The Truth About Hiking

The Truth About Hiking

There are sore muscles, shoulder pains and (sometimes) dead toenails involved behind every breath-taking Facebook profile photo and Instagram drool-worthy shots of a mountaineer.

Contributed by Sar Writes

I just came from the longest, most strenuous, and most painful climb I ever had. I know what I am capable of and I thought that the Mount Kitanglad-Mount Dulang-Dulang (dubbed as K2D) traverse wouldn’t be any trouble for a relatively fit person like me. I do a lot of hikes and have even gone as far as doing pretty badass buwis-buhay ones. I know K2D is going to be hard, but not demotivating, spirit-crushing hard.

Also read: Why You Should Take a Hike at Least Once a Month

I underestimated that climb.

For three weeks, I was idle. I stopped training Muay Thai and went binge-watching over the 1987 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series (don’t ask). I did no body conditioning, no carbo-protein loading, no training or whatsoever prior to this climb. End result? I went home with a knee injury and a vow never to do another climb.

You see, as rewarding and breathtaking those hiking photos you see on Facebook may seem, truth is, hiking is a serious business and it isn’t always fun.

What’s so fun about heavy packs, thin air, dehydration, freezing temperature, and leg cramps anyway?

truth about hikingAny experienced mountaineer will be quick to point out that this image, however awesome and breath-taking it looks, does not take into account the physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, and pain that come with it.

I have been hiking since 2006, but I won’t and will never claim to be a seasoned hiker nor an outdoor expert. But I have a pretty good list of experience enough for me to think that a K2D traverse – pegged by some as one of the top 5 most challenging hikes in the Philippines – wouldn’t be all that bad.

But I was wrong.

This K2D traverse kicked my ass real hard. At one point, I wanted to cry. I wanted to quit. I wanted to stay right there in the middle of the trail and not move and by some magic just teleport to my bed. I know I am partly to be blamed for not being fit enough. But then, believe it or not, I can go on a multi-day hike in Mt. Apo even without proper training and still go to work the next day (hindi sa nagmamayabang but I’ve done this a few times before).

The trail in between Mount Kitanglad and Mount Dulang-dulang is notorious, dangerous, and not for the weak. Seriously, with all those almost 90-degree walls that require both upper and lower body strength, I am thankful that my Muay Thai coach gave me those push-ups and squats that I dread so much or else I would have never moved further when every single cell of my muscles screamed murder.

I would say mountaineers are masochists.

A lot of people, including myself, don’t understand why we find pleasure in pain and discomfort in the wild and why we do this over and over again. Perhaps, a photo at the summit will make a good Facebook profile picture and that’s enough to motivate us to keep climbing. Okay, I’m just kidding (but I meant half of it).

The truth is, no matter how exhausting and painful a hike can be, we will not remember the pain, we will regrow that dead toenail, or we will forget what it’s like to grasp for thin air. But the memory of how we got through an arduous and daunting hike, the company, the breath-taking views, and the freedom we get when scaling a mountain grow beyond and will live with us forever.

There’s so much more than conquering the great outdoors. There is too much to experience on the trails. We become a different person each time we go down from the mountains. We become appreciative, respectful, practical, humbled, and environmentally responsible. In short, we become a better version of ourselves.

Heeding the mountain’s call has taught me a lot of things and one of them is to live life slowly. And I guess, that’s what’s keeping us to come back for more.

Also read: 7 Leave No Trace Principles Every Traveller Should Know About

Even though I swore that there is no way I am going to do another hike again after that K2D climb, here I am – with sore shoulders, can barely walk, and grieving on a dead toenail – on the lookout for the next mountain to conquer. I have always loved hiking the mountains and I guess, quitting isn’t part of it. #SusukaPeroHindiSusuko

hiking trail experience

About Author

Sarah Andres
Sarah Andres

Sarah is a Web Developer from Davao City who loves to travel both in a fictional and real world. When she's not home reading, she's probably off to an adventure somewhere. She believes life is about discovering new things, taking risks, and exploring uncharted territories. Get to know more about her and her misadventures at SarWrites.

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