Humbled by Mt.Apo

I woke-up into a new world. There’s peace all over. Though I want to savor everything in between, I need to get up and chase my dream. My aches will forever be erased three hours from now. I could almost feel like dying once there. Vindication will be in my hands. But no!

Somehow my clothes dried a bit in the cold lonely night. All prepared once more. I’ll change clothes once in Lake Venado on our descend. Wrapped in sweat suits never felt any better. No chills involved. I slept like a baby. Bonnet, checked. Socks, checked. Sweat suits, checked. Gloves, checked. Fleece jacket, checked. Sweat pants, checked. Some Chinese balm, checked. Lastly, vitamins and more prayers.

First thing I did? Open my window and inhale all the fresh air that I can. It’s not that I’m lacking air or something. This doesn’t happen in the metropolis. Even on holidays. I think, into the future, we might be buying cans of fresh air in 711.

Poor future kids.

We wandered around the area after breakfast. There’s a nursery (good job PNOC!) and several plant sites which feature’s Robin Padilla’s seedling (he was here December last year).

   

And as they say, this is a basketball-mad nation. So brace yourselves.

How high is this in the altimeter?

Next time around, that basketball is coming with me.

We took off at around eight. The PNOC area has lots of ground to cover for campers like me. This could well house another 20-30 tents any given time. Plus water here is not a problem.

We passed Lake Jordan and Lake Macadac along the way. Lake Macadac provides fresh clean water and a good vantage point for that Apo reflection. Grass dominates our trek in this high point. But nothing like those found below Mt.Zion.

The wind is constantly blowing while some birds fly by every now and then. I noticed that the trail is winding a bit. We might soon be encircling Apo. But lo and behold comes a towering steep track.

Looks like 70 degrees to me with sticky mud. Slow calculated steps. Each undertaking was a one-miss-I-die affair. I have to look for something to hold onto like a patch of grass but reaching for the top won’t be that easy. Evidence of this are small thorny flowering plants. I would grab onto them accidentally.

To my right is a deep gully with overgrown grasses. Lava could have flowed here in the early times. This was once an active volcano. Pulag would be the highest mountain if categorized as pure mountain. Alas, a signage to the left will be Apo.

Soon enough, the outer rim presented itself.

Small berry-bearing plants were along the way. This wild red berries contains water which could hydrate a thirsty hiker along the way. It’s tasty enough that I couldn’t help myself but indulge.

We caught up with Sir Dennis and Jojo at the foot of the last assault phase which would bring us to Apo’s crater summit. A large gap between crater walls is seen as the door to a hiker’s dream summit attempt.

We wasted no time and took the last 30minutes or so and pushed on. Mid day is coming anyway.

And I was taken aback! Large walls of rock. Howling winds swirling around the camp. Fog so thick it scares me like the Silent Hill game. And sadly, piles of trash and vandalism.

I am already inside the crater of Mt.Apo.

                 

My heart jumped and raced, I could hardly contain myself. I got emotional. It’s a mix of emotions. I’m almost there.

We checked out the place to set camp for lunch. Underneath the altar (the altar was built by someone from Kidapawan City. Now that’s a sign how Filipino’s value their faith.)wouldn’t be nice. The place though damp is also dumped with trash so we settled behind a rock.

I took out some ground sheet to act as our roofing and another one as ground sheet itself. Sir Alvin took care of the ropes and Sir Dennis built it from the ground up. And then the utensils, the food preparation and the cooking plus the water.

Burp! It’s already past 1pm. We’re ready!

15 more minutes. I don’t care about the the hurdles anymore. This is where you put all your bets in the table and just will yourself to succeed.

One chunk of bush, a boulder the size of a double me and a meager trail. But it’s all worth it.

It was a little over past two when I was humbled by everything that surrounds me. From the clouds, the trail I took, the vast land below me. Everything was swelling from within. I am happy. I am even more thankful.

Snap shots were taken from group pictures, solo shots, alti-timed shots, and clearing shots. It’s like having one’s birthday party. But this time, it was congratulatory messages given to members of the team.

Our next stop, Lake Venado for the night. To conserve time, we decided to spend the night in Venado. It’s about two hours below the summit. The goal is to get to the top but that’s only half of it. We need to go down as a complete unit. Besides, temperature could well dip into ten to eight degrees with chilling winds and some rainshower.

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