Back in 2005, a friend of mine, Hans, invited me to climb up Mt. Apo. To those unfamiliar, Mt. Apo is said to be the highest mountain in the Philippines with a height of almost 3,000m or 10,000ft above sea level.
At that time I was 23 years old, a weekend warrior who was stuck in his office chair for most of the week. I was feeling outdoorsy, adventurous and thought that climbing up and back down a mountain in 3 days shouldn’t be so hard. I thought I was tough enough for it and didn’t think much of Hans’ advice to train and prepare for the task ahead.
Boy was I wrong.
3 hours into the climb, I was sweaty, my feet soaked shin high in mud and my quads were screaming to rest. I couldn’t rest. The mountaineering group we joined were already far up ahead and all that was left behind was me and the group sweeper. My thoughts were already thinking why the hell didn’t I prepare.
The second day was worst. After the strenuous first day climb, my whole body was sore. Every step that I made, I was questioning why the hell did I join the pleasure (or pain) of climbing up a mountain. But I had already committed. We were already halfway and turning back didn’t feel right. I had to push and persevere. Every step was a challenge and I just had to keep placing one foot in front of the other. I have just learned what perseverance meant.
The trail was not easy. There was mud, boulders, narrow cliff side trails, deep ravines, and steep almost vertical hills with only bushes to hang on to. At this point I was questioning my sanity and I appreciated how vulnerable I was to dying. One wrong step and I’m done. I was not so tough and death was just one step away.
Fortunately my legs didn’t give up and we were able to reach the summit. Seemed like everybody was enjoying the view except me. I was thinking now I’m up here, it’s another tortuous trek going down!
I did make it down, exhausted and vowed not to ever climb another mountain. However I am grateful to this Mt. Apo climb as it taught me these things:
- Perseverance will get you there.
- Life is short, appreciate it.
- Success favors the prepared.