Never mind that I haven’t slept the whole night because I was too busy trying not to die of hypothermia. Never mind that we haven’t brushed our teeth in the past 24 hours. Never mind that our leg and thigh muscles have taken so much abuse they were close to shutting down. We were at the peak of the highest mountain we’ve ever been on; it was sunrise and there were photo ops to be made.
We spent a good hour taking in the view and basking in the sunshine (so this is what heat feels like). Well, Chiara did anyway.
I was mostly busy sending out text blasts to people in my phonebook to brag that I made it to the top. My insurance agent was relieved that I was still alive. My parents called to lecture me on the dangers of mountain climbing. My dad in particular still doesn’t get the point of climbing a mountain just for the heck of it.
“So what exactly are you doing there? Are you on a treasure hunt or something?” he said after I excitedly told him I was on the second highest peak in the country. Fathers say the darnedest things.
I know I’ve flooded this blog with so many photos of mountains and mossy trees already but here are a few more. Dammit, I busted my entire lower body to get to the top and I need my psychic rewards.
After taking about a hundred pictures and getting a good dose of vitamin D, we headed back to the campsite, had breakfast and packed our stuff. We started our descent at 9am. Our pace was faster going down but it was also tougher on our already tired legs. My feet were hurting and I could feel my toenails dying one by one. Chiara was having a tough time keeping up and it didn’t help that our guides were just running down the trail like their tails were on fire. They had to catch the last jeepney trip going to Malaybalay at 3pm.
There was a little drama towards the end of the hike but everything always ends well with a bottle of Tanduay. We spent the night at the Binahon farm downing shots of the favorite local rum with the staff. Nothing like high-proof alcohol and good ol’ kwentuhang kanto to relieve exhausted muscles and bad vibes.
At the end of it, we were both humbled upon having to face our physical limitations (and utter lack of camping skills) but also proud that we were able to survive something we thought was far beyond what we could handle. Two clueless wimps reached the peak of Mt. Dulang-Dulang, lived to tell the tale and became better friends for it. Now there’s a good story to tell the grandkids.