following my bliss

Mountains are high and hard to climb, but they offer ME a better view

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Hearing the high beat,
my arms outstretched in the tingling
Process of transformation,
and soon tough legs,
With folded feet,
trail in the sounding vacuum
of passage.

:: All about me ::
Name:Mec Sexy
Date of Birth:October 03, 1977
Status:Prodigal Mountaineer
... but I practice LNT ha!

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Winners take time
to relish their work,
knowing that scaling the mountain
is what makes the view from the top
so exhilarating. (D. Waitley)

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Thursday, November 11, 2004
Watching the news regarding Prana last night, JRA kidded me about having put myself in similar situations before.

Actually, he was talking of my GuisGuis climb... where I was left alone for awhile, dealing with the wall, cold...

See, I was semi-injured then. I twisted my ankel several times the other day and therefore was a sort of liability. Our group put me in the front of the pack so that I won't be lagging so much behind. When we reached the rope-climbing/wall part... I was already in the middle of the pack.

My buddy was very nice and supportive, even offering to bring my backpack for me. I refused because the backpack, tho weighing my foot down, actually helps me keep my balance as we went our merry way from Palacio to Durungawan III.

However, I couldn't still carry my backpack while climbing ropes as well. My buddy was a lot stronger than even our male counterparts, and she insisted on carrying my backpack for me when we reached the most critical wall. She went ahead, with the assurance that she'd be waiting for me at the top of that wall.

What happened was, she got scared. Carrying two bags and the Banahaw crater looming from all around you, with the mist from its river and the fog for being 2,000 metres high up the ground limiting your visibility to just the rope you're holding and the rocks you can also hold onto or use as footholds... she got scared that she might fall. So, forgetting her promise to me, she kept climbing and climbing and climbing all the walls... catching up with the head of the pack.

Me, on the other hand, managed to climb the most critical wall safely. But alas, no buddy waiting for me. I figured she's just waiting for me somewhere where she can sit and be comfy. So I followed the ropes and took care walking some cliff-like trails to next rope. I kept telling myself, she's just at the other end. And because it's really kind of dangerous to dally, I pushed myself to not feel my ankle's complaints. But still, no buddy.

And then I realized, I was alone. I couldn't hear my other friends. I started wondering if I took a wrong turn somewhere and is actually lost. (after all, there were many of them following me, where are they?!) My rational mind would counter that I followed the ropes, and surely that's the correct way? (after all, there's not much trail on this part of Banahaw, it's mostly just a 20-45 degree wall you climb using ropes) Also, a part of me hoped that my buddy would still show up, looking for me. I was torn between paranoia and rationality, i'd proceed climbing and then stop sometimes. I'd cry out for people. I'd sing. I'd shout.

I was still alone.

And then fear really got into me and I stopped altogether. I sat on a protruding rock and took stock of what's really happening. My rational, logical, sane mind still insists that I couldn't have possibly taken a wrong turn. I also assumed that my bud thought the others were taking care of me alright. I also allowed that the others might be going more slower because they still had their backpacks, whereas I was n't carrying any load anymore.

And then it hit me. I didn't have my backpack with me. IF I was really lost, I wouldn't have anything to eat, or protect myself with. I pondered going back down and retracing my steps, but the injured foot reminded me that i'd most probably end up in an accident because supporting your weight going down is something it cannot bear.

And did I mention that it was friggin' cold there? The fog was everywhere and sitting still just made me feel more cold. I removed my gloves and started rubbing my palms together to keep myself warm. And then I started feeling sleepy. And then I started worrying about hypothermia. And so I started doing crazy mini-exercise twists and shakes of extremities to feel warm... and awake. And thru it all, I worried about being alone.

Actually, I think I was only alone for less than an hour. But believe me how hellish it can prove to be, not wondering if you're safe, or if someone would come. And again, the fact that I didn't have my backpack bothered me to no end. If I was lost, I know I could probably survive the night if I had my backpack. But without it, I would be at the mercy of the elements.

I literally cried when I heard voices again. And aside from realizing who it is that I really love in my heart (because my busy mind contemplated on the possibility of me dying there)... I was also truly made aware of the dangers of being an unprepared mountaineer.

by ~me~ at 7:00 PM ©

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