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Spots on the Rock

Welcome to the jungle

Discover Pågat Cave, culture and the coastline

This weekend we’ll be hiking to another one of Guam’s more notable and recognized hikes, a sloping trail down the Pågat cliff line to reach a natural cave and swim hole, an ancient Chamorro village with several latte stones and lusongs, and the pristine northeastern coastline and a rock arch.

However, before all of that, a few updates! Parking instructions will from hereon out be included in the map graphic accompanying the article unless further explanation is needed for a particular hike. Although, feel free to email me at tihu@postguam.com should you ever need clarification of the parking directions.

Also, included in the column will be “Tips for Safe Hiking” and the “Hiker’s Oath.”

Please give them a read before every hike. It’s my hope that you adhere to them for everyone’s benefit, including yours.

Lastly, don’t forget to be submitting or posting photos of your hike! You can upload your weekend hiking photos on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr and simply hashtag #spotsontherock and tag us @postguam. You can also email them to me at the above email.

On to the fun stuff!

A long way down

Entering the well-established Pågat trail, this beaten path will travel past a variety of Guam flora and fauna and under a thicket of trees the whole way. A heads-up: There will also be many beautiful butterflies fluttering about, a few harmless bees, possible sightings of coconut crabs and an abundance of wild flowers.

Note that you'll be slowly descending for about 30 to 40 minutes before reaching the first of three features on this hike.

Halfway down this trail, the path changes from dirt to mostly coral rock – limestone characteristic of the northeast coast of Guam.

Soon you'll come to the top of a relatively steep incline over nothing but limestone. While this part of the trek may sound harsh, it’s not that bad.

Slowly, carefully make your way down and over the jagged rocks with the help of various handholds and ropes provided. Be sure to watch your footing on slippery, moss-covered rocks, especially if you're hiking right after or during rain.

Once you've climbed down the limestone – about a mile into the hike with the hardest part behind you – rest at the base before moving on.

Cool cave and underground swim hole

At the bottom of the hill just after completing the steep descent down the limestone cliff, you will soon reach flat ground with a path to the left that descends over a shorter limestone path into a depression and a path that continues forward through the jungle.

Turn left and travel over the coral rocks to reach the bottom, where Pågat Cave lies. Soon enough, you should already see the dark entrance of the cave to your left.

Enter the mouth of the cave and prepare yourself in its foyer – time to grab your flashlights and secure your electronics tightly!

Once prepared, carefully make your descent to a shallow pool of water in front of you.

Continue through the water, just about waist-high, staying on the right side of the narrow and pitch-black cave passage. After just a few minutes, you should reach the main room of the cave, a cavern with dry ground to the left and a large natural swimming hole to the right.

Settle your belongings, set up some sort of lighting system with your flashlights or lamps and go for a swim! The pool of pure, fresh water is very deep in some areas.

After cooling off in this underground oasis, gather your stuff and head on back out to the entrance of the cave.

Ancient Chamorro village and artifacts

Upon exiting the cave, take a left and climb up another short limestone hill. If you see where the path forks, keep traveling left and up into the jungle.

On the plateau at the top of the hill, follow the well-established path through the jungle for a few minutes. Soon, you will come to another fork with a tree in the middle. Take a right.

The beautiful jungle trail leads through one of the most accessible and preserved original ancient Chamorro sites on Guam. There are dozens of lusongs, an ancient Chamorro stone tool used to grind food, lying around the area. Toward the end of this trail, there will also be several latte stones (although they may not look like the ones you're familiar with).

Soon the path forks again. Again, take a right to reach the breathtaking Pågat coastline.

As you break out of the jungle and into the sun, you should be able to hear the crashing waves of the ocean nearby. Forge on to reach another prized gem of this hike.

Natural rock arch and northeast coastline

Shortly, you should have reached the Pågat Arch, a natural rock arch formed by the crashing of the ocean waves against the cliff line.

Be sure to explore this outdoor playground with lots to see! Take in the thrashing water and the vast views of the northeastern coastline.

While I don’t recommend it, some adventurous and thrill-seeking hikers have designated this spot as a cliff-diving site, jumping from the front of the arch into the waters below, at least a 30 to 40 feet drop.

After safely exploring the area and taking in this beautiful spot, retrace your footsteps through the jungle, down to the cave and back up the long trail to reach your cars.

Don’t forget your safety tips, hiker’s oath, and to submit your photos! Happy hiking!

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