― Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage
I like taking pauses at times when things are rough and I feel I am sinking. I need a reminder that I can do it... It works like a booster. So that when I'm back on my game, it gives me the acceleration.
When I saw the invite from a friend that we would trek to Mt Sirao last Sunday, I clicked accept without hesitation. I needed this, I thought. Work has been driving me crazy lately but before I lose a screw, I needed fresh air. This was the picture in my mind.
A vast green meadow. A garden of colorful flowers. Happy trees singing with the wind. A beautiful sunshine glittering above us. The sound of water as it cascades from one rock to the other.
My imagination can wander limitless. But before we set foot into this beautiful scenery, there were several obstacles we conquered. This is the road to Mt. Sirao.
On a sunny Sunday morning we met at the front gate of Sunny Hills village in Talamban, Cebu City. Call time was 7AM. After a good and warm breakfast I filled my bag with 2 liters of water, my lunch, bags of chocolate (quick energy fix while trekking) and some snacks. My friends were late, we left at 8AM. Hired a jeepney to take us to the first station where our trek will start.
Everyone seemed eager. We were briefed and instructions were given. Then I asked if how long will it take. To my surprise, I was answered 8 hours. Eight hours of walking where's the fun at that?!
Then we started our ascend. I usually jog at least three days before a trek, you know to condition my body but I was confident it would be an easy trail so I came unprepared.
With the sun beaming a good strength, I was panting. My breathing was quick and deep.
Pretty good warm up. We stopped at a small village to check our water supply. It would be another hours to get good water source for drinking.
And then the descend. This is when my knees started shaking, remember I came unprepared. There's just too much force in descending rather than ascending it hurts my knees.
So I hold unto my knees, looking above, those were steep slopes. And if I fell, I would be lucky to be alive with broken bones. It poured the other day making the ground slippery and that adds the challenge. One slipped, luckily she has her trekking stick.
Finally, a river. We were to follow this river upstream. With Sirao peak at approximately 700 meters high above sea level, it finally sunk in that its going to be a long walk. But there were 34 of us, a big crowd. I only knew a few, I thought, new faces, new friends.
And the walk continued with bigger rocks to cross, I tried not to get my shoes wet and its very difficult to traverse with heavy feet. So I hop. I imagined myself with invisible wings as I land from one rock to the other. A friend noticed, how I gracefully danced with those rocks and I just gave him a smile. Naahh its called weight balancing, I've learned how to switch weights and how much weight to put in a leg so I can move swiftly. But I've noticed my jumps lately were short. High school gym, balance beam, tracks, come on guys!
Our first stop!
photo credits to Normania Addams