Should human conquer the mountain or should they wish for the mountain to possess them? Sherpas went up and down ten times in some cases, without glory, without claim of ownership, and there were those said it was sacred and shouldn’t be sullied at all.―Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
We opted to linger on Baguio and experienced the Death Road ride, explored Mt. Timbak, visited the centuries-old mummies, so we could not possibly join the other group journeying the killer trail—Akiki, which necessitates longer time.
Those who opted to trail Ambangeg were often asked why they chose the relatively easy route. Perhaps we should ponder on the reason we climb, the reason we travel, the reason we walk.
Although we climb as a group, we have selfish, personal reasons for climbing. For others, perhaps it is more daring to experience the coniferous Akiki, to scale a challenging trail, to test one’s strength .
For others it is exhilarating to climb with a bigger number, to laugh and enjoy one another’s company. Yet there are times calling for silence. There are those who prefer silence to listen to nature’s true character, to journey not just with the body but with the mind, to entertain, accept, reject thoughts, to revel in the sheer pleasure of thinking, of walking.
I was selfish. Setting one’s pace is a choice, and Ambangeg is the apt trail to linger on, to look upward and see how the branches coil themselves into grotesque forms, which reminds one of the Crooked House in Poland—a random online read. It’s the trail design for serious talks with the guide, to know the place from the guide’s eye.
*** I wasn’t being unjust to myself. Ambangeg is Ambangeg, Akiki is Akiki. They are two unique identities. And I desire to experience both. Killer Akiki can’t be scaled without the existence of the laid-back Ambangeg. We need both to differentiate each other—that’s the reason of their being. 🙂
Although we journeyed different trails, we shared the same end: the peak. Isn’t it sweet?
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