Sunday, June 9, 2013

Mount Maculot: A Beginner's Insight on Mountain Climbing

My First Climb

Beaches are for pussies. 
I never realized what that phrase really meant until today. When I sort of organized a Mount Maculot day hike with my officemates, all I was expecting was a good cardio activity. Sure, I could run a whole 5km without stopping, I do Yoga, Pilates and, at times, Zumba so climbing a "beginners" mountain should be an easy thing for me. Right? Wrong. There is so much more to mountain climbing than breaking a sweat.

Mountain climbing is a holistic experience. 
It is putting your mind into what your heart desires and making your body follow. Or for me, it is making my body do what my mind wants it to without letting my weak heart get in the way. It is swallowing my fear of heights. It is keeping my over-thinking brain from the what-if-I-fell-from-this-cliff thoughts. It's controlling what's inside you when you can't control what goes on outside you.

Respect for the Mountaineers.
I will never dare call myself a mountaineer even after I survived this climb. I have a lot of things to learn and much more courage to earn. Mountaineers are not just people who gets high or drunk on top of a mountain. They are mostly people with utmost respect to nature and to the people around them. Everyone we met on Mt. Maculot wishes us a good day and never fails to utter "Ingat po". I am not sure if it's because we look like witches who will turn them into toads due to disrespect but everyone is so friendly.

Another Mountain.
Will I climb a mountain again? Yes, but probably not Mt. Maculot. My descent to Mt. Maculot is one of the most challenging thing that I experienced. I have always thought that I am adventurous and physically fit but I find it quite frustrating that my knees were shaking while going down the mountain. Not because I am tired but because I am scared that I am going to fall of a cliff (and die and be eaten by maggots and I should really stop over thinking). I lost all balance and I can't even stand up straight. If not for my companion who is an experienced mountaineer (and who also happens to be my manager), it would have taken me 8 hours to go down alive (or 15 minutes without a life). 

180 by Mount Maculot.
I guess mountaineers will find the saying "Do not change the mountains, let the mountains change you." such a cliche but it is exactly what Mt. Maculot did to me. It challenged me, it dared my limits and most importantly, it humbled me.

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