I really like hiking. Even though I don’t do it as often as I would like to I really enjoy it when I go. I’ve done several tough one-day hikes but never more than that. But when I heard about the 3-day mountain climb to Mt Rinjani on Lombok in Indonesia I immediately felt tempted. The pictures looked beautiful and like something from my imagination. So I booked my 3-day hike and to be honest I didn’t think more about it before I was leaving Ubud to go to Lombok.
When I arrived in the very simple city of Sembulang it hit me that this might not ‘just’ be a 3-day hike. But I was up for the challenge – and I’m actually really glad I didn’t know what to expect, because I’m not sure I would’ve gone through with it then.
I could use page up and page down describing the feeling, the moods, the struggles etc. throughtout the whole climb. But I wont. What I will do is to tell you about all the great things and about the not-so great things that turned out great anyway.
Making it to the top of the campsite
The first day is tough because you basically hike and climb up for the whole day. But at the same time the nature around you changes all the time and same with the clouds on the mountain, so you got some amazing views when you look up!But be careful with looking up to much because especially the last part of the climb is difficult – uphill and sand and veeery easy to stumble and fall on. That being said it is all worth it when you get to the camp site which is in the middle of the clouds. It is truly amazing!
The surprise of actually making it to the top of Mt Rinjani
I see myself as a person with a pretty strong willpower – if I want something I’m gonna get it or do it or whatever. But I did doubt myself on making it to the top. I started climbing at 3 in the morning, and the whole trip up what dark, exhausting and sweaty. Especially the last 40 minutes killed me. You climb in big, lose rocks and it is an udnerstatement to say that it was exhausting – it was completely draining and debilitating! When I sit here writing this I cannot believe that I actually made it. But I did – and just in time for the sunrise. The feeling of standing at the top was beyond words. I do not have anything to compare it to that would reach to size it.
The starts and the ends
.. of the days. And by that I am simply talking about the amazing night sky filled with the clearest shining stars, the deep colours of the sunrise and the shadows on the mountainsides at sunset.
When everything went wrong
My guide got sick, so I did the last part of the Mt Rinjani hike alone, which went great. But the porter got really sick and couldn’t walk, which is more of a problem since he carries the food, tent etc. So instead of going to the 2nd crater opposite of Mt Rinjani my guide told me that we had to stay at the camping site one more night, but that he could take me to some hot springs and mineral lakes in the valley which we’d have had to cross to get to the other camping site. That sounded perfect for me, and off we went. On the way down to the valley you climb through the clouds – literally – and halfway down we stopped because of a loud, alarming sound. It sounded as if we were in the middle of the biggest thunder I’ve ever heard. And the deep, rolling sounds kept coming. After a minute or two (though it felt like more) we kept walking on. That was only until the next hill with a clear view. There we saw the darkest cloud, I’ve ever seen. It was a cloud of ash and the air smelled like gas – the small volcano at the big mineral lake had erupted. It was terrifying and mesmerizing at the same time. The guide told me that it would be a good idea to hurry back, since the ashes and gas could spread in the valley if the wind turned, so back up we went and on the way annoucing all the down-going hikers, guides and porters about what we’d seen, heard and smelled. Even though I never saw the hot springs, the experience was amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime thing I’ll never, ever forget!
In the end I must say something very corny and clichée – it changed me. Not in a permanent way, but after living 6 weeks in another country, meeting a lot of wonderful people and thinking about a lot of new things, it helped me get my head around things.
“In the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” ~ Jack Kerouac