I have now been officially inducted into the hallowed echelons of the Hall of Fame for Lazy Bloggers. I just got my popcorn trophy in the mail yesterday. It was already stale. They were too lazy to send it out on time.
Enough drama. I waited a whole week to tell this story. And this isn't a story about my college classmate Gina. It's a story about a mountain. I climbed one last weekend, and named Mt. Maculot, thus the direct disclaimer for my college friend.
I went up with my girlfriend, a couple of friends with siblings, plus friends of friends, so it was a diverse group. There were veteran climbers and then there were us mainland folk. The trek to the campsite (about 700 meters above sea level), was to take 1 1/2 hours, but us newbies took three days. Okay. I exaggerated. It was no Mt. Everest, but it still took us almost four hours to climb. I personally would have liked to have ran as fast as I could to the top, but that would have taken the fun out of watching the others slip and stumble every few times. I'm cruel, I know.
I'm all for postcard-ish views and breathtaking scenery, and Maculot's view of the sunset over Taal Volcano was supposed to be one of the best. So I was particulary looking forward to witnessing that. We were just about right on time for the sunset when we got to the campsite just before 6PM (The veteran climbers in our group had gotten to the site in 2 hours, so the had all set up camp and everything). I was ready to shoot photos, after setting up our tent, of course. That took another half hour, and as soon as we were done, the sun promptly disappeared below the horizon, headed off to service the other side of the world. I had missed the sunset. I had picked the worst time to be macho and pitch a tent.
Dinner was an interesting subplot in the adventure. I finally got to the 'roughing it' part of the trip. I found all the tiny cooking stoves and pots and pans amusing. It was like he had brought an entire kitchen with us. Even dinner was mainstream, we had beef steak. I half-thought that were were just going to be eating leaves and berries or tree bark or whatever.
The roughest part was the sleeping. Our tent area was uneven, and the sleeping back saw no point in hiding the rocks and plant stubs underneath. They just poked right through. Sleeping was literally a pain. Plus the weather up there made it all the more impossible. The wind was howling fierce, that from inside the tent, it sounded like a storm was going on outside. I was worried we were going to get blown off the face of the mountain.
But I enjoyed every minute of it. It was different.
The whole essence of 'roughing it' is supposed to be anything you do during your normal, almost boring life, except you take it into a jungle, a mountain, a warzone, or a desert, anywhere, where there aren't toilets or a McDonald's or movie theaters or the Internet. It's where you go to sleep where there's space to tuck your tent or sleeping bag into, where you take a dump anywhere there are waist-high shrubs or thick enough tree trunks you can hide behind. (I kept that last part to a minimum, however, by drinking enough Loperamide to not make me go potty for 10 years.) Yes, it sounds disgusting, but the caveman inherent in all of us finds this both exciting and necessary.