I was in college when I joined a mountaineering club. We planned a trip to hike a mountain that's said to be mysterious among locals in a neighboring province where my college was.
There were reports of strange lights at night near the peak and sort of partying noises, despite having no power up there. But I just ignored these reports as myths. There were only two hikers' trails that were really steep in most parts, it would really be a trouble hauling up a generator. There's also no road for vehicles.
Our mission was to scale the mountain within the day. We had no plan to camp overnight. We started the trek very early morning so that we could reach the summit before noon and be in the clear before sundown. We only had a quick lunch up the top and began descending as soon as we're done eating and getting a bit of rest.
It was fun, however. I was the only freshie and everyone were in their senior year in tertiary, about to graduate. My buddy was one of a trio of noisy besties, so she would walk with her friends instead of with me and ensuring I am still with the group. I did not complain. But, it stayed that way even during the descent.
I was very happy with the view, with all the scents, with the sense of being one with the wilderness. I was awed by everything, fascinated by the sounds and colors until I realized the sound of chitchat had grown fainter, farther.
And then I realized I was being left behind. I knew I kept up with the phase and I thought they were just close by because I made sure I could hear them no matter where my attention was. But it was not enough. By then, I was panic-stricken. Even if I quickened my phase, I could not find them anymore. I decided to run faster while descending that I stumbled, skidded, and tumbled down into a not too deep ravine, my face hitting an overgrown roots of trees below.
It did not hurt but it was quite a shock. I stood up and climbed back up to the trail. I ran again, this time trying to be more careful. I strained but I could not hear them at all. I was completely alone! The sky was beginning to appear orange-y. There were birds flying into the trees from somewhere. Bird calls grew louder and more diverse. The wind blew cooler air.
I felt a bit scared but I tried staying level-headed. I went through a rather wide gap between to high walls of red earth. It was long and winds somewhat. It was like a mini fjord without water. Like I a deep ramp that I can skate from one side down and up towards the other side. I was still amazed but being gnawed with worry. Mix feelings weren't helping, especially when the path ended in two forking paths going the opposite direction, although both sloping downwards.
I looked, not sure which to take. Panic hit me once more that I could not focus on the signs to check and track which path they took. I was in this kind of dilemma when at the end of one of the paths, a white dog appeared.
It did not show its whole body but it was looking at me. Then it left. I went after it. I walked on and there are more twists and turns. Everytime I hesitated, the dog appeared at the end of each trail, looking at me, as if urging me to follow it.
For some reason I kept running to where it disappeared. I kept trusting its sign. This went on until I could hear my fellow hikers again. They did not even know I was missing! I got mud all over and they just smiled at me and went on with their lives.
I could not find the dog again until we reached the foot of the mountain. I looked back, thanking the white dog in my mind, who guided me out of the woods.
After this experience, there were more instances when a dog would suddenly appear to guide me. But that's for another story. Thank you for reading.