A glorious sunrise. Mountaintops surrounded by clouds. Everything bathed in a beautiful sun-kissed glow. A feeling of awe and indescribable peace as one marveled at the beauty of creation.
That's how I imagined it to be, weeks before we embarked on a trek to the 2nd (or is it 3rd?) highest peak in the country.
But no. At the peak, it was fog and mist. And ice cold rain. Everything was enveloped in a dreary gray fog. So much for the view. It didn't help that we had to endure a sleepless night inside a dripping tent.
The wind and rain lashed through the four layers of clothing I had on. They pounded on us relentlessly as we broke camp and descended. The weather only started to clear when we were near the end of the trail.
Sigh. Needless to say, there was no feeling of awe. More like aw crap.we went all the way up for this? it's so damn cold let's get outta here...
Disappointing as the climb was, I could not have chosen to spend my weekend any other way. Here are some things that made it all worthwhile:
1) Meeting new people. Benny, Allan, Trinka and Katja. A lovely bunch. As Verchie's tag-alongs, they were quite easy-going and fun to be with.
2) Being with kindred spirits. Winna, Bj and Isbel. Fellow lovers of the mountain.
3) The simple meals that tasted 20 times better on a higher altitude. Best adobo and hotdog and Tasty bread ever!
4) Being with familiar friendly faces. Hello EMC!
5) Rain or no rain, it's still Mt. Pulag, baby!
As with any climb, what makes it great besides the actual exercise of climbing, is the company. On this particular trip, I can definitely say that the company made up for the less than stellar experience on top.
As I unpacked my backpack and cleaned up after the trip, I felt exhausted. But it wasn't the kind you felt after surviving another toxic day at work and traveling through rush hour traffic in the city. It was a happy tiredness. My body was tired. But my mind was refreshed.
And so now I remember why I climb mountains.