The ocean is my first love. But I found true love on the mountains.
Those were the lines of my friend while we were just casually talking about how we got hooked with camping and backpacking. Among my small circle of close friends, none really got into camping, trekking, nor backpacking. All of us are beach babies I must say. Just thinking about the effort, difficulty and the rawness of mountain camping and trekking, I can’t help but redirect my thoughts back to the sands, the clear sea waters, and the stress-less lull of the beautiful beaches. But those were way back before I got bewitched by the mountains.
We got our first taste of camping when we climbed Mt. Pulag. Some of us fell in love with the mountains and others were just meh. I became hooked on it ever since I started engaging with small climbing events and eventually upgrading to bigger and more challenging climbs. Out of the six within our circle, I can say there are only two of us who really ventured out into mountain climbing. I am not surprised. Conquering mountains is a strenuous activity. Choosing between relaxing chill and stressful physical activity, surely, one would choose the former.
What makes me love the mountains?
There is something in the mountains that keeps on bugging my head and pulling my heart. I don’t know exactly what. Maybe it’s the pleasure and relieving feeling after reaching the summit; the achievement not by conquering the mountain but, more importantly, conquering and exceeding my limitations. Pure bliss. Maybe just because of the bliss that I feel whenever I spend a day or two in the mountains with my trusted friends. Knowing that we’re in an unfamiliar place and yet still feeling secured because I know I can rest my confidence with them.
The greatest achievement maybe is when I get to influence people and leave imprints on their lives.
Yes, those are my words and those words reflect my aspirations in life. With the memorable experiences and the joy I got, somehow I want to influence some of my friends that they might also be able to peek through what I have seen. There is this urge to make them experience the beautiful experiences I had.
Through the eyes of first-time campers.
I shot an arrow to the moon when I asked my friends to try out camping. I know that it would be very hard to convince them to try it even just for once. Hesitations do cross more than once in your mind especially if it is your first time doing a specific thing. Thankfully, I was successful in pursuing them.
We marked the date and I made sure that the mountain we will be hitting has a low difficulty grade and friendly for first-time campers. Mt. Naupa is perfect, especially for beginners. It is not too steep and the hike only takes less than an hour. It is also located within Naga City.
When we started our trek, as the one who “organized” the climb, I felt responsible for the safety and wellness of my friends. I kept on assessing and checking them up if they’re still okay. I was like a jammed CD that keeps on repeating the same questions like “Kaya pa?”, “Are you still okay?”, “Kamusta?”. I can totally understand if they feel exhausted and tired since they are first-timers. But I got surprised as I saw exuberance through their eyes instead.
We finally reached the camping area. It’s such a good feeling to impart tips and lessons to the first-timers. I got to assist one of my friends in pitching the tent we borrowed. It was his first time pitching a tent. I also got to introduce to them the Leave No Trace (LNT) principle.
We got to introduce to them the cooking on the mountains and sleeping under the billion stars. I can see and tell that they were pleased that they joined the climb. The moon shone so brightly that night. We talked all night as we bathe under the moonlight. Of course, we cannot miss taking several pictures.
We know very well that sunrise is such a delighting view. Amplify its beauty by witnessing it on a different elevation. Sunrise on the mountains is very contemplating. It makes me ponder things in life. Makes me realize things and even more, makes me become more thankful for another day to enjoy life.
After we had our breakfast, we then broke camp and took another set of pictures before descending back to the city. As we descended, I can see through their eyes and actions, and I can observe the tone of their voices that they enjoyed the trip. Right when we arrived at the jump-off area, I interviewed them about their experience.
Looking forward for the next climb.
That’s what my friend, Michael, said.
I’m starting to love mountain trekking/camping. What’s so nice being on the mountain is you get to enjoy the scenic views. The sunrise and the sunsets. They are way too different as seen on the beaches.
My other first-timer friend, Alyannah, answered.
It was a great achievement on my part for somehow I was able to influence and change the way they view mountain camping/trekking. As for now, I can proudly say that I left an imprint on somebody’s views. I was able to bring them to the world of mountain climbing.
Also, a shout-out to my other friend Diane Therese for helping me pulling this out successfully and bringing her cook set and burner that we used in cooking our meals. And credits to Mr. Wandering Soul Scamper for allowing me to borrow one of his tents for my friend. Thank you.