preview of new products that would be available in Runnr and Toby’s. I was expecting that I would be trying it on dry trails for a first use but the weather had other plans for me. I arrived in Baguio with constant rains, which would make the trails extra-slippery and really muddy. I guess it would be better to test the shoes in tougher conditions and let’s see how it performs.
I’m a fan of the Newton Technology when it comes to running shoes since it’s more efficient and it comes in really flashy colors. Newton uses the forefoot lugs technology. The forefoot lugs gives you an added push of the toe coming from a mid-foot landing making your stride faster, longer and more powerful. It helps you develop a natural mid foot landing and also functions as ladder to ease the climb and a cushion to minimize impact of the landings. It really excites me how that technology would do on trails.
Map and Elevation – Day 1 (EcoTrail)
The trail begins at the paint ball area in Ordonio Drive, Camp John Hay fronting Le Monet. It descends to the Butterfly Sanctuary area on the first 300 meters of the course. There is a short climb before a steep descent of about 20 meters on wet stoney path and wooden planks for the next 300 meters. The route climbs about 40 meters in the next 500 meters of forest paths. It goes rolling for the next 400 meters going to the old main gate area and returns to the start of the course which is mostly downhill except for the climb back to the paintball area.
Trekking The Eco Trail
Camp John Hay Trails is one of the easiest trails to navigate but since this is in Baguio City, expect lots of climbs. There are many ways to explore the trails and for this one I choose to do the eco trail which is about 3 kilometers out and back course starting from the paintball area. It was a rainy day and still was drizzling when I decided to just brave the cool and rainy weather to hit the trails. I’ve been on this trails on drier days and it tends to be slippery even with the slightest rain. So it would be a great test of traction for the shoes.
After descending from the paint ball area which had the wet soil supported by wooden planks, you get to see the Butterfly sanctuary area. After a short climb, you go to the trail area with the hays covering the wet soil. The thing about the rain is that it also gives the place a much greener feel and heightens the scent of pine. This area descends on a trail mixed with soil, limestone, wooden planks and puddles of water. I was jumping from one solid structures after another and getting down with the mud puddles at times.
The area after the puddles of water then descends to an old wooden bridge with streams of water under the bridge. When the surfaces are wet, gravity works against you due to the slippery terrain. Thanks to the traction of my shoes, I didn’t have to worry about slipping here. I was in fact enjoying skipping from one step to another.
After crossing the bridge, the other side was a climb on a more solid terrain. I went on to run this part as this is a good way to strengthen the quads and at the same time test the traction of the shoes.
This was one of the longer stretches of the climb. The view was constant and you just have to stop a while to appreciate the view of the forest and the pine trees surrounding it.
It was time to continue another round of lung-busting climb on man made steps. I really took advantage of the climb for the work out.
The trail shifted to a slightly elevated terrain and I wanted to do this one faster with a smoother and stable terrain. I really wanted to see how the push of the toe form the forefoot lugs of Newton would feel in this terrain. It was really more efficient running.
After this area, I would be closing in the u-turn slot which is the old main gate of Camp John Hay. It was a big drop in terms of elevation and a short climb. That big drop would also mean that you had to climb that part again.
After the sharp drop, there’s the climb. The elevation always balances itself up on a out and back course. It was tiring going up again but except for this part most of the route is heading downwards.
The road back was much easier with the downward path. On the way back we also found a stream of water by the side of the trail. It had an enchanting feel to it and I went closer to check it out.
There were paths across the stream of water but I’d rather leave that for future and much drier visits. It was time to head back to start and to finish this part of the trail.
Map and Elevation – Day 2 (Yellow Trail)
The route started at the Manor until the entrance of the trail beside Le Monet (opposite end of the Eco Trail) for the yellow trail. The trail about 500 meters from the Manor with a climb towards the yellow trail. The trail goes on rolling for the rest of the yellow trail for the next 2 kilometers. The route shifts to the American Residences area with a view of the neighboring mountains for the next one and a half kilometers. The trail ends at the Tree Top Adventure area, where you have to ascend about 60 meters of the trail and the stairs going to the Scout Hill area of Camp John Hay and descends back to the manor to make it a round course.
Trekking the Yellow Trail
I started earlier on the Yellow Trail in hopes that the trail condition is better since it usually rains in the afternoon. 500 meters into the trail, that assumption was totally wrong as the continued rains from yesterday left the trails extra muddy. I would have wanted to go back but seeing the path of mud I have to go through on the way back was worst.
There were two options for this trail. One was to descend downwards and later on climb back again and one that goes straight and rolling. I decided to just take the simpler trail since I already have to deal with muddy trails. I am not certain on the conditions of the trail on the longer route. The goal was to find another way out of the trail which was less muddy.
While I have no problem getting muddy on this one, I just wanted to minimize the impact so I had to jump from one safe area to another and move faster on soft spots. The route shifted to a single track and still had the mud all over the place. About one and a half kilometers after, there was less mud though the area was still slippery.
I was alone on the trail with a few bikers enjoying the muddy surfaces on their mountain bikes. I guess, I’m the only one not smart enough to avoid the trail at this condition. Turning back was not an option as I’ve already gone past the muddier part of the trail.
There’s more solid grounds now. The view of the Pine forest was always a welcome sight and you get to see the some old bridges and streams of water. I took the opportunity to clean myself up on the streams of water. I’m glad that the shoes were water resistant so I didn’t have to worry about too much water or dirt entering the shoes.
The trail was more tolerable now with fewer mud puddles to worry about. In no time, I was back on solid ground and on my favorite part of the trail. From the yellow trail, I went straight to the area of the trail with the view of the mountains. Being on the higher part of the trail, this one was drier than the lower part. The road is by the side of the mountains with Pine trees by the cliff side and the neighboring mountains as the view.
I really want to go to this part so I knew that the muddy part and the climbs were just obstacles. I slowed down at this area to appreciate the view. It was worth it.
This was also a flat terrain and much easier to navigate because it’s well paved and view was just splendid. It’s the perfect area to speed up. Just be careful as it’s beside a deep ravine.
The trail goes on with this conditions for about a kilometer until you see on old wooden bridge. This is my usual turning point for an out and back course. They’ve also reinforced the side which can double as another passageway. Since I didn’t want to go back to the muddy part, I decided to go on with the trail.
For some reason I selected the creaky old bridge and it was scary as there were nowhere to hold on to in case something fell off. After crossing it, I realized I should have just used the easier and more sturdier structure at the side of the bridge. The trail had a different look at this point with the return of the muddy grounds and more of a wild forest look. You can see some of the Tree Top adventure ride at this point.
As I entered the tree top area, I took one last shot of the mountains and went out of the trail, which was not an easy way to exit as you go through a steep climb of about 60 meters until the Scout Hill area.
I then made my way to the Manor area to make it a rounded course. I hope you enjoyed the second #TaleOfTheTrail offering and I hope to feature more trails here. As for the first impression of the Newton Boco AT, it had good traction, lightweight, water resistant and is efficient with the forefoot lugs technology. It’s a really excellent weapon of choice. I hope that I have enticed you to try the trails as it doesn’t require you to be a fitness junkie to navigate one. I hope to hear your #TaleOfTheTrail too.