Quite different from what I expected, the descent was a lot harder than the ascent. It was probably a combination of a lot of factors, but the most prominent of which was exhaustion. There wasn’t any real rest from the night before, and before we knew it, we were on packing our bags for the trip back.
Before Batulao, I can say I’ve never really experienced what it’s like to be in a situation where “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”. Well then, the cliche basically describes what I experienced during the final 2 kilometers of the return trek. My mind was as sharp and focused as the day before when we were still approaching Batulao, but my legs seemingly were already made of lead. Lara, Ehmer, Raymond and Krissy must have noticed that in our group, I badly lagged behind when we finally reached the foot of the mountain. I simply could not will my legs to go faster.
The day after, it was interesting to observe that my legs did not hurt, but instead, it was my shoulders that did. The part of my shoulders where the straps of the backpack dug into hurt like hell and I had to apply Salon-Pas on them to kill the pain.
There are two things worth mentioning regarding the trip, and they are both about some articles of clothing that I had the good fortune to possess and use during the climb.
First, my Nike ACG shoes. I’ve purchased the pair early last year for no other reason than the fact that it was on sale and it looked like it would go well with informal wear. ACG apparently means “All Conditions Gear” and the pair served me well in getting a firm foothold in the slippery and muddy terrain. I owe it to these shoes (and years of squat-ups that gave me strong thighs) that I never once fell during the climb. I did come close to losing my balance a few times, but good thing the traction of the shoes helped me fix my footing.
Second, my Maui heavy-duty rain jacket. This is an old jacket I’ve purchased before the new millenium, and which I’ve always regarded as a mistake. It is oversized, too bulky and too thick. It wasn’t designed for the tropical climate because it always caused me to produce an undue amount of sweat whenever I use it. During the Batulao trip, however, it kept my backpack dry, thanks to its tough outer layer that was virtually waterproof. In fact, I left this jacket outside the whole evening while the storm was raging outside. The morning after, I saw it on the ground muddied and drenched, but when I inspected the inner cotton lining, it was DRY. Amazing isn’t it?
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Anyway, I guess I’d like to thank the AWWC mountaineers for letting me tag along for this climb. I’m not too keen on joining a major climb soon, but if there are “minor” climbs (possibly a return to Batulao in better weather conditions) I’ll gladly sign up again.