Saturday, July 01, 2006

Finding Banadero

All week Joe has been saying "let's go hiking, let's go hiking."

I suggested we try climbing Suicide Cliff along the Banaderu Trail. I did that hike once back in 1987 with my father and I vaguely remember enjoying it. I was 8 years old. I remember it starting just south of the Last Command Post. That is about it.

This morning we drove up to Marpi and looked around the Last Command Post area for the trail. We looked near the Korean Memorial, the Okinawa Memorial, and behind the Command Post but couldn't find the trail head.

It has been a while since I did the hike (19 years), so there was a good possibility that the trail had long since been swallowed up by the jungle. Determined to find the trail, I suggested that we drive to the top of Suicide Cliff and look for the trail there.

We wound our way up to the top of the cliff, parked the car, and walked over to the trees where I remember the trail ending. Look what we saw lying on the ground:

The trail head!

This end of the trail was much easier to find than the entrance to the trail at the bottom of the cliff. The trail itself turned out to be well worn and well marked. Every 10 or 20 feet somebody had tied some yellow flagging tape to a tree. The trail was marked in this manner all the way to the bottom.

Going down was pretty easy. It leads south along the cliff face for a while and then it kind of zig zags down the cliff, until you reach the bottom and boomerang back towards the finish.

Somebody put a lot of work into that trail. Not only do you not need a machete at any point, but somebody put in a few railings, some rope, a bench, and in a few spots, concrete stairs. Let's not forget about the coconut crab traps, either:

There were a few spots where the trail was a little confusing, but all we had to do was stop and look around for the flagging tape marker. The next marker was never more than 20 feet away.

We laughed when we got to the bottom. The trail head IS RIGHT BEHIND THE KOREAN PEACE MEMORIAL. We were standing right next to it. Here's a picture of Joe standing next to the trail head:

Can you see why we missed it?

The hike down took us only 40 minutes. We had one problem, though. The car was still at the top of the cliff, so up the cliff we went.

The trail seemed a little bit steeper on the way back up. Uphill is definately more difficult than downhill. It probably didn't help that we were hiking faster. While it took us 40 minutes to get down, it only took us 30 to get up.

When we finally got back to the top, we drained our water bottles and then went swimming at the Grotto:

A line of Divers getting ready to climb out of the water


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