A lot of people were dubious when I first told them I'm climbing Mt. Pulag. I ignorantly thought, what could be so hard? I'll just exercise the weeks before our climb. I know my dad was quite worried because he kept nagging me about exercising and giving me words of encouragement "You'll never make it! You're so unfit!" Thanks, Dad. I love you too. ;p
Well, what I lacked in physical fitness, I more than made up for in courage, although gumption would probably be more apt a word. The weekend was such an untypical one for me that afterwards, I thought every moment was an exercise in courage, defined herein by a sheltered city girl:
Courage (or thriftiness) is wearing an obnoxious-colored shirt even though the last thing I want to do is call attention to myself because I'm such a klutz and it's my first time to climb Mt. Pulag. I had no choice; this was the only Dri-fit shirt I had and I didn't want to spend on a new outfit. Vain, vain, vain!
Courage (or faith) is enduring a 6.5-hour bus ride, a 3-hour jeep ride, a 3-hour trek, and the cold weather in hopes of touching the clouds.
My cousin Chris had three layers on -- a v-neck shirt, a collared shirt, and a jacket -- and we were still in the city.
Courage (or I deem craziness) is carrying your own pack because you want "the full experience." Chris bravely opted not to have a porter for the 3-hour trek.
Alright, call me a wimp but I really couldn't imagine how I'd survive without one! Maybe next time :) But I really have to exercise for it!
Courage (or resourcefulness) is wearing a garbage bag and owning it! I'll write a separate post on Pulag's must-have for the season, here modeled by Char:
Courage (or sportsmanship) is putting on a cheerful face even after a dizzying jeepney ride. Jason turned green after a winding segment of the road.
Courage (or necessity) is wanting your mommy but choosing not to cry because it's wet and freezing and there's a tent to be set up. The morning after, we found the ground slightly icy.
Courage (or laziness) is deciding not to go back into the freezing rain and sleeping without dinner. Here we are a little squished but drier and warmer inside the tent.
Courage (or foolishness) riding the jeepney "top load" like I did. Shhh, don't tell my parents! I did choose to ride on the roof for the paved section of the road, so it was relatively safe :) The experience is awesome and literally gave me a broader perspective -- of the clear sky, the unlogged mountain range, the rich vegetation, and the clean, unpolluted river. I hope the Philippines' natural resources are wisely used for a long time.
Courage (or joy) is not knowing what to expect -- in this case, rain, low temperatures (it went down to as low as 8 degrees!), a slow trek up, 300 other campers, no dinner, and zero visibility -- and just enjoying every moment of the journey.
I really praise God for His faithfulness, His protection, His provision. Even though we didn't get to see the summit, I was so blessed by the company and the experience of stepping out of the concrete jungle and my comfort zone. And hey, I really want to do this all over again! Who's with me? :)