Continued from Hiking matters #317: Camped at the tiny but brave Bakian Elementary School, whose six pupils and lone teacher were having their Christmas vacation, we were cheered by the full moon, whose presence that night boosted our hopes for a sunny second day. I was aware of the strategic position of Mt. Purgatory relative to some of my favorite Cordillera peaks; and I harbored the hope of seeing them in a new perspective.
We resumed the trek at around 0700H; and true enough, the skies were blue. Immediately, we entered a pine forest, beautiful as those of Kibungan; and not long after, some of the more familiar landmarks of the Cordilleras came into view: Mt. Sto. Tomas (SW) and Baguio City underneath; the Halsema Highway culminating witth Mt. Timbak (NW), and a spectacular view of Mt. Pulag, which was so near that I could see people trekking using my 24x binoculars!
I marched down from the summit with such exciting thoughts, and after a lovely pine-forested descent, we soon reached Brgy. Ekip. From there, a further 4-5 kilometers of rough road was required for us to cross until we reached the store between Ekip and Poblacion that marked the end of the trail. By the time we arrived, we had trekked a total of 24 or 25 kilometers.