Edmund Hillary, the most famous of mountaineers, with the most essential piece of perspective about climbing mountains: “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”
The hike up to Mt. Batulao last Saturday with my best friend JC won’t go down in any history book except mine as any feat worth mentioning, but obviously, that’s not important. I grew up spending most of my time playing video games and practicing guitar, and I had a debilitating fear of heights that I had long ago just accepted as fact. Now, at almost 30, I told myself: there’s way too much to see to simply let that be. So I picked a nice beginner hike from a website, and booked a trip.
The sun was unforgiving on the ascent and at the peak, as was the rain on the way down. There were moments when I felt as if everybody around me was relaxed and having fun (or just too proud to show otherwise) while I was mustering all the will I could to take the next step without being overly concerned about falling to my death.
But throughout that time, there was a lot of laughter, and a heartwarming sense of shared tribulation among us beginners in the group, including an eight-year-old boy with his dad and teenage brother: we were all in this together. Piece of cake.
After a few hours, we made it down, even after the rain turned parts of the lower trail into a small rushing river. I’d been separated from the head of the group because we tried to wait out the rain, so I hurried to catch up. To my surprise, I was the first back at the van.
And the second person to arrive? The eight-year-old, aglow with pride that he had, for the first time in his life, beaten his older brother to the finish line.