Last July 30-31, the husband went on an All Men trip to Osmeña Peak. And because of its perfect conditions, he felt like blogging the entire journey. This is his first time to write about an experience and I’m quite amazed at how well he writes. This was a first step but I’m not hoping for anything since he kept on saying blogging is not his thing. Oh well. =)
Last week’s trek trip to Opeak was almost perfect. That was my 7th (or 8th) time there, never missing since 2011, so it’s becoming like a yearly pilgrimage for my trekking “career”.
The campsite was not crowded, with just 7 groups camping (just around 20 tents in total in my guesstimate). At the registration, we were guest no. 170+, which is way down from their weekend norm of 450+ throng of visitors (with as high as 1.5k last summer. — this plus the unforgiving El Nino summer heat; no wonder Opeak looked ravaged on random people’s selfie pics at that time. And this sparked the #saveOsmenaPeak posts cropping up on trekkers’ statuses).
We experienced a sudden strong downpour at the early evening that made us scrambled for our tents. My 5 year old tent is showing it’s age, the leaks are getting worse. Good thing it just went by quickly. Had it rained all night, I would have been dozing in a damp sleeping bag. The winds were not roaring, which is the usual up there. But we camped in a somewhat sheltered area, so maybe we were shielded from the full brunt. Torrential rains and howling winds is to be expected up there, so overall, it was just pretty mild.
On the hike to Kawasan, the weather was so fine. The sun only showed up a few minutes in between hours. There was only very slight drizzles, no need to bring out the rain gear. It was mostly cloudy all throughout the trek, the perfect trekking weather. On a typical sunny day, I had to do water refills on the water source, but this time, I wasn’t able to fully consume the 2L water I carried for the trek. Less sweat mean less water loss so no need to constantly hydrate.
We started the traverse trek at 8:27AM and ended at 1:37PM. 5 hours and 10 minutes all-in-all, which is the fastest time in my 5 tries on the Opeak-Kawasan traverse trek (one time, we got lost and spent 7+ hours). Total rest time was just 30-40 minutes. We went the wrong way twice or thrice, but it was only a few meters though. It was my 1st time to be the head guide. The locals are quick to point out the right way, shouting “Diri agi o!”. We only encountered 4 other groups on the traverse, most of us merging at the Chapel/Buko rest area. One group did a reverse traverse, starting from Kawasan and going to Opeak. Another group, a couple, just the 2 of them, overtook us on a slippery trail. They were hike jogging like it was paved road (the girl only wearing Crocs slippers), while we carefully navigated it with our shaky sore knees. I admire their endurance.
After lunch chibog time and swim-relax in the river, we headed home at 4:10PM. I scheduled for us to leave at 3PM+ to avoid the wild scrambling for the bus which is a constant issue on these weekend trips. But I worried all for nothing. The 1st bus we hailed was a Ceres aircon bus, and believe it or not, it was almost empty! This never happened before! At 5PM, it’s always full and standing-only, but no, not this time around. Travelers was so light that day, that the seat beside me was empty until Carcar! Imagine that.
Less crowded Opeak. Perfect hike weather. No-hassle travel. I think can attribute these serendipitous conditions to 2 things. First, there was a typhoon brewing in Luzon that weekend. And second, there’s currently a moratorium for canyoneering activities, which is a large tourist draw. With these two combined, it might have repelled the usual weekend warriors away. This seems like a Schadenfreude moment, 2 unfortunate events led to my perfect weekend trek situation. hahaha