FOR 17 days, four hours and 10 minutes, Mark Bryan Grey traversed in what used to be a no man's land, trekking 444 kilometers.
Grey finally completed the journey Saturday morning, which started in Conner, Apayao and ended inside the former US military recreation base Camp John Hay for the Cordillera Great Traverse (CGT) Philippines, an ambitious expedition that aims to put the Philippines alongside countries, which offer adventurous trails and traverses.
"Fulfilling for me to finish the route kasi nung una inisip ko mahirap pero when I was about to complete the trek naisip ko mas mahirap pala iwanan yung outdoor," said Grey, the lone man who finished the expedition, which kicked off April 1.
The Cordillera Great Traverse covered six provinces which aims to establish a scenic, longest and sustainable trail in the country just like the famous trails in the Appalachian Trail in the United States, the 250-kilometer Great North Walk in Australia, the 220-km Drakensberg in South Africa and the 180-kilometer Gran Recorrido in Corsica, Europe.
"Iba yung trek kasi there are times na we would hike for four days just to get to our destination and at the same time yung first week namin medyo nahirapan kami kasi malayo yung pagkukuhanan namin ng resources but we were able to pull it off," added Grey.
A 30-man team was formed for the expedition that includes a reconnaissance and medical team during the expedition which passed through Maligcong in Abra, Balbalasang in Kalinga, and another hike to Sadanga, Mt. Province to Banaue towards, Hungduan, Kiangan and Tinoc in Ifugao followed by the trek to Nueva Vizcaya towards Domolpos and a climb to Mt. Ugo then down to Tinongdan and Poblacion of Itogon before making their way to Baguio City.
With the success of the traverse, Grey said an important component of the CGT expedition is to help protect the environment and, at the same time, provide opportunities for the locals.
Meanwhile, lawyer Jonnifer Lancanlale, founder and overall head and president of Philippine Trail Conservation and Events, Inc. (PhilTrace) which is the front-runner of the CGT said the traverse also aims to establish the country among the best trekking destinations in the world.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 21, 2015.
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