This is Part II of the Trek From Mayoyao to Batad article. If you haven’t already seen Part I, check it out here.
I had been in Southeast Asia for 5 months. I had hired guides to summit Mt. Merapi volcano on Java and for Orangutan Trekking in Sumatra. I had volunteered doing construction with locals in Payatas and everyone I had come in contact with wore slippers (flip flops). The toughest jobs where people in the Western world would be required to lace up steel toes, SE Asians, wore slippers.
I immediately knew the hike we were about to encounter was going to be intense when my guide Benni set aside his rubber slippers and laced up a pair of battered hiking shoes.
The chickens I had just purchased annoyingly squawked with every step we took on the very untraveled trail. We began to climb and the terrain became steeper and steeper as footsteps became less and less visible. The sweat continued to intensely fall out of every pour in my skin. When we reached the saddle, the panoramic sights were fantastic. We walked along the ridge for a while, peering down the face of either side, and I could see terraces and small villages looking tiny in the distance below.
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The trail heading down on the other side was not for the amateur or the wearily freaked out hiker. With a cliff edge on one side, an invisible path, and all kinds of ankle breaking obstacles, every foot was somewhat out of faith and I hoped for the best. It got harder.
When the nonexistent trail reached its climax of difficulty, we were forced into butt surfing down the vertical muddy, slip and slide of decomposing jungle on the “wet side” of the mountain. The steepness and slippery factors simply did not allow me to remain on my two main digits and I ended up wishing I was a snake so I could slither down with fewer consequences waiting to be had.
Every foot forward seemed to be an inevitable plunge of painful death.
A couple hours of knee breaking insanity and we had made it to the freshly planted upper terraces of the village of Patyay. The site of a rice terrace path, though here they were more and more rustic as they were further from any roadways, was a relief.
It was interesting to observe villages and rice terraces as we became farther from towns or roadway access. Less and less cement was visible until completely fizzling away and finally the terraces looked quite identical as when I assume they were anciently crafted over 2000 years ago.
Situated half in the clouds, and at the base of the mountain, prior to becoming ridiculously steep, the terraces in Patyay were among the most beautiful I had encountered along the hike. We continued to make our way down, through uncountable rice fields until reaching the town of Cambulu.
Proceeding from Cambulu we made our dreadfully tiring way back to the village of Batad where I would spend the night. My body nearly gave up from lack of energy and my soggy clothing clung to my skin like a wet suit. I arrived and took off my shoes, once again admiring the beauty of the Batad rice terraces.
My chicken was butchered and cooked in a traditional way where the feathers are burnt off, the chicken slightly beaten for extra flavor, and then boiled over a fire and into a soup.
With the local organically grown and harvested rice, the chicken that had annoyed us for hours on end, was now avenged and digesting satisfactory in my inner belly.
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