I've always wanted to try hiking and mountaineering but I never had the chance to do so, what with all the running and training that I do. I love running, a lot. But it takes up so much of my time that I miss out on doing other things. So when a friend posted an invite for an open climb on the second Friday of June and I saw that I had nothing scheduled for that day, I immediately jumped at the opportunity and reserved myself a slot.
The meeting place was at Cubao at 3:00am. Unfortunately, the organizer arrived an hour late and it was almost 4:30 when we started heading for Rizal. After a couple of stops along the way, we arrived at the jump-off point near the barangay hall in Brgy. Daraitan at around 8:00am. After dividing our large group (there were around thirty of us) into three smaller groups, we started the climb at around 8:30am.
team solid :)
Now, while this was my first actual climb, I had my first taste of the mountains when I joined a trail running event on Mt. Sembrano which is located in Pililia, Rizal. I'm no stranger to "uphells" and assaults but this was entirely different from what I'm used to at road and trail running. For one, the trail here was very steep, with lots of huge rocks and a few patches of dirt. One couldn't really run in these trails. Thank goodness the weather was in our favor or else I would have found myself slipping and sliding every now and then, being the klutz that I am.
After more than a couple of hours of trekking, climbing, and cursing under my breath (hahaha), we finally reached the summit of Mt. Daraitan. The view of the Sierra Madre region was nothing short of breathtaking and it was truly worth the climb. I felt in awe as I took in all the beauty. We did the obligatory photo ops on the buwis buhay parts of the summit, and had our lunch afterwards.
When we were finally able to rest and recharge, we started our descent. It started drizzling by that time but it didn't last very long. Since we were to traverse to Tinipak river, we took a another trail down Mt. Daraitan. Although it was a different trail, it has the same level of difficulty as the one we took during our ascent. It was steep and rocky and muddy. I slipped and lost my balance a couple of times. I made sure to hold on to every rock and tree branch that I could reach to avoid slipping some more. We finally made it to Tinipak River three hours and one pit stop at a campsite later.
sneak peak of what's in store: Tinipak River
While the others went to explore the caves, I decided to stay behind and enjoy what the river had to offer. Also, I was feeling sticky and sweaty and water looked so cool that I wanted nothing more than just to take a dip. So I did, and just relaxed while waiting for the others to finish exploring the cave.
We started our way back to the jump-off at around 4:00pm. On our way back, we took the riverside trail which was on a fairly flat terrain of mostly rocks and dirt. It would have taken us longer to get back to the jump-off but one of my companions and I (being runners, lol) decided to run along the trail, with walls of rock on one side and part of the river on the other. We also passed through some houses and a cemetery. We got back at the jump-off in less than an hour.
As soon as we got back, I gathered my stuff from the van, took a shower for Php.20, and had some lomi at this store in the area. We took one last group photo and boarded the van. We left past 6:00pm and arrived at Cubao at around 9:00pm.
What to wear:
- trekking shoes or trail shoes
- outdoorsy clothes (shorts are fine, believe me... I'm a total klutz and I went home scrape-free)
- head gear or anything to shield your face from the sun
What to bring:
- trail food (nuts, chips, etc.)
- packed lunch
- 1.5 to 2 liters of water
- small towel
- a change of clothes
For my first climb, it was a really good experience and it was definitely one for the books. The ascent and descent was a bit difficult but thanks to my runner lungs and muscular legs, I really didn't have much of a hard time as I expected.
They say that hard work always has it rewards and in this case, the reward came in the form of a stunning view of the wondrous works of nature. And really, what more can one ask for? :)