Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Being of Deception part 2

As we trek, ancient gigantic trees welcomed us. Fog and cold air collided with our skin to give us a chill. A weather like this was perfect for us. Usually, a cloudy day can save a lot of our energy. If this was a sunny day, the heat will eat all our energy. Not this time, thick cumulus clouds were up and hiding the sunlight which was a perfect weather for the climb. The ambiance makes it more memorable because you can go through the fog. Pretending that this was heaven. Despite the fog the visibility was still ok. The smell was so fresh and natural that it felt so good.

The ambiance also gave that horror book feeling. That behind the trees and the cold weather, hidden under the fog is a monster or an enchanted being. They said this mountain is enchanted,but that thought did not scare us. We have trekked this mountain many times. The feeling of being in a natural beauty free from the blemishes of the city life that made us come back here. We came for this feeling and for this environment. Nothing felt so good, for a birthday party, this was definitely cool.

A familiar tree greeted us on our way to the mountain. Huge tree with a trunk bigger than a car, right next to it was an albino tree trunk. A variety up to this time we never bothered to ask what it is called.

We climb with a smile on our face. As if this activity was giving us a high better than sex or getting drunk. In every stop that we made , a punchline was thrown to hit someone's exhausted body for a smile to drive the exhaustion away.

After an hour,we reached the peak. It was raining so hard. There was some thunder and lightning. Funny thing was that the lightning was below us. Ever heard of the effects in a movie about the sound of electricity , that was what we heard. The lightning-well it was below our small campsite. The campsite is as small as a one car parking. On the side of the mountain is an 80 degree drop down to the next town or next province. You choose which province will be able to take care of you when you fall.Of course, by the time you know that, you could be talking to St Peter already. We saw streaking lights moving down the mountain slope, and the sound of the thunder was not the usual rumbling sound.It does not even resemble any bowling pins thumbling down on a good strike throw. It sounded like real live electricity.Imagine we are wet and on top of the clouds.We were wondering if this will electrocute us.With cold and hot air mass convulsing to create lightning just a few meters from the end of the mountain slope and our trail.

Nevertheless, like a true mountain climber all dangers are carefully examined and considered. In the end, just like what we had done before,ignored the different difficulties ahead. Hunger was an immediate and more dangerous situation at that moment. So,we pulled out our fly sheets and made a makeshift shelter. Underneath, we gathered our provisions for lunch. We ate sandwhich,chicken and rice while soaking under a heavy rain,so were the food that we ate.I lighted an incense and a short prayer was led by one of the members of the team. After that we descended to the nearest campsite to spend the night to consume the gin and rhum.

On our waydown, we had a buddy system. Each climber will have a companion, as part of our safety procedure. Except for a middle man,or some call him sniper who spot the members of the team location and guides them. Since, I was the most senior of the climbers though I am second to the youngest,I became the middle man. Rushing from one side to another side to check on them.

I was confident, no one will get lost there was only one trail to follow.Well,till we get to the next apple stop.That part the trail branches out to different destination. Either it could send you trekking for a week or getting to the dangerous part of the mountain.That stop is the place where we can take five and wait for one another.

On a very tight trail,where you make a wrong move will bring you tumbling down the cliff. I heard someone shouting my name. It could be a call for help. I rushed to where the voice was coming.I made the biggest pace in my entire climbing life.When I reached a wider trail the voice stopped. Then I saw a trail leading down on the left side when the usual trail that we take is on the right side. I ascended this mountain many times and never saw this trail. I shouted the name of the friend.I can identify the voice -it was Efren's voice. I shouted his name again. I heard a reply coming from the trail leading down on my left side. As I recall on our way up, there was no trail on this side..it was a quick down fall drop cliff meaning no one can go down without a rope. The inclination is something very hard to manage without a rope.Now,it looks relatively easy.

I was worried because it was my birthday and they were my guest. I have to take care of them, though, I know they are more than capable to take care of their own being a pure outdoor person. Nevertheless, it was my party and my current status as a middle man makes them my responsibility.

to be continued........

(preview: a voice shouted from the left and right -the same voice,heard from two distant places. It was not an echo.The mountain was calling for me. I heard it called my name.....so much is running in my mind..the thought that the being of deception was present...)

Being of Deception

A birthday is always a good experience. As a person gets older, one find it important to celebrate their natal day in the most unique and memorable activity. For me, in of one my birthdays while in college; a climb in one of the most beautiful mountains was the most memorable. As a mountain climber it was really very personal.

Organizing a party of really close friends of climbers from different schools will require a detailed planning. Well, we made an itinenary that is the shortest and unwritten. ETA at jump off point is at 7am, ETA at peak will be 12 an ETD at 130, be at the campsite at 3pm. The shortest menu for the a 15 man team,lunch sandwhich, 7 whole chickens all fried and Gin to go with it. The pre-climb happened in a bar across the school campus near the most expensive hospital. A week before that we had an official pre-climb meeting which was the shortest also, about 10 minutes but the drinking lasted till 4 midnight. For us,we call it detailed planning we know how much food and liquior to consume for the climb.

We were in full gear,all the provisions were there. Each one paid for their own ticket. Shared the food provisions, each carrying one chicken or one bottle of liquior.

While still in the bus, a thought slided through my brain,about old folks saying -birthdays bring a person prone to danger or some unexplainable event. One should never stray far from the house or danger will happen to the birthday celebrant. They also said Santa Claus is real. I guess, superstition and myths were popular in the old days because cable tv and broadband does not exist yet. The same that tv was not around in the old days that each family is like a basketball team, they have 7 to 13 children. When tv came it dwindled down to an average of 2.

The superstitious thought left my mind while continuing the trip. I am more occupied thinking this birthday will be a trip that will be memorable. All my closest friends were there. Nicest thing about it they are all mountain climbers -legitimate climbers.

I saw from a distance, the mountain shape like a girl lying down. The mountain is near and a cold breeze can be felt now. There was a drizzle, which is common in the month of June in this province . As we approached the State University's agricultural and biochemistry college which is located at the foothills of the mountain. I got more excited. As we get nearer to the jump off point. We felt more excited. Then we reached the jump off point. We disembarked and loaded up. Time for us to do what we best do-Climb.

to be continued......

(preview: a voice shouted from the left and right -the same voice,heard from two distant places. It was not an echo.The mountain was calling for me. I heard it called my name.....so much is running in my mind..the thought that the being of deception was present...)