January 31, 2015

How Mt. Purgatory Made Me Reexamine My Love For Hiking

We will always find ourselves asking the same questions. And unless it's the truth, we will always have different answers. This is because our hearts cannot be tricked into believing what it does not genuinely love.


Day 1.

"I'll go ahead." I told my friends and left.

I walked on and observed the trees, the ferns, the moss, and myself. The universe can exist without us humans. Perhaps it can thrive better without us. I looked at myself and the surrounding again and again. I obviously do not belong here. I shrugged.


The sky was getting dark; the fog was getting thicker. I've been walking for a while now, but it seems I'm nowhere near the end of this forest. Maybe I shouldn't have gone alone?

No Arlet, it's okay.
I'm on the right trail.
I'm sure?


I took out my headlamp and whistle. If I'm on the right trail, then my friends would catch up with me sooner or later. If I'm on the wrong trail, then I should conserve my energy and avoid getting trapped deeper in the forest.

So I waited.


While waiting, I felt how painful and sore my shoulders were, how cold my hands were, and how scared my heart was. My little familiarity with the terrain was quickly fading. Why am I here alone? I'm scared. I'm scared to be a burden to the team.

"Paano ka magiging pabigat, eh ang gaan gaan mo," a friend's voice scolded me in my head.

My negative thoughts were quickly erased. At the same time, I heard footsteps quickly coming closer. I bit my lip and stared at the direction where the noise was coming from.

A wild Ate Sharie appeared! Woohoo!


Upon finding me, (as she was specifically looking for me) she radioed the others and asked for a headcount. It turns out that no one could account as to where I was so she went ahead of the middle group and quickened her pace.

Oh gosh. I was immediately thankful that they were the ones I was with for this climb. They are not just people who are willing to help, but people who actually can.

"Be prepared not just for yourself, but also for others." - For now, I'm the 'others' :P

We were supposed to head for Bakian Elementary School, but we ran out of time so we stayed at the hut for rent just before the school.

Bakian Elementary School

Dinner.

Ohmigosh! Ohmigosh! Dinneeer! I was so excited for dinner because the ladies prepared pochero and sinigang. I mean, don't we all just usually eat meat loaf for a climb? After all, it's just 1 night - and we'd like to get as much rest as we can rather than cut eggplants, right?

Well, well, well... not this  group. Hooray for cutting eggplants and cooking rice at high altitude!

Boys cooking rice

Dinner ala Sha Rie, Dang, Maynard, Shelli, and Jack!

Day 2.

After finishing 2 mountains the day before, we continued hiking for Mt Komkompol. The trail was mostly uphill from the camp, and I felt my legs weakening already. We reached the peak of Mt Komkompol (our ultimate destination) in no time.
 



The view was beautiful, but I'd say that the sceneries from when we started the hike were just as beautiful, if not more beautiful. 

Nonetheless we basked in the sun as if we just came from a long winter break, breathed the air as if it was limited, beamed at the mountains as if it will vanish, and laughed with each other as if it were our last. It was indeed a day well spent. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Woohoo!!! HAHAHA see you guys next time! Itigil and vicks, please.

We stayed at the peak for a few minutes, and then started our descent. It was purely downhill from there. After several hours of going down, I felt my knees ready to give up. I wore my knee support and became extra careful with my steps. The last time I felt this way was during my first climb in Mt. Palay Palay

I had the exact same thought back then: "Can I do this?"

My answer then was I'll try.
Right now, my answer is still the same thing.

I'll try.
And try.
And try some more.
Try some more, I will. 

But I figured, I'm not here to try hiking or even my love for it - it has already been tried. It is myself that I am trying.

See you around!
Arlet

PS

Mt Purgatory traverse is roughly 30km long. It spans 3 mountains: Mt. Pack, Mt. Purgatory, and Mt. Komkompol. If you observe closely, you will be able to tell the difference in flora between the mountains - it's very interesting! -reminds me of the setting of Princess Mononoke :)