So I climbed a mountain yesterday! It was an overnight trip - a day to reach the summit, camped just below, got up to see the dawn and the views [the summit clouds over pretty early] and then back down.
Discovered I'm not as fit as I thought! Achy breaky legs today! I lay in the hammock all day and chatted to the squirrel sisters [there's 4 of them] - it really is a lovely place and the food is outstanding!
The 'other foreigner' turned out to be a Hungarian chap called Balint, who had planned his two-week trip around the boat to Sibuyan, with the intention of climbing this mountain. So I felt a bit of a fraud, crashing in on his party the night before [particularly as I obviously slowed him down!] but he was cool - so I think I got away with it! [grin]
It was a beautiful hike. I love the rain forest - particularly high 'cloud forest' - it's like nowhere else. But, blimey it's exhausting - you don't so much walk as manoeuvre. It's full-body, full-contact hiking!
A rain forest is an entanglement, that twists and turns and wraps around itself grappling for the light. Barbara Kingsolver said "the forest eats itself and lives forever" and I did have a sense of nature as an almost malignant or mischievous force, when vines seemed to conspire to trip me up and spiky things snagged me as I passed. There's no rhythm to it, it's an obstacle course that you must climb over, crawl under, clamber up and slide down [picking the leaches off as you go! They didn't like Balint, but they loved me [sigh] I was trying to remember why exactly they're supposed to be good for you... anyone know?! If they are, then I am now a very healthy girl indeed...]
Weirdly, the last part [in the cloud] - cold, windy and rainswept with wispy cloud blowing through the trees - looked remarkably like the Degoba System! I kept expecting a small wrinkly character to appear [as if from nowhere] and say
"Very high up the mountain this is - have a good reason to be here you do?" [grin]
But sadly the only shadowy figure was our guide, who said very little and watched us from a distance, with a bemused look, as if he was finding the whole experience very odd. [smile]
On Day Two Balint was up before dawn, heading for the summit, camera at the ready. He was also considering going on [across a treacherous ridge] to the next summit. There was no way I was crossing that ridge at the best of times and certainly not in the dark! I followed at a more leisurely pace. But the views [and the wind] soon woke me up. We were at the top of the world [ma!] with the whole island laid out beneath us. I could even see the other two Islands to the West, [where I had come from], the reef surrounding us and just south of Romblon Island I could see a Plankton Bloom. Awesome.
The way down was hard [my poor knees!] but all worth it!