I wasn’t always a fan of the outdoors. It was only a year ago when a friend invited me to join a minor climb that I realized how fun it was to go on a hike and just experience the beauty of nature and get away from urban life. I will be sharing my experience at Mt. Ulap in another post so in the meantime, I’m going to share some insights on my first ever hiking experience.
1. RUNNING HELPED ME.
I’ve been running for quite a while and I’ve been joining a few half marathons during the past few years and all I can say is that ‘Thank God I’ve had practice.” Climbing a mountain is no joke. Even if Mt. Ulap was for beginners, our tour organizer told us to at least be physically fit to do it. I’m not a skinny girl so having to carry my body and a backpack with me while fighting my way against gravity was quite a challenge even for someone like me who runs.
2. I WORE THE WRONG SHOES.
I never thought I would be doing it on a regular basis so on my first hike I decided to wear my old Nike Lunarlon running shoes. I did not want to risk getting my current running shoes dirty or torn and I was not planning on buying trekking shoes so I settled with my those. By the time we were descending on the rough mountain path, the soles of my shoes started to peel off! It was hilarious and pretty dangerous since my shoes lost their grip, I kept sliding and falling on my butt! I had to hold on to every tree branch and every rock just to keep me standing and I was extra careful the entire time. I then bought hiking shoes on my next hike.
3. I WAS WEARING SHORTS.
Yes, the runner in me chose to wear running shorts instead of tights and leggings like most of the girls in our group were wearing. I would not say it was a poor choice, considering that it was a minor climb. There were no shrubs nor tall itchy grass on the trail so I was fortunate not to get any rash on my legs. I had awkward tan lines on my thighs though at the end of the hike much like the end of every run. Since then I’ve worn shorts over thighs to protect my legs from plants and insects.
4. I ASKED AND I DID MY RESEARCH.
Doing something new for the first time is always exciting but also terrifying. Hiking is not just something you can do at the spur of the moment so like any other new ‘hobby’ it pays to do a little bit of research. Weeks before, I started searching on the Internet about the basics of hiking, what to bring, what to do and what not to do. I also researched on the mountain we were about to climb so at least I know the trail difficulty and what to expect during the hike. It also pays to ask the group organizer for advice since they’ve probably been up there for a couple of times. Getting in touch with group mates is also an effective way to gather information on what they will bring and wear to the hike.
5. IT WAS JUST THE BEGINNING.
My first hike was very rewarding in many ways. I’ve never thought how fun it was to be outside and enjoy the company of strangers who would soon be my regular hiking bodies. Hiking is all sorts of therapies rolled into one. It nourished my mind and body at the same time. The trail maybe difficult but the view of the mountains as we crossed every challenging terrain just made it easy for us to bear. The company of people, sharing laughs while sharing trail food was just therapeutic. And the view at the summit was the most rewarding thing of all. After my first hike, I did not want to stop there. I climbed my third mountain ever since and I’m looking forward to more outdoor experience.