A Mountain Sunrise Hike a Day Keeps the Doctor Away (Week 6)

That’s how the saying goes, right? It’s certainly true for me and luckily none of my photoshoot antics at various summits have backfired. Friday evening, my friend and I planned to go hiking the next day in Rodriguez, Rizal, the province to the east of Metro Manila. We figured that if we could make it to the mountains, we’d be able to find a local guide. That was the tricky part: getting to the mountains. We foolishly placed our bets on booking a Grab car at 2:00 AM to drive us to a random mountain, while in the back of our minds’ probably recognizing that it would not work. Well, as expected the Grab car plan A fell through and plan B was not fleshed out enough for us to feel comfortable. We decided to hold off until Sunday, plan a real travel itinerary, and contact a local guide beforehand. Day 2 was much more successful, and we invited another friend too.

When we’d hiked Mount Batur in Bali, the path was defined and easy, yet some travel blogs still made it seem like it was the most challenging hike of the century with sharp rocks and slippery surfaces. So, when I read Mount Binacayan was also that, I took it with a grain of salt. Having now completed the hike, I can say that it was not very difficult for me but wow I should have taken the blogs more seriously because this mountain actually had very sharp rocks and slippery surfaces. The mountain is much shorter, but the path requires using hands and feet, hoisting yourself up some pretty tall rocks, and crawling down others. I felt very much like the monkeys in Bali.

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with the sunrise/sunset. Before I could drive, I would run for miles around the city trying to find the best view of the sunset. When I got a car, the sunrise was suddenly much more accessible, and I would often drive to the beach to bask in the golden hours of the morning. But starting junior year, academics and a part-time job soon kept me indoors under fluorescent glow as the sky underwent its daily transformation outside. At William & Mary, this trend has continued. And when I do get to glimpse the changing colors there are trees blocking the horizon.

My sunrise hikes this summer have been a refreshing return to something I had lost. Racing up the mountain to reach the summit on time feels just like sprinting across town in search of a new view of a familiar sky or speeding down backroads to see the sun spill out over the ocean. I think when we transition from high school to college we leave a lot of ourselves behind. Some things are best left in the past, but others we should fight to reclaim. I’m thankful to have reclaimed my hobby of skygazing. Is there anything you would like to reclaim?

Until next time.