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mountain biking

Tree Planting at Montalban March 4, 2006 Saturday

Tree Planting at Montalban

At UP Mountaineers, we don't just climb mountains. We are pro-active in environmental initiatives or provide support to such causes. The tree planting project in Wawa, Montalban, organized by some civic orgs gave us a chance to do just that....on mountain bikes!

Getting to Wawa
The bike ride took us on an epic run from UP to Balara, passing through San Mateo as we weaved through traffic along the busy and very polluted road arteries until we reached Wawa, Montalban.

UP Mountaineers and Bernie

Getting to the Planting Site
Upon arriving, we came upon a fairly large group of people who were there to partake in the activity. We were all given our tree sampling and followed the marshals to the site. Getting to the planting area was a story unto itself that involved going through tunnels, crossing foot bridges, river crossing, single-track riding, bike portaging along the rocky stream and a short climb up the mountain slope in blazing tropical heat.

Tree Planting
We missed the UPM members who were supposed to join us that morning so we named our trees after them: Kram's tree is named Danny, Winston's is Robert, Syemp's is Coach Kiko, Daddy-O's is Gerry, and my tree is named Dennis (who showed up but decided to go home...he-he).

Mt. Maarat
I refused to bike back and be assaulted again by jeep exhaust. Hitching a ride was a healthier option than inhaling the black soot which at that point was causing coarseness on my throat. Daddy-O suggested the less polluted but formidable way back - across Mt. Maarat in San Mateo. There was initial silence. Mt. Maarat is a day's ride unto itself. Nobody said yes, but nobody said no was a go!

The most brutal part was that steep climb before Timberland. The heat was unrelenting and we were already exhausted from the ride to Montalban. Somehow, we managed without snapping a vein. We took our time recovering before heading back to UP where we rewarded our bikes with a P15 wash.

Lost Wallet
Upon arriving at UP, Kram realized he left his wallet either in Montalban or Mt. Maarat. He had to ride his bike and go back!!! I planned on catching some sleep to get recharged for the evening's GRIP acquaintance party but the sheer thought of Kram having to bike back after doing what was essentially a 2-day ride equivalent was too much to bear. I forfeited the sleep. We took my car and retraced our route in search for the wallet.

First stop was Aling Meding's store in Mt. Maarat - negative. Next stop was Aling Norma's store in Montalban - BINGO! Words are not enough to describe the look of relief on Kram's face. At that point, all the exhaustion vanished.

Ending Thoughts
Receiving is a lot of fun. However, gving back is equally as meaningful. I continue to be a beneficiary of the awesome magnificence of the mountains. A token tree sampling is my humble way of saying 'thanks'.

Sometimes, the most unexpected thing happens that leaves its mark long after the main event is already forgotten. I'd been bailed out of a shit-hole so many times by good Samaritan friends. I'm just glad I had a chance to return the kindness and keep the good karma going.

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Dennis Lopez
(16 Mar 2006) Hoy ah! I didn't go home! I was scheduled to go to work that day on OT duty and just decided to ride with you guys sana until it's time for me to go to the office. But it was late already so I changed my plan.
Anyway, if any consolation, my bailing out caused me to crash on a gutter near EDSA. After that I was wishing myself to be planting trees instead of decorating the sidewalk with my body.
Thanks for naming the tree after me. It shall grow strong and wise. hehehe

(17 Mar 2006) thanks ulit! gandang article na naman c",)

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