Nobody has probably said it better than David McCullough Jr., a famous English professor in Boston when he gave this message as a commencement speech, “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air, and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”
Climbing mountains, whether taken figuratively or literally, is simply no easy feat. People do it for a myriad of different reasons. And if you’re thinking about getting on board and taking your first steps up to the mountains, here are some notes from avid hikers you can perhaps use to encourage and even check yourself.
Christine Fernandez, Hiked 50 mountains
Why do you climb? "Being around trees and plants makes me happy. I don’t even have to see any view, to be surrounded with greenery feels amazing."
Tips for the newbies: "Prepare accordingly. Physically, go for endurance exercises that work on your back, thighs, knees, and calves. Read about where you’re going, know who you’re going with, or at least the organizer (you’ll be alone in the mountain with them so you need to be able to trust the company you’re with) and bring adequate and nutritious food supplies (apples, grapes, nuts, and dried cranberries work well for me). It’s also important to hike your own hike. Whether you prefer day hikes or long hikes, what matters is that it makes you grow... you see the world better, you are more open to other cultures, perspectives—it inspires you to move. You spend time preparing, you’re away from home, and you get something good out of it."
Is hiking just a growing fad? "Hike for the right reasons so you’ll enjoy and learn more from it. Hiking is a growing activity in the Philippines, with more international outdoors brands coming in and outdoor clubs that regularly hold BMCs (Basic Mountaineering Courses). With all the awesome trails we have in the country, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more people drawn to the outdoors.
May Lopez, Hiked 20 mountains
Why do you climb? "There are a lot of reasons: [The] feeling of serenity whenever I am on top, meeting new people; [it] helps me to be physically fit, getting close to nature at nakaka-adik lang talaga. Even the body pain after a hard climb, hahanap hanapin mo din."
Tips for the newbies: "There's nothing wrong being a newbie. Lahat nanggaling dyan. If you're really into climbing, invest on equipment/gears, you'll need them. Be a responsible climber. And keep climbing!"
Is hiking just a growing fad? "Nakakainis yung mga ganyang pa-show off! Hahaha! Naka-akyat lang mountaineer na agad. Some will say that climbing is for everyone but for me it's not. Just like any other sport, if you don't have the passion for it, you will never achieve that true feeling of fulfillment."
Genesis Ang, Hiked 50 mountains
Why do you climb? "As George Mallory said, 'Because it's there.' And also for extreme adventure (minsan masarap ang sakit nito) and to escape from reality."
Tips for the newbies: "Never underestimate a mountain. Mag-prepare para sa hike at mag-ingat kahit mababa lang ang aakyatin."
Is hiking just a growing fad? "I think it's a growing fad just like running. Dati hindi naman uso ang fun run at akyat eh ngayon may Facebook na at nakikita na ng iba ang mga lugar na pinupuntahan, ayun na e-enganyo din sila. Pero don’t consider yourself a mountaineer just because you already climbed a mountain, yan yung mga nakiki-bandwagon lang."
Carl Jose, Hiked 14 mountains
Why do you climb? "Because I believe there’s more to life than just city, walls, and roads."
Tips for the newbies: "Tiwala lang! Be prepared, research about the mountain first. Always consider turning back or not going at all if safety is compromised."
Is hiking a growing fad? "Don’t let them (so called showoffs) down or judge them. You will never know, they may be climbing now because of the hype but after that first mountain they might learn a little more about themselves and the mountains. It might make them a better person in the end."
Now if you think you are finally doing it for the right reasons, we leave you with a line from famous author Jack Kerouac…
“Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that godd*mn mountain.”
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