Monday, August 3, 2015

Mt. Malipunyo: The 12-hour trek

I have to admit, this Mt. Malipunyo trek has been one of the hardest I have ever done. Not because the mountain was too high or because the trail was to hard.  It was a combination of those things and more.  Our guide said the trek up would take about 3-4 hours and the descent would also take that long.  We didn't believe him, or even if we did, it didn't register that it would be at least 6-8 hours. We started the trek at 9am and we were down by 9pm. 12 hours.
L-R: registration, jump-off and some trails
As I have said, it was a combination of several things: One, there was just too many of us in the group.  We were 16, with hiking experience ranging from none to more than 10 mountains.  Given the range of our capabilities, we were too slow.  Some have to take more breaks than the other.  Another factor is the difficulty of the trail.  The trail is mostly forested.  There are parts when you have to use both your arms to hold on to roots and trees to be able to get up, and there are parts where you have to sit down and slide down, or crawl on all fours!

the river 
We passed by Peak 1 and Peak 2, where there was not enough space for the 16 of us to comfortably have lunch. So we took our lunch at the Summit which we reached by 2pm. Along the way, our guide, Kuya Willy foraged for us so we did enjoy langka while walking! But we were mostly too hungy when we reached the summit.  We took pictures, rested a little and we were ready to descend by 330pm.
the beautiful view on the trail
Then, another contributory factor was the rain.  It rained hard! So what was already a difficult trail became almost impossible! It was too muddy.  Then it was dark and some who were told to bring flashlights only brought their phones with flashlight (which was useless in the rain!).  So we took longer going down than we did going up.  We slid on our butts, sideways, backwards and front. It was fun, but we were just too tired!
the summit!
I was already beyond tired by 7pm.  "Alam mo ung pagod? Lampas na ko dun. Gusto ko na lang makauwi. Kuya, ilang minutes pa? Kuya, pagtapos nito meron pa bang madulas? Eto na ba yung pinakamahirap? Eto na yung kalsada? E gubat pa rin to eh. Wala na kayong tubig?'  These were just some of our complaints to our guide.  But Kuya Willy's spirit never wavered.  Siguro gusto na nya kaming sakalin pero he was still all smiles.  At one point, I asked him already if we were lost and he just laughed at me.  He said he can traverse these mountains even without a flashlight so there is no way that we were getting lost.  And true enough, just when we were too tired, we saw lights from houses.  And then from his house, it was still a 30-minute walk to the store where we can shower and change. 

But don't think for a moment that I didn't enjoy myself.  I did.  Even when I was too tired already. Even while the rain was pouring and I was drenched.  Even when my legs were rubbery from all those walking.  Even while I thought we were getting lost.  I didn't for one moment felt any fear, nor did I feel that my life was in danger.  Truth be told, aside from the tiredness, I was having the time of my life! Hahaha, not possible I know.  But its true.  I felt so alive, and thankful that I can still do this. And it's one of the reasons why I climb mountains: knowing that even when I am beyond tired, I can still find it within me to go on.  

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