Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost
The traverse route is Maculot’s road less traveled. To traverse, I learned, is to climb up a mountain one way and exit it via a different trail. To be honest, I didn’t know this before (and even during) our climb being the mountaineering noob that I am. In my mind, whatever traverse meant I said I’ll just wing it and see it through the end.
In the case of Mt. Maculot, the traverse route follows the trail up to this mountain’s highlight – The Rockies summit, then continuing on to the actual summit, going deep into the woods until you find the clearing that leads to the grotto, and finally descending the steps marked by the 12 stations of the cross.
The hike up to the Rockies.
Why are we doing this to ourselves again??
We took turns saying this. At first it was in jest. Then later on in between breaths, after a couple of slips and landing on our asses, it was a very valid question. The glorious view at the Rockies seemed so long ago. We’ve been trekking for 2 hours or so. And there weren’t any other groups who continued on this route but us.
Are we there yet??
We were deep in the woods and our guide kept on saying that the clearing was very near. Really kuya, how near is near?
There was no other alternative but to move forward. The “road” ahead can’t be any longer than the one behind us. Winding through the mountain trail felt as if we were ants marching. Our legs took a beating. Our wills challenged.
Two roads diverged in the wood, I took the one less traveled by. And it huurrrttt!!!
Not cool Robert Frost!
Like I said when I climbed Mt. Pulag: We do not conquer mountains; it’s ourselves we conquer. And in these situations, I learned, that some mind conditioning does wonders. That day, I got by with this thought bubble on repeat:
Lomi awaits in Lipa. With lots of chili and toyomansi!!!
So two roads diverged in the wood, took the one less traveled by. Survived it somehow. And it made me feel grand.
Into the woods, on the way to the grotto.
Mt. Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas stands at 930 MASL, and is one of the most popular day trip climb destinations near Manila. One can choose to do the traverse hike (Rockies-Summit-Grotto) like we did, or just do the more popular option – summit the Rockies (706 MASL), which gives a magnificent view of the Taal Lake.
Cuenca is accessible by buses headed to Lemery, Batangas. At the town proper, ride a tricycle that will take you to the jump off site. At the barangay outpost, climbers will be asked to pay a Php 20 registration fee, and will be required to hire a guide – Php 1000 for the traverse hike and Php 400 for the Rockies.