I’m not really fond of crossing rivers as part of a long trail run because firstly, i don’t want to get my shoes and my toes wet specially in the early stages when i still have to complete an hour or two of running and second, i easily develop blisters when i run on wet feet.
But this is what happened to June and i when we ventured to PURAY, a small village nestled in the midst of the Sierra Madre Mountain ranges in Rodriguez (Montalban), Rizal. What we didn’t know was that we had to cross at least eight (8) rivers interlocking a couple of other small villages before we reach the final village of Puray.
The fire-roads and trails to Puray is actually a favorite route of mountain bikers that offers them plenty of challenges in trekking the gentle to rough terrain and cross the rivers continuously without getting down from their bikes.
Getting there is just less than an hour’s drive from the Quezon Memorial Circle via Commonwealth Ave., Batasan Road and San Mateo Road. Before reaching Barrio Wawa is the small district of San Isidro. Turn left on its main highway going to Avilon Zoo. This zoo, the largest zoological park in the country is the jump-off point and we started our run from there heading first to the village of Muscap then to Puray.
Muscap is about 10-12 kms of paved to rough roads while Puray is 5-7kms further west. The trails along Muscap going to Puray is one of the most extensive i ‘ve ever seen. It has mostly well-maintained double tracks and you have two choices of routes going to Puray, one on the elevated tracks with views of the mountain ranges and the other on the lower portion where the river crossing occur.
We experienced soft to rugged desert trails that roller coaster between boulders, ridges with eye popping views of the Sierra Madres. The rivers are a blissful place of slow rushing water that is disturbed intermittently by motorized tricycles transporting town-folks, cyclists and pedestrians who just enjoy walking barefoot on these rivers.
The trails are an experience to itself, the trees that line its banks reach up as high as a 3-storey building and some flowers are in full bloom. There’s more than enough trails here to keep our legs lively and our senses well-fed both atop the mountains and all over the foothills that surround the small villages.
June and i covered about 19kms in about 3 hours and the trails command a repeat performance run. If the active outdoor life is this beautiful and challenging, what more could you ask from a place?
Here are some of our pictures. I hope you enjoy them.