“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”
― Ed Viesturs
Ever since I was introduced to the beauty that is hiking, I kind of set this standard to always, ALWAYS reach the summit, no matter what. Which put on too much pressure on me, and my ever weak legs. But you can’t blame me, the feeling of almost touching the sky never fails to stir the old soul in me. Up there, I am vulnerable. Up there, I am oddly at home.
Last March 2014, Me and my friends hiked Mt Palay Palay, known to many as Pico de Loro for its parrot like peaks. There was a confusion at first, since we did not hire a guide, we got confused on where to start. As we were entering the trail, a random guy told us we were heading the wrong way, and that if we take that route and got lost no one would know, and pointed us to another way instead. In doubt, we went back to the DENR station, asked the authorities, and we were told the trail that we were supposed to take earlier was indeed the right trail. So we go back. I’m not sure what that guy had in mind, but he was totally creepy.
We were told to just follow the markers and we’d be fine. The trails are thickly forested, you can hardly see a view all the way up. You can tell the forest is alive with all the chirping and insect sounds. And if you’re quiet, you can hear the rustling of leaves from gigantic trees of the mountain. All my senses were piqued at the treat.
There’s always a bad thing about being discovered. And I saw it right inside that mountain. Vandalism on tree trunks, on rocks, garbage here and there. It’s just so disrespectful. I have a strong feeling that if the mountain could talk, she will be ranting and never allow any person in there ever again.
The trails were pretty hard for me, it’s a series of ascent-descent and boulders of rocks along the way.
The area, I have learned, is a private property, so you can see it’s fenced with barbed wires.
By lunch time, we reached the campsite. Tents were pitched and campers were roaming around. It was pretty crowded.
The view was amazing and we’re not on the summit yet!
The assault to the summit was hard for me. It was too windy, the soil too soft, there’s barely nothing to grab for balance. I almost didn’t make it. I found it easier to slide down than to hoist myself up further. Thankfully, this gang never gave up on me. After the longest crawl I’ve ever done, I made it to the summit.
We never get to climb the monolith. We were too tired. I’m too scared. Maybe, someday.
But nevertheless, it was a fun day. It never occurred to me before that I am at least capable of taking on an adventure. But we’ll never really know how far we can go unless we try, right?
I will always be thankful for this gift of wanderlust, this thirst for adventure, and this love for nature.
If you’ve been reading my past blogs, I’m sure this is expected by now. But I’m gonna say it here again. We live in a beautiful country. And we should always be proud of it.
Cheers to a beautiful life, Zai.