AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Day 100: Mt. Pinatubo

Posted on Feb 13, 2014

Day 100 of our trip and we were making the biggest and most difficult trek yet. We were excited about the climb and eager to get going. So much so that waking at 4:30am was surprisedly easy, we left the hotel at 5am and headed north to Tarlac City where we would swap into a jeep to take us to the edge of the volcano. We had read all the warnings the night before. We must have good walking shoes, we must have spare shoes, don’t strain yourself, wear socks, bring trekking poles, plenty of water, etc. We had signed the disclaimer and taken full responsibility. We were ready to climb an active volcano which last erupted 20 years and was the second largest eruption of the 20th century. By 7:30am we were dropped off at a place where everyone gets into a 4×4. We were also paired up with a guide. As we walked towards our jeep I looked at the other vehicles, many had bald tyres, body work missing, rust everywhere. These looked 50 years old and not up to the job. We had been warned about vehicles breaking down or getting stuck and what to do in that situation. The one good thing was every jeep had a radio so they could communicate if anything happened. When we reached our jeep our worst fears were confirmed, we had one of the worst jeeps, with an open back and very small seats. We set off and I think we had yet again found the fastest driver available. We drove up the almost empty river valley at a fantastic speed. The volcanic ash blowing up into huge clouds behind us. Within a few minutes we were covered with ash. Our eyes continually watering and our mouths getting full of dust wasn’t pleasant, but it could be mostly ignored by the more pressing matter of having to hold on for dear life. The back of the jeep had a single bar, shin high, one violent bounce was all it would take to fall off the back! We bounced up the valley for over 30 minutes. Finally we stopped for a rest. From here we were told the track got a lot more rugged. We wandered around and took a few photos while our guide stood by the jeep smoking and coughing his guts out, he didn’t sound well. The next section was taken at a far slower speed but was no less uncomfortable. The jeep was skillfully manoeuvred along a set of tyres lines through huge boulders, down extremely steep gradients and through fast flowing rivers. Watch this video...

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