“The SWEEPER on mountain trail is responsible that no one is LEFT BEHIND. The STRONGEST and the TACTICIAN”
Left to assist the weak and making sure that everyone on the hiking group are in line with the itinerary. The sweeper is a leader which aids those who have lesser physical power because in the trail, no once should fall behind regardless of time constraint.
I have nowhere to go. I want to climb and hike this weekend but most of my friends are not into the mountains. My trail friends have different schedules, rest days or just busy. I’ve got nowhere to go. Surfing the internet makes me dumb, too much running makes me ill and staying in my apartment kills the hell out me. I want to go out but nowhere to go. Bumping to a friend in facebook about their schedule climb, I immediately jump into my usual impulsiveness and join their group for this twin hike.
It was very unusual for me to start the climb on a Sunday morning. I usually go out of the city every Friday or a Saturday. I feel dumb and shit for days now, losing the will to continue my workouts, my runs and my family. Affected by some sort of personal decision and wasted energy, I want to climb to feel the never-ending happiness. That FEELS though. I cramming with my life, as an idiot, I need to settle my education, finances and my freaking life. But for today, I will climb and make new friends out of it.
After contacting my friend from previous work, decided to join their climb. I was too eager that I woke up midnight of Sunday even though the call time is around 0400. I was too early. HEHE. I packed my things, chugged all the water at home, left early and eat all the energy. From Pasig to Cubao, I ducked in and ate my big breakfast. I went to Jolibee Farmers, then wrong branch, went to the correct one in the Mall.
I met the Gang, introduce my babbler shit out of me and tried to mingle. I do no longer want to be the HATE person I was. I want to be nice to this trail people. I remember my trail gang, Balanghai G and Yapak. It makes me sad not to be with them. It was my first time to hike with other group. I miss the team spirit and the excitement that caters a hiking day.
We were able to hopped into our FX to Wawa Montalban, renting the entire PUV up to the DENR building. I met Kuya Albert again (The Hugot Guide), I want him to guide us through. I’ve known him from my previous venture in the Rodriguez Range, Mt Hapunang Banoi day hike. We wait for a couple of minutes for our last pair of guest climbers, registered in DENR and barangay hall. Morning in Rodroguez is nostalgic, the dew from the forest makes the trail wet and muddy. At last jump off, killer pavement jump off.
I wasted energy by talking so much. Sorry guys, I just missed talking to a person. I had my walls, pc and keyboard for a long time. The HAKBANGGAPANGHAGPANG troupe made their way, hitting Mt Binacayan. The pavement road which is part of the trail kick me into my gut. Sweat is pouring all over my body after 10 minutes of climb until we reach the muddy uphill trail. So this is it. This is the world I currently committed with.
The slimy mud makes the trail difficult to trek. We don’t have the usual pep talk, LNT advise, the prayer or the group warm up. Maybe, I miss the old day but they are now long gone. Moving forward, after catching up with the mud track, we reach the boulder part. I am not particular with boulder and rockies. I am the sandy, dusty and dry hiker. I want dry ground from the surface rather that sedimentary rocks and stones. I feel like touching the rocks will break them into dust and it makes me sentimental when I feel like destroying something from nature.
Anyway, the rockies trail is still magnificent. This trail was open a year ago, one of the mainstream peaks because its near Metro Manila, 3/9 difficulty and the summit is glorious. The scenic view from the boulders is really enticing, no wonder hikers from all over the place are running through the trails of Rodriguez. We were able to complete the journey to the summit after 2-3 hours of trekking, endless selfies and human traffic. The rocks are sharps, it will be best to wear gloves, shoes, long pants and long sleeves to avoid getting scratches or serious wounds. The summit view is worthy and thus we descend are way back to start a brand new trail.
We started to trek around 0630. We managed to go down around 1200, rest, lunch time, videoke??! and rest room time. It was Sunday but the place is full with other groups, trails were jam-packed. People from different part of the region were here to explore the 4 open trails in Barangay Wawa: Mt Ayaas, Mt Hapunang Banoi, Mt Pamitinan and Mt Binacayan. Other newly open trails for Rodriguez notably from pinoymountaineer.com itinerary, Mt Lubog and Mt Sipit Ulang. I managed to trek Mt Ayaas and Mt Hapunang Banoi on previous occasions which I haven’t yet reviewed. I will review them once I got the inspiration and some sort of will power to arrange! Sorry!
So after relaxing for a bit, we decide to continue the trek to our second mountain for the day. Mt. Pamitinan, even though our guide gave us warning that many hikers were still up there and trail traffic was linger. Feeling STRONG and EMOTIONAL, only 5 out of 11 from the group decide to continue. Still feeling beat, I mentally struggle because the heat of the sun suffocates me.
My ultimate weakness when it comes to hiking is the heat and humidity. It builds up from my lungs down to my legs. Heavy breathing, I feel like melting slowly to the ground. I became weary that I am being left behind, this time pacing is really slow. I can feel my sticky cold sweat from my head down to my back. I need cold wind to pacify the vertigo otherwise I might collapse any time.
The trail for Mt Pamitinan is familiar because this is also the jump off for Mt Hapunang Banoi. Since, I aware of the trail. I also know the difficulty for the first 30 minutes. It was tiring, 30 minutes of muddy assault. On this journey, I learn that discontinuing my physical fitness training actually loosen my legs and lungs capability. I promised that once I’m back to the city, I will regain my power and strength. I don’t want to feel weak again. In which I did. While writing this review, I manage to increase my mileage when it comes to running, cross training with biking, indulging to swimming and strengthening my core.
Our guide is right, there were several hikers on the junction box. We were able to encounter 5-7 groups going down to their next mountain, resting or really wanted to go home! Reaching the junction trail to Pamitinan and Hapunang Banoi, there were other groups resting because trekking up or down. We also rested for a bit. We were out of itinerary so it we need to hurry before the sun sets down. Around 1500 we trail up to the summit. The rockies started again which slows us down, its a WAY TICKET TO THE SUMMIT. Another group of hikers were going down, we need to stop and give way and vice versa. So it took us a little bit of time before reaching the 1st peak.
The is also spectacular. Dreamy. It smells SUCCESS. Its LOVE. Its HOPE. Yeah, I was the relentless broken soul and heart. Cutting my crap out, we were able to reach our 2nd Peak in no time, after waiting 10-20 minutes before the group ahead of us went down. The Summit can only accommodate 5-10 persons otherwise, in excess of the number will fall off the cliff. LOL! Never mind the hundred selfies, I was worn out and haggard!!
Time checks 1600: time to trail down. The wind came from the west, breezy and bringing dark clouds. Then, it started to rain. We slowed down due to the group which is ahead of us. As a courtesy when it comes to hiking, climbers should give way to those who have faster pacing. We need to acknowledge the fact that hiking is not a FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE basis.
If a person have a greater strength, you need to allow them first and make them ADVANCE either trailing up or down. DONT BE A NUISANCE to other hikers. Anyway, we were able to advance further. Rain water washed out all the thirst I had. It’s almost zero visibility on the trail head. We reach the foot bridge from the jump off around 1730. It’s still raining hard due to thunderstorm but we don’t mind because we were able to finish damn hike.
The FEELS of twinning climb is really unbearable happiness. I realize that hiking still make wonders on my soul-searching heart. I just love the mountains. The view from the above. The refreshing terrain. The adventure. The life.
Source: Personal Photos, Jerleen Custodio Copyright
Manlalayag is Seafarer in Filipino. I want to be a pirate who travels to Collect Memories and Steal Happiness from the places I want to go.