I'm the slowest and the most coward hiker in the whole world. I have fear of heights. I'm not even sporty. And I always have hamstring injury. But here's my unusual story of love for heights, hills, volcanoes and mountains.
I'm flat-footed but I've always loved walking. Then walking became travelling. Then travelling became exploring out of my comfort zone-- the heights.
It all started with one mountain... then, followed a couple more summits. Now, I've crossed six mountains on my list and I'm clamoring for a thousand more hills, mountains and volcanoes.
It wasn't an easy journey. Each trip was a tad hard for my "unsporty" body. I've always vowed not to repeat that experience-- the ultra-mega-tiring experience that makes me curse while I'm on that never-ending road, while my legs and feet hurt like there's no tomorrow, and while I'm on that spot in this universe where there's only one step that separates life and death.
But you know how it is in this world, great experiences come from sufferings! As the good saying goes, "No pain, no gain!" Hiking is a good kind of suffering. It's painful while you're doing it but it's just a temporary kind of pain-- that beautiful pain you wanna experience again and again no matter how excruciating it is for every body part you could enumerate and disown in this world.
I've always had funny souvenirs to take home in each trip--- from unrecognizable trekking shoes turned into a muddy alien...broken cellphone due to heavy rain...LSS from the lovely hum of a bird or the loud song from a tiny cricket...piercing bruises due to happy bumps... to unlikely cuts from holding thorny leaves.
I never had that mountaineer bone in my body. It's just me who cringes every time I'm on that deep ravine, edge of a cliff, and that terrible peak that seemed to pull me into a freefall. It's just me who turns into an old lola who couldn't figure out the right footworks in order to cross one boulder to another. And it's just me, the frustrated mountaineer, who despite that fear, has always gone home happy and alive.
I only have a handful mountains/volcanoes that conquered me. That's right! They conquered me, not the other way around. Each journey was a little step out of my comfort zone. From "skiing" down muddy lanes with the help of long sturdy reeds to powdering my whole attire with brown sand, I've gone outside the box. And of course, I will not forget urinating on top of the hill, in the presence of friendly battalions of cattle. Every trip was worth liters of sweat, unimaginable stinky smell and of course 2 days worth of muscle sore.
There are more expeditions I want to share with you but rather I would like to emphasize on the importance of these trips. If you've got a whole baggage of problems on your shoulders, if you're an atheist, if you wanna fight monotony, or if you've lost purpose in this life, I suggest that you go on a mountain (no exaggerations here). It's too easy to fall in love again with that summit. Nature's too beautiful that there's no way I could think of someone not to believe in a god. Every mountain is just too immense for you to remember again your place in this world, and to laugh off your miniscule problem compared to that holycamowli lovely piece of land you're stepping on. And of course, each trip brings you closer to that good creator, with the help of her wonderful masterpiece.
I'm still dreaming of a starry evening on top of a mountain, the day when my feet touches the clouds, a 360 degree view of the sunrise, Mt. Apo, or the day when I'll stop fearing heights. Maybe one day I'll wake up without that fearful bone in my body and become a mountaineer. Yes, that mountaineer with that lovely getup and that gutsy attitude. You'll never know! ;-)