It was at around 3 AM. The air was freezing and I can hear the clanking of the gears and bags at the campsite. Almost everyone was already awake and gearing up for our assault. The cold air was drowsing me back to sleep, but I need to force myself to wake up. Then the thought of seeing the sunrise at the peak flashed through my head giving me the motivation to spring-up.
Bags packed, trekking lights on, and we are ready to go. The climb was more challenging that the previous day’s assault. It was straight on high-degree ascent. Just less than 15 minutes and we can already hear ourselves panting heavily. My chest was pumping so loudly and everyone’s as well, I assume. Of course, our guide was already way ahead of us, but again, climbing is not a race, it is a journey.
Every now and then, we stopped to catch our breath. We can’t see anything yet as it was still dark. Time passed, we were already gaining heights and the morning light started leaking out. By then, we slowly saw how steep the trail was and how magnificent the view at the top is.
We can see the peak of Mt. Kalatungan and Mt. Dulang-Dulang right from where we were standing. Few more steps and we are already at the peak of Mt. Lumpanag. Seeing the beautiful sunrise slowly revealing the colors of the grass, the mountain, and the sky was indeed a drop of relief.
Mt. Lumpanag, or commonly known as Mt. Wiji, stands at approximately 2,819 MASL. A bit shorter than its neighbor peak Mt. Kalatungan, but never short of what it can offer. Mt. Lumpanag’s peak is grassy just like in Mt. Kalatungan. Few tree branches are present but mostly are just dead remains of the previous fire accident. It was so windy and the breeze was freezing, but the view was glorious.
Morning light creeping through the villages down below created a dramatic picture of the landscape. We were not blessed with a sea-of-clouds kind of view, which the locals told us could happen depending on the weather. Regardless, the experience was enough to render me speechless.
We took our breakfast and rested for a while at the peak while hiding behind the bushes from the strong wind. The sun’s heat started to intensify, and so we had to start our descent. I did enjoy the trail as we eperienced different kinds of trail. From open-trails, bushy-filled, forest-like, to the steep and slippery ones. I also made sure that I get to appreciate the mountain and the trail. Every now and then my eyes spotted something interesting for my phone camera.
The descent part was the easiest, as most of the climbs are. Though it took us hours before arriving at the base site, but the pressure to get there fast was gone. Still, mishaps and few slips happenned but thankfully everyone was safe. I applaud our less experienced climbers that were able to complete the whole journey even though they ran out of their energy tanks, but still, they kept pushing forward.
They might trip and even crawled down the trail, but they kept their fighting spirit. They might be the last one to arrive, but as I said, they whole thing is a journey and not a race. I mean, we all were once like them. We started slow until we gained experience to what we are now. Also, for a beginner, climbing two tall peaks for two consecutive days on a major climb is already a feat.
Anyway, it was already noon when we arrived at the base where we started our ascent the previous day. While waiting for the rest of the gang, I took the opportunity to clean-up and re-organize my pack, while our guide and organizer was also preparing for our lunch meal.
I was able to take a rest for a while before everyone already arrived and the whole gang was complete and just right in time when the food was already cooked. We shared local “tinolang manok“, which was sumptuous to my taste buds. A reward after the long trek indeed. After we had our fill, we then had our final photo together with our climb completion certificates.
It was already late noon when we departed for Davao City. We gave our thanks to the locals and to our guide then off we went. It wasn’t that long when everyone passed-out inside th van. It was truly a tiring day and all we wanted was a good rest and sleep.
We arrived at Davao City already late at night. The van driver dropped us at the Airbnb house we rented for two days. We still have a day left and we haven’t decided on how and where we’ll spend it.
NOTES AND REMINDERS
- Listen attentively when an orientation is given.
- Never litter. Be a good example of a mountaineer. Leave no trace.
- Bring necessary amount of toiletries. You might be spending several days with no shower.
- Bring enough potable water for consumption for several days. Especially if you have a sensitive stomach and cannot adapt to natural waters in the mountain.
- If you have a sensitive stomach, better be prepared with OTC medications like loperamide.
- Bring extra batteries for your gadgets and flashlights.
- When camping, make sure to pack even the tiniest bit of trash and bring it with you when leaving the campsite.
- Lastly, enjoy and appreciate what the mountain can offer.
- Remember that this is not a race of whoever gets at the peak first.
- Don’t forget your souvenir pictures.
- Surely, you’ll gain friends, self trust, and self reliance by the end of the adventure.