“If I can do something different and extra ordinary for myself, I would be very happy”- Joy V, the author.
The author, with her new found outdoor buddies and friends, doing the “jump for nature”
I was never a real outdoor person until now. Having been confined to the comforts of an immensely busy and competitive city life, I’ve never went beyond reading stories of people who trekked their whole life. Yes, I have bouts of convulsive reunions with nature, but none actually required me to trek and climb like what I’m going to do in this “Lake Trek”. No one told me however, that it will be “A Lake Trek to Remember”.
Is this fun? It was a long tortuous trail for newbie like me..
My friend’s invitation to this trek is all but unnerving. I have read and saw the pictures of his wanton explorations and (mis) adventures and although I find it exciting and thrilling in some sense, I’m totally appalled by the risks he’s taking. So even if I dreamed someday, I can go to these places he went to and experience the excitement of an outdoor life, actually putting them into action is not in my fondest aspirations. Not with my present state.
I am in no shape to climb, my schedule is full to the minute and I have no idea what climbing preparation is all about. Yet, I feel some sort of an inner drive to go and plunge myself into the abyss of trekking adventure, something I’ve never done in my life but hoped to, that in the right time, I can possibly achieve.
So when we toyed about the idea (of me trekking) in cyberspace, I was halfheartedly joking in disdain. While I certainly liked the idea, I fear I may be cajoled into this risky adventure and get the kaboom of my life! You know- the risks, my health and everything else that is un-fun. But I also fear I may lose this opportunity to prove something for myself.
The pesky outdoor innuendos of my friend, Bone Doc irked me to excitement.I never thought such climb invitation would actually lead me to walking the hills of Tboli South Cotabato and on my way to Lake Holon, the cleanest of Philippine’s repertoire of lakes. Imagine being in the comfort of my cool room in Manila and then suddenly transport yourself off to the hills of Mt. Parker. Something in between tells you that the only certainty I had was, I’m not certain if what I’m doing is right!
the fairies of Lake Holon…
I am in utter disbelief when I found myself panting and perspiring heavily on our way to the Lake. This climb was supposed to be a fun climb according to our hosts, but being a newbie climber, fun was something you won’t find in our tired limbs. But walking under the canopy of forest trees, listening to bird calls, watching landscapes just elevated my excitement into some sort of an analgesia. It is an awesome experience! I keep cursing my friend for bringing me here, but at the same time, I was so thankful I joined this trekking adventure!
Tree planting before the trek…
The constant 45 degree uphill push into the open trail and under the forests made my heart beat faster and my breathing even harder. I’m having my adrenaline rush to its highest meter. At time the trail is filled with rocks that rolled under my shoes, tripping me off my balance and made me hold harder to my trekking pole. At times it was so steep downhill and the path is so slippery I have to hold on to the “gentleman-ish” Bone Doc for assistance. At times the uphill is steep I had to stop several times to catch my breath and take in some extra cool air. It’s good the weather wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, giving us cool breeze while covering our skin from direct sunlight. Iit is during this time that I realized fitness preparation for climbs is a must, not an option. For me to enjoy the sceneries and nature on the way, I have to be less panting and gasping for air.
One of the better rest “stations’ along the path. Me and Ma’m Psyche
According to our hosts and buddies, this trail is essentially easy- a “walk in the park”. For veteran climbers, yes it was. But to newbies like me, whose fitness is even more questionable than my intentions, this is no easy trek. I only found out later that the description is incorrect. This was actually a walk in a “forest reservation and provincial park” not the Luneta type of parks!
Lake beauty and a karate fairy in harmony.
Not until we got to the Lake that I realized that, the preparation, the stress, the fear and the dream- it’s all worth it. And even more!Lake Holon is astounding and is idyllic as any other beautiful lake in the country. The crystal clear lagoon is flushed against a backdrop of lush forest hill surrounding it, forming the crater of the once volcanic Mt. Parker. And the campsite is similar to the front sit of an opera house- you can see a 360 view of the beauty of the Lake and its background!
This was a dream coming true for me, and every second I have to savor it. I still stare in disbelief- of the lake, the people I’m with, and the place I am right now. It was a picturesque dream! And I’m living it!
I watched the group pitch tent and prepare food, getting my hands into something I knew and asking questions about the basics of camping out in this lovely place. I find it interesting that climbing gears has been this sophisticated and that camping out can turn into spree of food indulgence despite the distance and isolation it beams. We had adobong kangkong and sinigang for dinner! And were eating under the clear moonlight sitting on rocks! Is this really this good?
Okay na ba? Get the lake huh!
After we ate, the boys had a little chat and kidding around. I explored more of the place since the moon gave us more light than we wished for. My camera went busy. They told me stories of this place. I told them some of my outdoor fears too. This was the first time Im out in the woods and into the lake. And this is just amazing.
When the lights went off, I thought I couldn’t sleep. But the cool breeze outside our tent is seeping under my skin I felt it was cozy enough to sleep. So I doze off.
When we woke up, sunlight was already all over the place, the cool morning breeze still there and the lake in astute beauty as before. Some of the guys were cooking, the others paddling a boat towards the other side of the lake to fetch drinking water. Others simply wander around the lake. I wanted to sleep some more and lazily dream about this place. But I am in this place now. I have to enjoy it.
I went out and frolic with the others near the lake side. After we had a bountiful breakfast, we took a dip into the lake. The guys went boating spree obviously enjoying their time out in the lake. They paddled pushed and swim like they were kids of nobody. They just frolicked oblivious to their stature and shape.
The TAMAC staff doing their traditional jump for nature. Fun is their motto.
After that we packed our things and then took some more pictures of us and the place. I had to document I’ve been here. And this will obviously not my last here. Now I’m beginning to think of coming back. Then we had the traditional TAMAC “jump for nature”. Its amazing how this guys take so much fun on what they do. To think, they’re guys of no ordinary lives. So I joined them and…whoa!
We started trekking back after our prayers. My heart went heavy knowing I’d be leaving this place now, and thinking with my busy life in Manila when will I ever go back here again? Not even me knew. But I made a resolve that Id go back, no matter how long. And that I will be going outdoors more often. My friend Bone Doc is now even cajoling me again to join our batch climb to Mt. Apo this December. I can only sigh in disbelief. Here we go again!
I’m glad there were people like my friend who spent time just so new climbers like us will experience and enjoy God’s loving gift of nature. This people were total strangers to me, yet somehow, I felt lucky I made my first precious moments of nature with them. They helped me realize doing something I want and extra ordinary for myself. And they are just as happy as this one soul had formed an attachment to nature and life.
The Lake Holon Trekkers on their final picture before leaving ” A lake to remember”
I hope I’d be back here soon ( or in any other outdoor adventure). For as long a s I am fit and crawling, being one with nature is something to look forward to..