H I K I N G
S T O R Y
Like me, you don’t see what others see. Sometimes you probably read a magazine from the last page. Or you find it normal to read through movie credits at the cinema, especially spotting how many technical roles one guy managed to do for one whole production. More than the passing fancy of killing time, you get giddy at being idle in a random space where most people are normally just in transit. Perhaps you even get amused at being caught outside in a drizzle. What others consider the stuff of muck, you see as gold.
It was the same silly burden that I carried with me when I left the comforts of my booked Baguio City lodging one early January this year to have a day hike of Itogon’s Mount Ulap. The weather was pleasant but I felt every hair strand on my head every time each reacted to the ubiquitous breeze.
More than the breathtaking views of the town’s highlands, I found its grasslands to be attractive. The scenery made me feel small and it was alright. I didn’t find it threatening at all. To be actually in the presence of a vast expanse of nothing but a sloping terrain, wafting breeze, and blue sky meant so real to me like a kid in a candy store.
What my co-hikers did not know was that I perceived the ground to be moving, the air around me on a wicked dance move of tango, and the sky to be mesmerizing shades of gray instead. There was revelry in my mind of the scenery in black in white and I was infatuated by it.
When everyone trudged on to be at the famous Gungal Rock Formation after four hours, I was secretly hoping the ground would rip open to create a gap between me and them. I was right behind everyone but I was a galaxy away.
It was not exhaustion nor my lethargic sense of idleness that caused such rumination. I was just fascinated by the views and how they left my struggles and having everyone else around me pointless. The cascade of lush pine trees actually glistened against the warm mid-day sunshine as if they were oracles on a procession. With shadows of trees cast in varying shapes, the highland cliffs appeared to have been carved on their side like they were portals to the netherworld. I knew that nature was playing tricks on my eyes and I stared back with complete abandon. If I was given a wink, I knew that I received it more than once. When everyone seemed ecstatic over layers and layers of colors, I was oblivious of the prevailing astonishment.
It was only at the descent of the traverse when I flipped back to reality. I sort of used up 90% of my energy already and I was almost on low batt mode. I was feeling parched and my knees seemed brittle. Suddenly, I was aware of our hiking group and how everyone was trying be dauntless getting off the mountain.
My infatuation lasted up to the summit and fizzled right towards the end which reminded me of my life relations. Past the climax, the end of the journey always looked so terrifying. It always imposed itself on the whole experience, rendering any remnant of the divine and the unforgettable forgettable.
In one instance, we all get vulnerable about ending what could have been before we even get to fully grasp what it was in the first place. It meant saying goodbye before one’s hello even settled in. What started in black in white for me ended in a multi-colored reality of exhaustion.
Interested to visit Itogon for a dayhike? Check out my Mount Ulap post for directions and more.
Check out my other travel stories:
• Callao Cave In Reclusive Black and White
• A Tribute To My Pet Dog, Lancaster
• Creepy Travel Tales
• Why I Sketch Views In My Travels
• Baguio City Has Two Faces
• Finding Humor In Travel
• The Measure of A Man
• How Travel Changed My Life
Where to stay in Baguio City for a visit of Itogon? Check out the following posts:
• Baguio GM Apartel
• Peredo's Lodging House
• Mountain Lodge
• Microtel By Wyndham-Baguio
More Photos Below: