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Experience Mt. Tapochau like you’ve never before

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The bumpy roads and the hidden sights around Mt. Tapochau are made more accessible on a Let’s Go Polaris RZR. Saipan Tribune recently took a ride on one of these high-powered ATVs up to the island’s highest point, for a rollicking, muddy, and fun outdoor experience.

Tan Holdings' Ed Arriola chats with a biker during a break in the bamboo forest around the Mt. Tapochao area (Dennis B. Chan)

Tan Holdings’ Ed Arriola chats with a biker during a break in the bamboo forest around the Mt. Tapochao area (Dennis B. Chan)

Tan Holdings’ Ed Arriola took the wheel for this media trip, making sure our harnesses, helmets, and hands were in the right spot for the safest ride possible.

On top of this, a short lesson on safety was given in a classroom-like part of the Let’s Go Lower Base office. A tour guide played a video, explaining safety tips, road rules, and some of the sights we’d eventually see.

A Polaris RZR does pack some power, and Mt. Tapochau is known for some treacherous roads—but don’t worry, the vehicle is well-equipped with multiple harness and bars, and the accommodating Let’s Go staff makes sure you are kept comfortable, fit, and safe for the journey.

Don’t stick your hand or lean an arm on the side of the vehicle is one tip Arriola and other guides will share with you.

Once secure, we were off. And just a few seconds out from their Lower Base garage, you could already feel the power these vehicles were packing. It seemed to surge from under you like a go-kart on steroids as we drove up Capital Hill.

We left paved road soon enough and rolled onto some of Mt. Tapochau’s rocky and bumpy roads.

And while Arriola was sure to remind us that these vehicles could get to the top of the mountain in less than a couple of minutes, Let’s Go tour guides make sure that doesn’t happen, he said, out of concern for the residents in the area.

Let’s Go tour guides are respectful of the people in the area, he said, and also are strict on customer safety, making sure that customer drivers are licensed and each patron-driven vehicle is led and followed by one of their tour guides.

But before the top, we took a trip down a side that cut through tangan tangan trees and some cold, cold, cold mud puddles.

How did we know they were cold? Well, Arriola asked to see if were down to splashing through one. We were.

We sped through a puddle and were soon wet and laughing afterwards—but no regrets! Mountain juice! That’s what you call an outdoor adventure.

The ride stopped at the beginning of a bamboo forest; where the trees seemed to reach out to touch each other, forming a beautiful, sturdy canopy above and granting us some cool, cool shade.

We stopped for some pictures, noticing a ladder lying on a path with roots and grass growing over like some industrial fossil from generations ago.

We took more pictures among the trees taller than some several NBA centers combined… Awed at the serene, calm feeling we got in the company of these deeply rooted and entrenched, breathing and living things.

It’s a wonderful spot on island all should see.

Then we were off, back out the road, and to the top of a misty Mt. Tapochau.

It had been raining that day but the view up there and the feeling of getting to the top felt just as good as ever.

Overall, it was a great experience, and for all the potholes, bumps, and curving roads, also a safe one.

The Mt. Tapochau ride is only a small part of what the Let’s Go tour experience can offer, as more extensive trips to the northern and southern parts of the island are available.

So why not give it a try? The ride is a secure and fun, thrilling and powerful, and will have you experiencing this beautiful island in a way you’ve never.

Dennis B. Chan | Reporter
Dennis Chan covers education, environment, utilities, and air and seaport issues in the CNMI. He graduated with a degree in English Literature from the University of Guam. Contact him at dennis_chan@saipantribune.com.

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