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Mossy Forest June 27, 2006

A Return to the Mossy Forest

Aklay relayed our mossy forest trek to some of his friends - a local guide, Allan, and 2 German guys, Jack and Ernest, both of whom are frequent visitors to Sagada. Another hike was then scheduled, this time, with everyone coming along. Hey, the more the merrier. Jack, myself and Aklay were to meet Allan and Ernest at the Ampacao summit. By the time the 3 of us arrived, the 2 were already there.

The Cast
Unlike most locals who go to the forest to work (get firewood, hunt, etc.) Allan is unique because he ventures into the forest for the sheer pleasure nature has to offer. He has a deep understanding of the forest's resources, plus the do's and dont's. Jack, well, I thought he looked familiar. It turns out, I already met him in Oct. 2004 in El Nido, Palawan...small world. Ernest worked as a ranger in Germany. His appreciation for nature and knowledge of plant life was evident.

Gimme Shelter
Initially, there was talk of building a shelter. Allan knew of a huge rock overhang that would be suitable for it. We didn't reach that far though, but saw alternative areas where it might also be viable. The shelter location has to be relatively flat, by the stream, but high enough in case of flash flooding, and secluded enough not to have passersby...oh yeah, with adjacent trees for a hammock.

Aklay brought rope for the 20-ft. waterfall. We were supposed to tie it up a tree and rappel down. It didn't happen. We used it instead as support while staying on the precarious trail. Not exactly the adrenaline rush I was looking for, but it made the crossing a little less hairy anyway.

We all headed back to Ernest's new digs in Bitin where Lynn cooked us some kick-ass pasta. On a full tummy, we chilled out by the sun before going home.

Ending Thoughts
This is the 2nd time we've gone to the mossy forest but it won't be the last. The potential to do more needs to be realized. We've only hiked along the stream flow, but there's the vast area left and right of the stream that remains to be explored. A shelter still has to be built. Lastly, there's also a plan to rappel down, not from the 20-ft waterfall, but the big 50-ft waterfall. Its inaccessible base doesn't seem like it has been explored. I wonder what awaits us down there.

--- TheLoneRider

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