” One of the things I was looking forward after finishing my marathon was hitting the long slow trails and it finally happened on my birthday weekend. There’s something about trails that’s humbling and satisfying as you slow down from the frantic pace of life to admire nature at it’s raw form. ”
- TBR Dream Marathon
- Radar Run
- Baguio 2WENTY 1NE
- The North Face 100
- Year of the Franc – 8
- Way Back Home to Baguio
Loving the Trails
Last year, I did a 10K run in my home town on my Birthday Weekend via Baguio 2WENTY 1NE. Since I promised to give myself a month’s break from serious running, I went back to Baguio to hit the trails. I love the long slow trails as it’s a prefect venue to de-stress and unclog my thoughts. Nothing refreshes the mind and the body like the fresh breath and the appreciation of nature. It’s time to hit the brakes and appreciate life with a refreshing walk in the trails of Baguio City.
Camp John Hay Trails
I’ve been trying to familiarize myself with Camp John Hay’s Yellow Trail and have explored it during The North Face 100 and Choco-late de Batirol Trail Run Trail Run and explored it again on Christmas and New Year via solo trail runs. I’ve arrived in Baguio in the morning of Saturday and went to sleep immediately to be fresh for the trail in the afternoon. I was accompanied by my cousin’s husband and started late at 4 pm.
Since this was an easy paced workout, I switched the usual compression to a very comfortable walking shorts which was partnered by my trail shoes, Berghaus Cuerra Cuesta Multi-Activity Shoe. Though the trails are not so technical at Camp John Hay, I still prefer Berghaus for maximum traction and comfort on trails. The goal was to explore more of the yellow trail so started in the horse back riding station which leads downwards for about two kilometers before a lung-busting 1 kilometer climb worth 100 meters of elevation. The lower part of the trail has some streams and of course, a lot of pine trees while the upper part gives you a view of the nearby mountains.
The top view is my favorite part as you get to see the views of the nearby mountain ranges across the pine trees while navigating the narrow trails. There was a broken down bridge after a kilometer which means it’s time to turn back. There was a cemented portion at the side of the bridge so we used that path instead and so we continued.
The succeeding area is a bit rougher and challenging which led us to the tree top adventure area. This means we could already exit from that point. I suggested we take a kilometer of trail before heading back so we did that and returned before the downward part of that trail. We then excited at the tree top adventure area to end the trail.
And then I said, did you know that there’s another trail at the butterfly sanctuary area and my companion said, let’s do that too. So instead of ending the trail, we did the new one and it was another climb. This one was deeper towards the upper part of Camp John Hay. The problem was it was getting dark and we were lost in the woods. Thanks to the GPS Maps on iPhone, we figured the right turn to end up at the old main gate of Camp John Hay before it went dark.
I went home just in time for my joint birthday celebration with my pamangkin who shares the same March 9 birthday. I really didn’t want a celebration this time as I am trying to cut down costs but a time with the family is important too.
I wanted to do the pure trail path of Mt. Cabuyao for a different take of the climb. I am familiar with the road already from Radar Run. I came this time with my sister and my inaanak. We started a bit late coming from last night’s party and we had problems where to park at the trail starting area. We ended up parking at the nearby police station mid way in the road going to Cabuyao. This one was simple, follow the road and climb, climb, climb.
We started at 8:30 am for the climb and since the elevation was a real challenge with 45o meters of elevation over the next 5 kilometers of the road. Though the area is isolated, the development of the area is impressive with paved roads up to the radar and the the summit. The morning sun was warm though tolerable for the climb. We took the climb real slow on a walk and rest mode. Even at walking pace, the climb is punishing.
After around 20+ minutes of walking, I asked them to look at the road at the lower side and said, that’s where we came from and this is our 1st kilometer. My sister was in disbelief that it was only a kilometer. Even at that area, you already have a clear view of the city from a high vantage point. Honestly, I didn’t know how many kilometers it would take to reach the top since we started at the middle. The distance from the bottom of the road at Marcos Highway to the top is 8 kilometers.
The climb continued and by the time we reached kilometer 2, we got used to the climb and started moving faster. The view also gets better as you go up further. This time you can now see rich forested area, the birds eye view of Marcos Highway and the nearby mountains. We get occasional peeks at the top as the road is going around the mountain. There were also some terraces plantations along the roads. There were also some alternative and challenging trails to the top but we stayed on the road.
At the 3rd Kilometer, we felt that the top is near as we can see the radar at some areas but it was still a few kilometers away so we went on with the climb.
By the fourth kilometer you can already see some stations of the cross, which they use during holy week. With each station the radar becomes closer and more visible. The last time I did Radar Run, it was really too foggy to see the radar. Finally, after 5 kilometers of walking. The radar was there.
2020 meters (6,600++ feet) above sea level, that’s where we were. The radar reminds of being here as kids after our father would drive us on the rough roads using his Ford Fiera as we picked strawberries and enjoy eating them. Then there’s the myth that we locals love to tell that these two giant structures which you can see in Baguio are the aircon that powers Baguio’s cold weather. Being here on my birthday just reminds me of the simple life we had and being at that elevation also comes with the pride and satisfaction of being on top of the world or at least top of my city on my Birthday.
It was half the time going down the next 5 kilometers and it suddenly became foggy and cold going down. I used my Berghaus trail shoes again expecting the trails but surprisingly, the traction on road is also great for the shoes and one additional feature, I did discover was the comfort of my feet from its cushioning even on the road even as we reach the car after more than 3 hours of walking and covering 10 Kilometer distance. We had lunch at Chia’s near Burnham Park and then the long drive back to Manila. That’s how I spent my Birthday.
My Birthday Gift
Speaking of birthday gifts, I got a surprise one before my birthday as I good an award on the Digital Filipino Web Awards (Read full list of winners here: http://digitalfilipino.com/winners-digitalfilipino-web-awards-2014/) in the Personal Blog category. It was surreal being in the same auditorium with big time multimedia outfits and corporations awarded in the different categories. Starting Francramon.com a few years was really a challenge as I had to learn everything from doing the site design to each plugins and to the different modes of promoting my site. I’m really thrilled beyond words with this citation but more importantly, I am extremely grateful to everybody who follows and supports my site. Thanks to Ms. Janette Toral and the Digital Filipino for the award. This award won’t be possible without your support.
“You can never be too little to make a difference.”