Exploring the Beauty of Lake Holon/Mt. Parker

By Sarah Aterrado - April 04, 2015

What have I gotten myself into?

I have asked myself that question a thousand times during our hike to Mt. Parker. And even before we started hiking, the road to the jump off point was already unforgiving. More than an hour of dusty habal-habal ride was just enough for my nostrils to gather up dusts and turn it into the biggest snot I ever had my entire life. Gross, I know. Haha.

I may have climbed several mountains before, even with higher elevation than this. But six years of mountaineering hiatus just felt like I am a newbie once again. The only difference is, I still know the essentials of mountain climbing which I still applied during the hike. 

Trudging up an easy trail was already a lot of work for me. There are times when I was on the verge of quitting especially when the sun was trying to fry me and my back was about to raise the white flag. But there's no way to quit when you've already covered at least half of the entire hike.

Since we couldn't keep up with our company's pace, Jan and I decided to just enjoy the trail instead. After all, we can't get lost in it as there's only one trail up. We started hiking at our own pace and did several rests in between. Yes, technically, it was only the two of us hiking, constantly checking up on each other, looking for that tiny bird species that can surprisingly make a sound as loud as the ambulance sirens and admiring the unusual flora while others were already way ahead of us.
Mt. Parker
Our first climb together!

Judging from our physical condition (even if I had some stairs training for a week), the supposed-to-be easy ascent was apparently difficult as my knees were screaming murder and I was catching my breath almost the entire trek. And I dreamed of conquering Mt. Pulag's Akiki route a.k.a killer trail? Dream on Sarah, dream on. Anyway, after hours and hours of knee-killing breath-catching arduous hike, the view of our destination, Lake Holon, was set before our very eyes. It was surreal.
Lake Holon
Beyond beautiful.
at Lake Holon
Hello! From 5,000 ft above sea level. :)
From that point, the descent going to the lake shore is about thirty minutes. Going down was not that easy too as some slopes are slippery while big roots crisscrossed the trail. My toes started to hurt this time. But why stop now?

Reaching the lake just wiped away all the exhaustion and pain. I was in total awe. Clean. Serene. Beyond beautiful. A rewarding sight indeed.
Lake Holon
We immediately pitched our tents and spent a cold night there. The next morning, I was the first one to wake up hoping to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. But I guess, the sun was too shy to show up for I was cursing it for casting its harsh rays on me during the hike. A few hours later I basked under the gentle sun as cold winds caressed my skin. I sat on the rock by the lake that looks so divine and let my mind drift away. Reflecting. Still in awe of such wonder. This is indeed a perfect reminder of God's awesomeness. But more than this picturesque view, it was really the challenging trek and the journey, not only with Jan but with Bretch and his good and friendly mountaineer friends that really made the entire trip memorable.
Preparing for breakfast.
with Jan and Bretch
Jan fishing
Jan and Bretch enjoying the fish spa
There are actually a lot of things to do at Lake Holon, aside from enjoying the view, fishing, and treating yourself with a free fish spa. Our friends went kayaking while others went swimming. We haven't done everything we wanted to do there though as Jan and I decided not to stay for another night because we also planned to go to Seven Falls in Lake Sebu (which will be on my next blog post if laziness wouldn't kick in). 

By 3pm, we went down the mountain path. We braved the creepy rain forest where trees shielded the sunlight making the path darker than it should be. I even set a password for both of us, just in case something unnatural happens since it's just the two of us who went down the trail. Yes, call me a paranoid, but basing from my past mountaineering experiences, I do believe in the supernatural.
While trekking, heavy rain poured down soaking us from head to foot. I have already warned Jan about this. During my previous climbs, we have this thing we called the first-timer's curse. Rain will always drip from the sky whenever we hike with a first timer. And I guess this is just another case of a perfect coincidence. Well, it turned out the rain was actually a blessing. Yes, it was a much needed way to cool down our bodies that have been steaming off heat as we ran down the mountain trying to catch up with time before darkness looms in. Surprisingly, we made it back to the jump off point earlier than expected and our clothes were almost dry.

We made it back in one piece. And I couldn't be more proud of Jan for this is his first climb ever. ;)
This entire trekking experience allowed us to be one with nature, admire God's amazing wonder, meet new people, gain more friends, and best of all, we were able to roll a sweet and adventurous escape into one. If I will be asked to go back to Lake Holon again, I wouldn't take No for an answer.

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