Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life After the Mountains

Running the trails of Minglanilla, Cebu

Everything has an end, so they say. It will all come to pass. And this may also be true for trekkers and outdoor enthusiasts. After more than seven years of walking the trails in the country, I have started to feel what could be the doldrums of mountaineering! I am no longer excited by the image of sea of clouds, no longer thrilled by packing, no longer challenged by the possibility of an arduous trek, no longer enticed by the thought of a fun socials or the possibility of making new friends. I have stopped bookmarking and labeling those ‘red days’ on my calendar as Mt so-and-so.
I am now more into spending more time with my family and maintaining the good friendships I made during and before those seven adventure-filled years. And keeping in touch with some of these old friends somehow gives me more justification to change directions. And I can’t help sharing a beautiful story built upon the mountains.

If you remember, I featured in this blog some exceptional women in Philippine mountaineering. One of them was Sha de los Reyes (now Sha Bedural). Two years ago, a competition was held that changed the lives of outdoorsmen and women in the country—The NOMADS Peak Competition.
Sha de los Reyes and Eduardo Bedural met as strangers in this competition. Towards the culmination of the event, they became a couple and last year, their first baby was born. They named their baby Wyatt Maktrav Bedural because Sha didn’t know that Maktrav had already been conceived while she was running the trails of Mt Makiling (Traverse) during the Nomads competition.

Ed, Sha and baby Maktrav
And here’s a peek at their bedroom conversations.  (Sorry, English translation will remove the sweetness and the humor so there’s none.)

Ed: Gusto ko na ulit umakyat ng bundok.
Sha: (Tumingin lang sa kanya)
Ed: Ang laki na ng tyan ko oh. Aayain ko si Rheysonn. Night trek kami. 
Sha: Ah ganon? Tatakasan niyo kami ni Nikka? 
Ed: Nakabalik na kami ng bahay bago pa kayo gumising.

Yes some have settled down and changed priorities. Some got serious with their lives and went abroad.  But some others have found a way to relieve their ennui by creating another hobby. Some switched to diving and surfing. Others, like Cheryl Bihag, focused more on running. My friend Bhenjo Bernardo has started training in triathlon. Another friend, Melo Sanchez, got passionate about mountain biking. A lot switched to photography just like my friend Mikel Magdadaro. And still others made use of their experience and found a way to relive their newbie moments by looking at the beaming faces of the participants in their organized climbs and events. In my case, I have gotten tired of going wild and dutty on the trails. I prefer to run clear trails now and go home the same day. I have also found the limestone walls of Cantabaco irresistible. And with the help of a few friends, I have got myself a pair of rock climbing shoes and a harness. So when I’m not running trails, I’m climbing walls.
@ Cantabaco (Cebu)
During holidays, I still bring my trekking stuff but, I find the comfort of the home more inviting than the mud, the rain and the burden of the backpack on my shoulder. It's true what they say: we are too busy growing up that we fail to notice that our parents are growing old. I now choose to spend more quality time with my family. I have found the time and the reason to enjoy checking on my mother, playing DotA with my younger brother, and telling made up stories to my nephew and nieces. And so the holidays became more meaningful and less selfish last year. This has become my new definition of fun. And my recent definition of challenge is to come up with the right amount of money to get myself a good car earned from my own sweat and determination.

But, as they say, Once a climber always a climber! Just like what happened to Ed, nostalgia will always haunt the climber and make him dust off those backpacks under the bed, condition those knees and once again head for the mountains!

So tomorrow, I’m accompanying a group of climbers from Manila who consider themselves ‘newbies’ up the trails of Mt Timbak. I know that the delight and excitement on the faces of these young strangers and the allure of Mt Timbak will rekindle the spirit of adventure in me.

So to all my old trekking friends, see you in the far future when our tummies have bloated and we’ve become the slow trekkers we used to condescend to.
And to the newbies, enjoy the sea of clouds, the new friendship, the achievement and the victory along with the mud, the slips, the ass-busting habal-habal ride, the udlot climbs, the ligaw and the limatiks. Enjoy the moment while it lasts!

YOU deserve a holiday!
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