Letter to a young mountaineer XV: Tell them of the mountains


TELL THEM of the mountains that changed your life;

Tell them of the rivers that crossed your heart;

Tell them of how, as you walked the forested paths, you found peace in times of loneliness; strength in times of doubt, joy in times of sorrow.

And how, camped under the canopy of stars, you shared the night with kindred spirits.

Share with them your stories of adventure; the highs and the lows. Tell them of the first peak that conquered your pride, and the last peak that captivated your mind.

Tell them of the summits that you never reached, the pain of turning back, the wisdom at the end of your return. Tell them of the moments when you longed for the warmth of home, swept by waves upon waves of longing.

Tell them of the summit you kept coming back to; the mountains that have watched you grow. Name for them the ancient trees that like grandmothers you have dutifully embraced; the beautiful trails that like old friends never let you down.

Show them the vivid pictures in your mind: the graceful deer; the glorious dawn, the unexpected rainbow. Describe the experiences that no camera could capture:  from the knife-edged ridge you had to traverse to the raging stream you had to cross. Leave not unmentioned the simple joys of crystal clear waters, fragrant fresh air, and beautiful blue skies.

Sing to them of the unsung heroes you met along the way: The people who, despite having so little, gave you so much; the families who in the tiniest of hamlets opened their doors for you. The guides who showed the way to the mountains, and showed you their way of life. The rangers who protect the forests that in turn protect us – despite receiving so little protection themselves.

And of course, tell them of your companions, the people who have shared your passions. Confide to them your friendship with the girl who climbs mountains; the old man who imparted to you unforgettable and wise words.

Finally, In all your stories, never forget the people who supported you in every step; the people who believed in the value of your journey.


TAKE THEM to the mountains.

Introduce them to the rivers and the forests, the moss and the stars.

Make them feel the cold and the heat, the wind and the rain.

Open their eyes to what lies above the clouds.

Enchant their ears with the rustling of leaves, the rumbling of the brooks, the melodies of birdsong.

Leave them breathless with the mesmerising peaks and endless trails, and give them memories that will last for a lifetime.

In our modern world there are many things that money can buy. But one of the best gifts you can give your loved ones is the gift of the outdoors.

Baguio City
January 2019

Personal essays by Gideon Lasco
I: A letter to a young mountaineer
II: Why do accidents happen?
III: Of doing and loving
IV: A difficult situation
V: Wise words from an old man
VI: The Philippines that I love
VII: The calling
VIII: The girl who climbs mountains
IX: A mountaineer’s legacy
X: What beginners can teach us
XI: The friends inside your backpack
XII: Unfollowing one’s self in social media
XIII: Never let go of the mountains of your life
XIV: Before you hike abroad
XV: Tell them of the mountains

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