Here are a few mistakes (and lessons!) from my first hike:
- I didn’t research about the mountain prior to the hike
Having already seen tons of Facebook friends post photos of their hiking experiences, I was convinced that it would be quite easy. Add to that, I was going to join seasoned hikers — what could go wrong, I told myself.
Quite a few, apparently.
Mount Pico De Loro, the highest point in Cavite, is one of the most popular destinations for mountaineers in the country as it boasts of an iconic rock peak with 360* scenic views of lush greenery and even the South China Sea.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see any of those views because it was rainy. While I found the zero visibility calming, I had zero preparation for the rain – no hiking jacket, and not enough extra shirts.
Had I done some research through Google, I would have been able to find out details of the trail (how long the trek is, what to expect), prepared properly for the weather conditions in the area, and overall had a better first time.
Disconnecting to the world and getting closer to nature should start ironically with a little online research — Google even for just 5 minutes!
- I wore the wrong shoes
The trail going up to the mountain wasn’t difficult to climb. But lack of preparation makes it twice as hard.
While hiking shoes I’ve been told are the best footwear for this kind of activity, sneakers and rubber shoes work just fine, as well. My mistake was that I wore rubber shoes that was half gum sole – mix that with the muddy terrain from the rain, you get a tougher time going up, and an even tougher experience going down. I was practically slipping all over place, constantly hanging on to every branch I could.
Heading out into the trail with the wrong shoes is a recipe for disaster – expect blisters, uncomfortable feet, and worse, injuries. Light, easy hikes like Mount Pico De Loro deserve running sneakers, trail shoes, or basic hiking shoes.
Remember, there are shoes for every occasion – even for hiking.
- I didn’t have the essentials
Every trek requires a pack with the necessary provisions for the trip – water or refreshments, trail food, first aid supplies, and extra clothes. While my first forray into hiking was only a day trek, I was still ill-prepared and missed out on bringing a couple of items.
It is recommended to buy water or refreshments prior to going to the trail, as most of the drinks are a little pricier at the start of the trail. Trail food, on the other hand, should be light-weight, calorie-dense and easy to eat – I unfortunately brought chocolate bars that have already completely melted during the earlier parts of the trek.
Extra clothes couldn’t be stressed enough – especially post-climb, you’ll want to feel refreshed and clean in fresh clothes.
Safe to say, these essentials are essential to an altogether pleasant experience.
- I ran up the trail at a certain point
Traversing trails usually take hours to do, which is why it is best to hike at your own pace, paying close attention to your body and surroundings. After a surge of energy and excitement, I had this sudden desire to run up the trail, and within 3 minutes, I stopped and ran out breath.
Experienced hikers usually take on the challenge of reaching the trail in record time, but for beginners like me, it is recommended to move at a comfortable pace.
- I didn’t sleep long enough the night before
As with any heavy physical activity, rest is a crucial and important preparation for hiking. Unfortunately, I may have been too excited and was only able to sleep a few hours. Two hours into it, I felt a certain dizziness and had to stop a couple of times to catch my breath and inject my body with sugars to keep me going.
You can imagine me crash after the hike, and on the drive back to Manila.
While my first hike wasn’t anything close to ideal, reaching the peak made the entire journey worth it. I’ll be on third hike soon!