Last year I developed a passion for the mountains, thanks to the openness of Japanese mountains to solo travelers. I was able to explore the ones surrounding Tokyo, and then I summitted Mt Fuji right on the last day of its climbing season. When I came back to the Philippines, I made sure to never lose that passion, and so I made serious workouts and climbed as often as I could, made plans during the weekdays, and set off to all sorts of physical activities on the weekends.
Unlike last year when all my hikes seemed random and unorganized, this year, I’m laying out specific goals both for hiking preparations and for the actual hikes. Making this could also help me stay motivated to be physically fit and to make sure I find time for myself and not just my work.
1. Hike Mt Pulag-Akiki – This is my January major hike. I’ve never climbed this mountain before, despite its growing fame even from among non-hikers. For added challenge, I decided to take the Akiki trail, dubbed as the “killer” trail because of its steepness. Update: Done this challenge last January 7-9
2. 5-mile maintenance runs – I run thrice a week, but either I don’t measure my runs or they’re too short. This year I need to make sure that I make at least 5 miles for every run on the weekdays. These will be my “maintenance runs” which I will switch with high intensity workouts during the weekends. More on this scheme in later posts.
3. Mt Daraitan river crossing hike – The last time I made a river crossing hike, my shoes and socks got all wet, and it felt really aweful. I’d like to try another river crossing hike to test if I’ve learned my lesson and be more prepared for the wet terrain.
4. Mt Kinabalu (Malaysia) – My February major hike at 4700 masl, which would be the highest mountain I’ve climbed yet. Lots of physical and financial preparations for this one.
5. Mt Fuji (again) – Locals at Yamanashi, Japan, have a saying that goes “Climb Mt Fuji once and you are brave; Climb Mt Fuji twice and you are a fool.” I guess I’ll be a fool this year.
6. Vinicunca, Peru – Dubbed as the “Rainbow Mountain” because of its strange colors, Vinicunca seems like a secret paradise for hikers. Not a lot of people know about its trail (probably because it is often overshadowed by the famous Macchu Picchu), but late last year I got some tips on how to get there. But, because of the cost of this trip, I might schedule this hike in the later parts of the year.
7. Trail running – When I was still starting out in the Japanese mountains, I always meet so many young Japanese trail runners who breeze past through me while I’m already suffering in the first two kilometers at a slow pace. Intimidating as they were, I find trail running a fascinating activity – it’s a combination of all-out physical stress and enjoyment of the rewards of nature. I thought that Japanese trails are a good start because they’re mostly well-established and efficient emergency measures are put up in case beginners get lost or hurt. So when I come back to Japan this year, I’ll be gearing my self up for this challenge.
8. Five of the Hyakumeizan – A Japanese traveler once listed down 100 mountains according to beauty and uniqueness. He called it Nihon Hyakumeizan (100 Famous Mountains of Japan), and the list has invited hikers from around the globe to summit each of the mountains as personal challenges. Last year, I was able to summit the highest (Mount Fuji) and the lowest mountain (Mount Tsukuba) in the list. This year, I’ll be adding more to my roster. Of course my work schedule wouldn’t allow me to complete all 100 mountains in one year, but I’ll be picking out five at least. Plus, since the mountains are scattered all over different prefectures in the country, taking this challenge would be an opportunity for me to visit prefectures I’ve never been to before.
Right now these are my 8 major challenges for 2017. I’ll probably be adding more to or slightly modifying some in the list as I go along (my schedule can be quite unpredictable). I’m sure to give updates on these challenges because of my added passion to my new hobby.
Wish me luck! 🙂