Doing a tree pose at the iconic Gungal Rock
Doing a tree pose at the iconic Gungal Rock

Nature Trail to Gungal

We started our walk again by 6:00am. From Abanao Paoay, we could see the trail before us. Sloping hills, narrow ridges and amazing views. From here on, the trail was actually more relaxed with gentle ascents. What impressed me more was the flora and fauna I saw. Since there were thunderstorms every morning, I could see an abundant growth of mushrooms. Some edible, some not. There were a few wild berries as well I picked up some on the trail. Then a species of pitcher plant (Sarracenia?) in abundance on the trail. I really love how alive the trail is. Aside from the views, I appreciate the dramatic trees along the trail and even the rocky fields.

We reached Gungal in an hour and a half later. Finally we get to meet other climbers. We’re already halfway the trail by this point says our guide Alex. The other group were already hogging the famous Gungal Rock. A dramatic rock overhang perfect for those daring photo ops. I heard this spot could get really crowded. I’m glad we climbed real early and I had the chance to squeeze in for my photo. The other group climbed from Sta Fe and was going on another way. I am intrigued by that pentagram markings though. I wonder who used it?

The summit hills of Mt Ulap
The summit hills of Mt Ulap

Summit Hills of Mt Ulap

We continued on our way towards the highest peak of the trail. From here on the clouds was a welcome cover, but we were also concerned that rains may come. I continue to admire the trail, the richness of the greens and bursting saturation of colors from the flowers. Even the details of a tree branch is fascinating. An hour later, we finally climbed the highest point of the Mt Ulap Eco-Trail. It was a scenic hill and I was surprised someone was sweeping the grounds. Clearing of any animal poop on the grassy area. We also met his two companion dogs and gave them treats. We rested on the ground and felt accomplished finally reaching the summit. I decided to practice some of my yoga headstand there and was suprised I still had the energy for it.

Found an edible mushroom on the trail
Found an edible mushroom on the trail
A species of pitcher plant abundant on the trail
A species of pitcher plant abundant on the trail
Watch out for these edible wild berries
Watch out for these edible wild berries
Dramatic trees on the trail
Dramatic trees on the trail
Finding my balance on this rocky ridge
Finding my balance on this rocky ridge
Trail to Gungal
Trail to Gungal

Exit at Sta Fe and essential info on the next page…

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