From the 4x4 parking area, we descended to the streams below via a man made passage. They should name this passage "Dust Alley", a small gust of wind is enough to create momentary dust devils and mini-sandstorms. I saw construction equipment at the end of Dust Alley. Its obvious they are trying to extend the road further to the crater.
From Dust Alley, we followed the small creek upstream. Its best to wear sandals as you have to cross the stream several times. You can still keep your feet dry by stepping on small rocks. But with the very cool water I did not mind getting my feet wet.
Our pace was slow during the trek. Some had children (4-5 year olds) in their group. With the addition of people trekking back, the narrow trails were packed. I stopped several times to take photos but still managed to catch up with my group.
As we neared the top, the foilage seemed thicker. Its a far cry from the time ( after the eruption) when the area was completely barren. Mt. Pinatubo was heavily forrested before its eruption in 1991, the 2nd largest volcanic eruption in the 20th century.
The only challenging part of the trek was the steep climb a hundred feet or so from the top. Challenging but not hard, they already made crude concrete stair steps.
Seeing the crater lake was like opening a present. I just stood there, open jawed, the first time I laid eyes on the cyan waters of the crater lake of Mt. Pinatubo. I've seen photos of the lake numerous times before but its different if you are there. Takes a bit of time to take in such a grand scene.
From the observation posts, its a steep climb down to the lake shore. Good thing there are stair steps. The shore was crowded but we managed to find ourselves a spot. Cover from the sun is scant, an umbrella is worth the hassle of bringing one. With the heat, the cool cyan waters looked very inviting for a quick dip (they say the water is good for your skin).
We were the last group to head back. The trek back just took a fraction of the time we spent on the way up.
The sun was already low on the horizon as we crossed the Crow Valley on the way back to Pinatubo Spa Town in Sta. Juliana. As I stared back at the peak, I know I'm going to trek up there again, soon.
Pinatubo Spa Town services (Sta. Jualiana)
After a tiring trek you may want to consider:
- spa (Php 500.00 - up)
- shower (Php 100.00)
More photos of the crater soon.
Check out other That's My World entries here