February 8, 2016

The Guide, The Hermit, and The Hard Boiled Egg (Tarak Ridge, Bataan)

"Those who are frequent hikers can be at the tail end. Those who are beginners should stay with the guide in front," announced our organizer for the climb.

Lots of people packed the sweep group, including my friend Kath. Without hesitation, I apologized to Kath as I cannot stay with her at the tail end and decided to stick with the guide or at least the mid group.

It was a big crowd - crowds intimidate me greatly. Suddenly I was overly worried of my knee pains, and that I might end up inconveniencing the whole group. Last time I had this liability worry was during my Purgatory climb. I remember self talking myself during that climb that I should be careful of every step to avoid unnecessary accident, or fatigue. I guess the main difference was that it was a small group so I was more at peace.

"But I'm here now," I psyched myself . I should just try. Welcome back to hiking, Arlet.

The organizers gave us hard boiled egg, banana, and sweets. I was famished so I ate it all before the climb. In fairness, I didn't  get  hungry until noon so next time I'll just bring egg and banana as my snacks :P I was confused whether I can just throw the egg  shells beside the trail since it is organic and all, but I wasn't sure so I held onto it. After a quick google search, I found that egg shells do not decompose unless the soil is very acidic and the shells finely ground, so maybe best not to litter them?


We started trekking.

Cogon Grassland

First part was dried cogon grassland, then the forested woodland which after the papaya river will mostly be assault. Climbing onto branches and roots  would be helpful at this point.

Resting after one of the assault series :D

Papaya River: The Chill before the Climb

After papaya river, It was difficult to stick with the guide, I was almost chasing her! Her one step was three steps for me. I couldn't focus on observing the mountain, my focus was on her. The guide wanted to finish  as quickly as possible because we were only doing a dayhike. Hence I couldn't blame her for such pace.

We reached the campsite just in time for lunch. It was mostly an open field, but there are areas covered with trees. We ate lunch and headed for the summit.

Campsite area

The trail to the peak was steep and paved with loose soil  and rocks. The kind that worries me the most when descending. Good thing, I had help from a friend. Otherwise would have taken me forever to go down. There was another side of the summit which I did not check out anymore because the crowd - again- was getting bigger. And INTJs like me get stressed in such environment so I decided to hike down already. I think I'd like to go back to Tarak, but for an overnight hike next time :)

Famous tree at the summit of Tarak

After this climb, I figured I need to work on my social skills once again. I'm returning to my old hermit ways. But before so, I need  to have my left knee check.

Hakuna Matata.


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