Looks like I got a bit behind on my gapyear blog!
Good job I made lots of notes in my books. Sometimes it's hard to find decent Wi-Fi here. Anyway, I want to tell you all about my trek up Mount Rijani.
The trek is three days and two nights and has to be done with a guide. The guide supplies all the camping gear and food and brings along a porter to carry it. We spent the early part of the day organising a tour which was really easy because the guys from Chez had given us the phone number to the guide they used. The guide met us at the port in Lombok and drove us to a town at the base of the volcano, Senaru. We had lunch and then did a small walk through the jungle to some waterfalls. They were gorgeous and one of them had a swimming hole so we could swim right up to the fall.
The next morning our guide met us and six other trekkers at the homestay in Senaru and we headed out to trek up Mt. Rinjani. The first day we hiked up to the rim of the crater at the top of the volcano. We were accompanied by many packs of wild dogs that live on the mountain and seem to enjoy making the trek with the tourists. I think they particularly like the food scraps. They really didn’t pay much attention to us besides hiking alongside us, but they sure did fight among themselves a lot. They really tore each other up at times. The hike up was tough but we took a lot of breaks and had lunch and snacks along the way. The crater is 4x4km round and has a volcano peak in the middle of it. The crater sits at 2600 meters and the clouds sit below. We arrived to the crater around 4:30pm, so we had time to enjoy the scenery and then the sunset.
We camped on a small peak at the rim. It was absolutely majestic but very cold and extremely windy. The next morning we walked down the rim and swam in the crater lake. The water was cool and very refreshing after the long hot trek up to the rim the day before. After chilling off in the lake we walked to the hot springs. These were the most beautiful hot springs we have ever seen. There are many pools of turquoise colored springs along a hot river. There was a large group of locals camping along the springs. Anan, our guide, told us that when the locals are sick they climb up to the springs and camp here for a few days and bath in the water for its healing powers. The spring we stopped at for a dip had a waterfall and the spring was so deep you could jump off the rocks about 10 feet high into the water. We had lunch by the lake and then walked up to the rim again, but this time to the opposite side of the lake than the night before. We were greeted at our campsite by a large troop of monkeys waiting for us to prepare dinner and feed them our leftovers. We had an early night and woke up at 2am to start the very strenuous trek up to the top of the tallest peak of the mountain. This was definitely the most difficult hiking we have ever done. The trail up to the summit was very steep, but the most challenging part of it was finding a sturdy spot in the soft sand and small rocks to plant each step. With half of our steps our feet slid back down. When the sky started to change colors from black to blue and the horizon was lined with a pinkish orange I felt the energy of the day coming and hurried to the top with all my might.
We made it up about 15 minutes before the sun rose. We were high above the clouds and as the sun rose we could see many of the islands of Indonesia. It was absolutely breathtaking and very rewarding to be standing at 3726 meters at the summit of a volcano watching the sunrise after such a physical challenge. It was very windy and approximately 32 degrees Fahrenheit. We stayed at the summit for about 30-40 minutes and then descended and regrouped with our monkey friends for a breakfast of banana pancakes and toast. After a quick rest we continued the descent to the base of the mountain. Our guide, Anan, was a small and very strong Indonesian guy who had been running treks up Mt. Rinjani for 20 years. He was very sweet. We had three porters who didn’t speak any English but they cooked great food. During the trek they cooked us hearty soups, fried rice, and fried noodles; all with vegetables, egg, and chicken. It was a great experience!
Once we arrived to the base of the mountain we took transport to another town called Kuta on the south coast of Lombok. Our driver brought us to a homestay his friends owned. It was another $9 simple room with very friendly hosts. We got dinner at a nearby restaurant or a “warung” as they call it here and then went to bed. We were pretty tired.
And that's all for today folks! I'm try and upload the rest tomorrow. I'm tried typing all that out!