Mt. Tarak was the first mountain I've ever been to. It was a test of ENDURANCE because ascending took us about 6 hours and descending was about 5 hours and it was a test of COURAGE and SURVIVAL because never in my life I have imagined to be camping on a mountain under a very stormy situation. I could not sleep and I was praying to God for help, while chilling, the whole night for the storm to end because it was almost going to blow away our tent. Thankfully, our adviser - Allan, came to the rescue and helped us nourish ourselves with Tinola even though it was cold. It was probably the longest night that I've been up and unable to sleep even if try. Thankfully, I still live to tell the tale. But that was probably the highlight of my Mt. Tarak climbing experience.
|Still smiling despite the stormy condition outside.|
As the climb date draws closer, I became more and more uneasy and excited too. I was assigned as the GL (Group Leader) of BMC Group 2, which started as a joke during the wall climbing event at Camp Sandugo. Honestly, I didn't know much about anything on being a Group Leader. I was even trailing behind the other members of Group 2. It was not a good feeling, but I didn't let that bring me down. I just thought, "they had to do what they had to do". Thankfully, sweepers were behind me, so there was nothing to be afraid of at all.
|Before everything gets serious, we had a photo op.|
Getting through the tall grasses was annoying because I'm short of height and the grasses were covering me, that I couldn't almost be seen should I get lost from the trail, even if I try to raise my hand and seek for help.
Errmm. Now here are the fun parts. First, I've been to the most-talked about Papaya River at Mt. Tarak. It was my first time to bathe on a river and the water was so freakin' cold, but I did freshen me up and reinvigorated my senses. It was a like a recharging station. I also refilled my water container with water from the Papaya River, though I was scared I might get amoebiasis from it, but I believed in my comrades (the SMCnoys) when they said that it was safe to drink from it... and it was true because I am still alive and kicking!
The second fun part of climbing Mt. Tarak was the wall/rock climbing experience. I was like, "so this is really an application of what we have learned at Camp Sandugo... only harder". It was more challenging than the wall climbing experience at Camp Sandugo because there were no safety harness to save me if fall and I was a carrying a bag that is 75% of my height containing heavy loads and it was raining too. SAN KA PA? And I mean that with no arrogance or whatsoever.
Another fun part was crossing rivers. It was not taught during the BMC sessions prior to this climb. Thankfully, the more experienced SMCnoy like Ms. Joyce was just around to give tips on safely crossing a river with gushing rapids. But there were some parts where I have to act purely on survival instincts and sometimes I'll just find myself already on the earth after slipping through the muddy ground.
During the descend, we met other mountaineers and I suppose they were not just ordinary moutaineers. They were fast. So impressed that I tried to catch up with them until I finally caught up with the others. Descending was less exhausting than climbing and by the time I reached the "paanan ng bundok", it was like a walk in the park... LITERALLY.
|Praying for the Lord's blessing and guidance as we descend the mountain.|
And by the way, hindi ako nag-"major" sa Mt. Tarak! Woohoo!
Climbing Mt. Tarak is an unforgettable experience. I got to discover another side of me, the bundokero side of me that is and formed new bonds with some of the BMCnoys and SMCnoys.
*BMCNoys - soon-to-be inducted members of the Smart Mountaineering Club
**SMCNoys - official members of the Smart Mountaineering Club