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mountaineering

Hiking Bangaan Ridge with Phil November 16, 2006 Thursday

Hiking Bangaan Ridge with Phil

The Goat Incident
I met Phil just last Saturday at Log Cabin's dinner buffet. He's a frequent Sagada visitor and practically knows everyone. Tales of his escapades precede him. Aklay once told me of an American tourist who accidentally ran over a pregnant goat. In gory detail, he told of the unborn goats being forcibly squiched-out from its mother's womb and splattered all over the place (I suspect Aklay wants to shock his audience as well). The tourist of course had to pay the goat owner for his loss. What now to do with the goat(s)? Of course, the resident French chef was summoned. By the end of the day, the tourist was texting his Manila friends telling them he was now eating a goat he ran over earlier in the day. You guessed it. That was Phil. His version though is a tad different - it was just a male goat. Either way, it's good copy to be laughing out loud over beer.

Bangaan Ridge Hike
Phil tagged me along a hike to the same place where a week earlier, Steve took the 43Bikes riders to - Bangaan Ridge. This time however, we would hike it from the other direction - from the village of Bangaan, along the ridge and finally down to Danom Lake and then back to Poblacion.

After making the initial climb to the plateau, the ridge lay in front of us. Going from the other way around, and this time on foot, it was like being at the place for the first time. Of course there were the familiar landmarks and view - the log crossing, the breadth of the Ilocos range, the highest point along the ridge, etc. I found the hike considerably easier. Perhaps it's because I wasn't portaging a bike, or that our pace was more leisurely.

Phil couldn't get enough of it all. He paused a few times into the hike just to listen to the lyrical whisper of the wind as it rustled the tree leaves. At times, he'd just spontaneously rant about the intense fragrance of the pine. He's been to many places in the world but nothing as intense as Sagada's pine fragrance. Moreover, he would unbelievingly comment on the perfect weather we were having - a sunny 180C day with a cool mountain breeze. I have to agree. I'd been to an arctic -45C up to a scorching +100F and everything in between. Somewhere along this broad spectrum is what I'd call perfect. It's what we were having then.

Good Finds
The recent rains paid dividends by way of wild mushroom patches along the hike. I thought I've seen the last of it until next year, but hey, it's there. I helped myself and upon getting back, tossed them into the pan, prepared crepe, and voila...a sumptuous feasting of wild mushroom crepe.

Additionally, the wild orange raspberry-looking berries were in abundance again. I picked enough to fill my cupped hands and downed it all in one explosive burst inside my mouth. Yeah!

Heading Back
We started at 10am and finished close to 4 pm - I was starved. I thought it would be the usual quick in-and-out hike I used to have with Aklay - but it was all good. As if Phil's kindness wasn't enough already, he even invited me to join him for dinner at Log Cabin. Over my token cadeau of rice wine, I enjoyed my pork steak. Some dinner...thanks again Phil.

Ending Thoughts
Going to the same place but with someone different brings on a different dimension to the event. With Phil, it was seeing what's been lost to a lot of 'grown ups' - childlike awe at nature's spectacular masterpiece that's been laid down for us to experience and be a part of. Sagada is powerful that way. From time to time, it reminds us that we're a privileged visitor to this very special place.

--- TheLoneRider




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