Solsona is not a new place to me since I grew up in Ilocos Norte, but I have never heard of Mount Sicapoo despite the many times I have seen the mountain ranges there. The first time I heard about Mount Sicapoo, I placed it in my bucket list and it took me several years after I could tick it off.
I decided to drive to Solsona, Ilocos Norte with Leo, Dorothy, Jayson and Mark last March 17, 2016. We took it slow with a side trip in Vigan Ilocos Sur, which allowed us to eat some local treats and buy some local products.
Fast forward, passing by the winding roads of Pinili towards Nueva Era and Marcos was a treat. We could see the mountain ranges but where is Sicapoo??? We arrived in Barangay Manalpac Solsona late in the afternoon eager to have a good night’s rest to prepare us for the so called “hellish climb” in Mount Sicapoo.
Climb Day 1 – THE EASIEST PART OF THE TREK, BUT DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE
We started early to avoid the searing heat of the sun while doing the river crossings. The trail was easy for the most part except for the steep descent to Markang Bato. After taking a break in Markang Bato, we continued our trek and then………….. we had our first taste of hell hahaha. Open steep trail and minimal shade. The positive side was the cool breeze and we still had enough time to rest and eat our lunch in a partially shaded area. The view was awesome and when a falcon flew by it was a treat!!!
The rest of the trail towards Saulay Camp was a mix of easy and difficult. We arrived in Saulay Camp ahead of schedule. We took the needed rest. Our guides replenished our water supply. According to Jimmy our elder guide, Day 2 will be more difficult so we had to rest well.
Climb Day 2 – YOU NEED TO TREK EARLY AND MAKE SURE YOU EAT WELL. TRY TO BRING LOTS OF DRINKING WATER
This was the best climb I told myself. Not only did we manage very steep trails, we also had to avoid getting caught by poison ivy but still we incurred scratches and wounds. I was disappointed when we were in the upper mossy forest……. 70% of it was damaged by forest fire (which eventually I found out later was caused by hunters tsk tsk tsk).
When I saw the Penguin Rock to my right I could not help but Praise God!!! The hardship paid off!!! I was ecstatic when my companions arrived. We were all happy. Great and happy times indeed 🙂
The trek back to Saulay was one of the most challenging descents I have experienced. There were some chill moments but if you do not know how to conserve your energy then you’re done. We had to sweep Mark who already felt pain on his legs. We had to take one step at a time along the steep and narrow path going to Saulay. One miss and it would have been a disaster! Darkness already covered the surroundings making the trek more treacherous as it is.
We all arrived in Saulay safe and sound, some of us famished and energy-drained but we arrived safe and sound……
Climb Day 3 – YOU HAVE TO PUSH YOURSELF IF YOU WANT ARRIVE HOME EARLY. HYDRATION IS KEY!!!
This is the “most hellish” part of our Sicapoo Adventure!!! The very steep descent to Nagdata Campsite! The very steep climb to Timarid Peak! The hellish and long trek to Tatlong Lomboy! The very hot and humid trek to the plateau! If you did not sleep well then you are in for an absolute and very very tiring hellish experience.
I slept well (well almost since someone was noisy around 2AM or 3AM I think). I wanted to trek ahead of the team so that I will arrive early back to the jump-off. I need to rest and sleep before the long drive back to Manila. With persistence and patience, I paced myself quickly and was able to reach the plateau way way ahead of our IT (around after 1pm).
Around past 4pm Jayson arrived and after 6pm, the whole team was already at the jump-off 🙂