There has always been an idealistic notion attached to a mountain peak. You stand above the clouds with a commanding view of the stunning vista below. You breathe in fresh, unpolluted air, the way nature meant it to be. In those moments, you are miles away from the chaos of civilization and the filth of modern society.
You don’t expect to see this.
A friend invited a bunch of us to watch his friend’s indie band in a gig. Hanging out in a bar with beer-guzzling rockers on a Saturday night sounded cooler than doing laundry or watching Planet Earth DVDs for the fifth time so I went.
The band we were supposed to be rooting for was set to play last so we had to sit through seven other bands with non sequiturian names like Martian Pancakes or Crickets on Stilts. (Okay, I just made those up because I don’t want to ruffle any feathers. But seriously, what is up with having band names that don’t make any sense? I am a simple-minded person. Don’t mess my mind up with amorphous metaphors.)
The morning of our final day was the most relaxed I’ve ever been since we started on this craziness. The rain had stopped, the sun was up, and I was miraculously alive. What could be more amazing than that?
We even took our time with breakfast, swapping life stories as we feasted on coffee and hot mongo soup. The guard at the ranger station came by and shared his breakfast with us. I listened to Daisy’s and Jay’s stories and was in awe of what they lived through. These two are tough survivors and not just because they got through a traverse. It was an honor to be on a mountaintop with people whose strength and resilience I could only hope to have. Hats off to you, guys.
Pele, Jay and Daisy on the summit of Mt. Kitanglad.
Was I glad it was morning. After spending the night not getting any sleep because of the grueling cold, I was only too happy to see sunshine. Jay and I went up to the summit for our psychic rewards after the previous day’s punishing climb. And all we saw was fog. Very thick fog.
I am way in over my head here. This is suicide. These were my cheery thoughts as I prepared for the traverse from Mt. Dulang-Dulang to Mt. Kitanglad, the country’s second and fourth highest peaks, respectively. I’ve climbed a few mountains but I still can’t consider myself a mountaineer. Whenever I try to say “I’m a mountaineer,” I break into raucous fits of laughter. By and large, I’m just a wimpy, masochistic idiot whose ambitions far exceed her physical abilities.
I got the idea of doing a traverse on my first Dulang-Dulang climb last October. I saw Mt. Kitanglad from the D2 summit and thought “Wouldn’t it be totally awesome if I managed to walk from here to there?” My flashes of sheer brilliance are priceless, I tell you.
Good news (for me at least): I did not die on the mountains. Yay!
Proof of life. Standing on a monobloc chair on the edge of a cliff seemed like a good idea at the time. Don’t ask.