Monday, October 8, 2007

Lion's Head Hike - October 8, 2007

Six of us set off to Lion's Head this Monday, October 8, 2007, at around 7:45 AM. On the trip to Lion's Head were Mony, Stacy, Bruce, Leon, Dan and me. Lion's Head is a large rock promontory that sticks out over Marpo Valley, from one of the lower terraces on the Carolinas plateau.

Here is the group on our first rest break. In the picture from left to right are Mony, Leon, me, Stacy, Bruce and Dan.

The next picture shows us traveling through the jungle on the way to Lion's Head.

On the way to Lion's Head are a lot of remains from World War II. In many places the ground is littered with bottles and other items form the Japanese. We found many stone walls and other defensive structures built by the Japanese soon after the American invasion of Tinian. Below, Dan stands next to a broken glass bowl that we found on this hike.

Every time I climb Lion's Head it is a different adventure. The last two times I went up to Lion's Head, I had to only climb one 30 foot cliff. This time we had to climb three cliffs to get Lion's Head. One of the cliffs must have been over 50 feet high. In the following picture we are climbing one of the cliffs on the way to Lion's Head.

Below is a picture of Marpo Heights taken from the top of the second cliff.

After climbing the second cliff, we started to go slightly downslope through the jungle. I knew from past hikes to Lion's Head that we were suppose to stay level or go slightly upslope. So, I decided to climb a sour orange tree to get my bearings. From the top of the orange tree, I could see that we were one terrace below Lion's Head and about 100 yards northeast of it. We hiked over to Lion's Head with only one small break from the orange tree. As we arrived at the base of Lion's Head, we had to climb one last cliff of about 20 feet to get to it.

Below is a picture of the hikers on top of Lion's Head.

Lion's Head offers one of the best views of Tinian and Saipan. The following picture shows the Pina plateau with Saipan in the background.

This picture, below, shows the Mount Lasu area on Tinian.

The following picture is of San Jose village taken from the top of Lion's Head.

Lion's Head has another rock promontory to the east of it. This eastern promontory cannot seen from the Marpo Valley area of Tinian. The eastern promontory is slightly higher than Lion's Head.

The following picture shows Dan taking a picture of Mony and Stacy on Lion's Head, while Leon and Bruce start to climb up to the eastern promontory.

Leon and Bruce sitting on the eastern promontory, with Saipan in the background.

Me, Leon, and Bruce on the eastern promontory and Mony on Lion's Head.
The view south from the eastern promontory towards the Suicide Cliff area.
The following picture offers a good view of the eastern side of Lion's Head, with the Pina plateau in the background.
Mony and Stacy on Lion's Head with Marpo Heights in the background, taken from the eastern promontory.
Mony is getting ready to dive off Lion's Head. No he did not dive, but I wonder how Stacy's picture turned out.
After spending more then a half hour on top of Lion's Head, it was time to hike back to the truck. This time we only had to climb down two cliffs and walk over a lot of rocks.
As we walked over broken rocks, we spotted an entrance to a cave that I know I have not been in before. We threw some rocks in it and believe it to be fairly deep. I marked the location with my GPS unit and will have to come back to explore it another time. Below is a picture of the cave's entrance, looking straight down into it.

We finally make it back to the truck around 12 noon. Another good hike for all. Only three of us got stung by bees, me with the most, at least 12 stings. We all enjoyed the hike and the adventure that it provided. Lion's Head is well worth the hike just for the great viewpoint it offers of Tinian and Saipan.

For the next hike, I think we will take it a little easier. We will be going to the latte stone site at the south end of Tachonga Beach. While there, we will explore some Japanese bunkers and an old American dump site from World War II. Meet at Grace Christian School at 8 AM on October 13, Saturday.

I will be listing the next month's hikes soon. Do you have any suggestions of places you would like to go to or see? Please add them as comments.

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