A number of people have asked me as to what is the most beautiful mountain I have climbed so far and I usually find it difficult to give a paramount answer. Each mountain is distinct and it prides it's own terrain, trails, flora, fauna, weather and its commanding views. It would be challenging to just come up with one because I love every experience I had on the top. I could come up with a short list but I could not limit it to one. Among those would be my ascent to Mt. Kanlaon 4 years ago.
|OUR ADRENALINE RUSH... TOPLOAD|
|Group Pic At Guintubdan Before the Climb|
|At Boslogan Falls|
|At Pagatpat Junction|
|Summit of Mt. Kanlaon with Ivy|
As we moved away from Pagatpat Junction, we felt the temperature dropped and when we exited the area, we saw the fog enveloped the place and listened to the howling of the winds. Since we were nearing the saddle camp area, we hurried and thought of pitching the tents immediately as it might rain anytime. When we arrived in the campsite area, it suddenly became silent and when we turned our backs, our jaws dropped. The fog cleared and what we saw was the enchanting beauty of Margaha Valley and the stunning view of the summit. The view lasted only for 10 minutes and the fog enveloped again. We were happy that Mt. Kanlaon gave us a warm welcome and we were looking forward to summit it the following day.
|Crater of Mt. Kanlaon|
Second day of the climb was unexpected. The original itinerary was entering Kanlaon via Guintubdan trail and exiting it through Wasay Trail. We were supposed to wake up at 4 AM the following day for summit assault but it was delayed to 5 AM then later to 6 AM because it was still raining and had no clearing. 6 AM came and the weather was getting worse that a summit assault would be impossible. We were all summoned to a meeting by our team lead, Sir Daile. We agreed that instead of exiting through Wasay trail, we would stay for another night on the saddle camp and hope for a clearing on the third day. Whether it would turn out favorable or not, we would need to go home the following day and exit on Guintubdan trail. It is a good thing that we still have sufficient supplies to help us last while we take on our chances.
|The famous Margaha Valley|
Having decided to stay on the saddle camp area, we killed time by a simple routine - sleeping, exchanging conversations, tent hopping and eating. Since the rained poured heavily on that day, i felt like I was on waterbed. The water was passing through below tents but the good thing is that we have several layers of plastic inside our tent so it didn't sipped in that would make us wet. We can feel the coldness of the water though. All of us also said our individual prayers hoping that God would grant us our innermost desire that time of having a perfect weather to do the summit assault. It was already night time and it was still raining. We were loosing hope but Richard said that everyone just needs to have faith. We had more than enough sleep the whole day that we find ourselves waking up almost every hour on the second night. Everyone was too cold to go out and we were hoping that the morning would come so we can all descend and go home. It was almost 4 AM when someone went out of the tent to respond to the call of nature. When Richard went back to the campsite area, he woke us all up and said to prepare as we are all heading to the summit. We hurriedly went out of our tents and we saw the stars in the sky and the summit from a distant. We knew that Kanlaon was inviting us to the summit assault already. We were more than ready.
|Human Spelling ... O L A Y|
We started walking up at around 430 AM and we felt how cold the weather was. Aside from our jackets, bonnet and gloves, our eagerness and excitement kept us warm. The trail to the summit was rocky because this was already nearing the crater of an active volcano. After almost 45 minute walk, we were on the summit and we waited for the sunrise. Upon reaching the summit, we were humbled how we were presented with this opportunity. After spending some time with myself and nature, I rejoined the group to explore the area. I could not believe it for myself but yes, I was at the edge of the crater of Mt. Kanlaon. The view of the Margaha Valley from the top was more beautiful than it was on the saddle camp. We learned that the valley was used to be the old crater and how it is beautifully connected to the new one where we were standing then. Being the highest mountain in the Visayas region, Kanlaon offered magnificient views of the neighboring islands. We spent more almost two hours on the top but we lost track of time while we there as we were all awed by its alluring beauty. Everyone agreed that this was one on the top list of the beautiful mountains that we had been to.
|Slopes of Mt. Kanlaon|
Time to descend but we were still on high because of the picturesque views we had. It was too beautiful that I was able to capture hundreds of shots from my camera. We were also too high that when we started to descend, the only time we rested was at Boslogan Falls which was more than 2 hours away from the summit and almost 45 minutes away from the exit point. Kanlaon fueled us with a renewed energy and spirit.
I never thought that there is a treasure hidden in my hometown in Negros. I would have never come face to face with it if I was never fascinated with mountaineering. As what Paulo Coelho said on his book the Alchemist, “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure." I am so passionate about outdoors and mountains and as a reward , I had a superb experience in Mt. Kanlaon.
|Standing: Mikoy, Me, Cris, Richard, Ivy, Anton and Daile. Kneeling: Drew|