So here’s me, heart set on Mt Rinjani (about a 3 day trip to the Summit) in Lombok which was closed from Jan-April, “settling” for Mt Batur, the ‘eaaaasy one’ they said, the ‘one hour’ hike they said. Bali Amazon Trekking must’ve thought underneath my non-hiking get-up and $5.00 Target essentials walking shoes (which I thought would be a great fit for everything I needed whilst travelling) was an avid and fit hiker…not so much.
When Widi, our Tour Guide first picked us up, he said “Yeah, most people take about an hour and a half, but you two, you very fit, just one hour I think!” Well, I love me a compliment at 2:00am regardless, so I was pretty chuffed with venturing up Mt Batur to meet and greet with what I can say was the BEST sunrise I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness. So we nap a little on the drive out there to save our energy, and arrive at about 3:30am at the bottom of Mt Batur, ready for our Volcano trek! It’s pitch black other then the headlights coming from…people’s heads. Like Rj’s fancy one here —>
We don’t waste anytime beginning our hike! Already I can feel the rocks rumbling underneath my Crummy McCrum Crum walking-only shoes and thinking, hmm, I’m sure these will last, it’s just a bit of volcano rubble! We pass farm areas growing spring onions, corn and I witnessed my very first cabbage patch! Not really being able to see more then the local guides shoes in front of you basically means, you see the pathway after you trip over it. But it seemed very jungley! It was a big path at first, but after passing the local houses that live there…yes….underneath the active volcano, it turns into a small path and very sandy and rocky. So after about half an hour on a mediate incline I’m thinking “yeaaaaah, I got this! It’s a breeze, just half an hour more to go, cause we are FIT!” Our local guide asks us at the first stopping point if we would like a break, no siree, we are serious! He suggests we have one because the next part is a little steeper. But I insist on trekking forward like I’m some sort of Hulk, cause hey, it’s just half an hour more, I can do this.
Steep was no joke. I could literally feel my buns burning, the gym step-master has nothing on this rock path! I can feel my jacket just dripping with sweat and as I take the gamble of looking upwards instead of where my next step is going, I notice a trail of lights, some distance ahead of us underneath the stars. “What’s that?” I ask the guides. “Other hikers” he replies. As in, way more then half an hour away, steep steep steep volcanic hill walking, other hikers? Yep. We get to the next resting area and I try to ease my way into a collapse to not give too much away like I’m not as fit as they thought I was, not that my wheezing did much to hide that, but hey, first impressions! The guides pass us some OJ and I convince myself it’s giving me my second wind! Up we go, soldiering on!
We finally get to a large open area, people are sitting down, singing, relaxing, taking their seats, there’s a large Mt Batur sign of all the info and history and I’m thinking, yeah, that was about 1 hour, maybe just over, not bad Natalie you hiker you! Then, Widi our guide, says “So this is the first point you can see the sunrise, a lot of the older groups, or people who can’t keep going will sit here, but not us, we’re fit!” I give him a huge smile YES! Yes, we are, aren’t we. Super fit. Great. Good. We’re doing this. Natalie, don’t you dare ask “how much longer” I know you want to, but don’t you dare. Be cool man. “Yeah, woo! Let’s do this!” I say more to convince myself then in response to Widi, and up we go. He says probably just half an hour, but half an hour of basically vertical climbing.
I will admit this, because I think, now, after the fact, it’s pretty hilarious. The local guide after about 5 minutes of me stumbling around on my shoes, up virtually black sand at this point, holds my hand, and kind’ve just tugs me along behind him with RJ behind me ready to catch my tooshie if I start sliding a one-way ticket back down to the bottom, it was a little embarrassing, but I’m just really focusing on breathing and how much my darn arse hurts!
At last, we’re here! Yay, yay, yay, yayayayayayayyyyy!!! Made it! I am a proud woman, on top of a Volcano at 5:15am in the morning, feeling the hot sweat now chilling my body from the crisp wind, smiling, tired, hungry, proud, excited for this sunrise, AND, to watch them cook eggs on this volcano like they’ve been raving about!
We first get given a nice cuppa Joe to warm ourselves up and take our seats, still in the dark, and just sit down for a minute. But, even a minute is too long, we’re on a volcano! In Bali! Seeya later buttox, I know you’ll hate me, but I just really want to explore!
RJ n I go down to the “cooking” area where they are boiling the eggs for brekkie. It’s so steamy you lose where your sweat ends and the steam starts, and it’s hot! You can put your hand towards the steam and you’ll get half a metre close before having to whip it back from the burn from just the heat! Just the heat!!! It’s crazy cool. So they just put the eggs (and banana) into the little steam pockets and within 15minutes – voila! Like a Volcano Bed and Breakfast.
We go back up to our seats and chow down, getting ready for the sunrise. I over excitedly take a zillion photos of the same thing just waiting for it. It’s coming. Just a little further. I see the rays. Still the rays. I’ll have some more coffee. A little more rays. More people rocking up. Photos being taken. And then….
Oh and that mountain in the distance is Mt Agung, the other, and larger of the two, active volcanoes in Bali. That one is only four hours up and four hours down unlike “easy” Mt Batur’s two.
So. I brought a prop. I mean I had too. And actually, other travelers loved my little heart and I think it got passed around the whole summit so it was a total hit! But for reals, the real hit was that view. Wow. I was just grinning ear to ear. It was soooo beautiful. Growing up in the Gold Coast I have had my fair share of stunning beach sunrises. But a sunrise over a volcano, while you’re chilling on TOP of another volcano! It’s such a moment. I loved every minute of it. But, after about 1000 photos of every angle I could think of, we decided it was time to trek back down.
Now, fun fact: Bali Amazon Trekking is one of the few, and actually only companies on that day, that took us down a different way then we came up. We saw all the other groups walking back down the same way, skidding down the black sand and battling the vertical limit. But not us. We headed down through a jungle forest instead. VIP yo!
We got to see the Villages down below, the different plant life on the way down, stare in awe at the dried up lava we were walking on. It blew my mind that where I was standing was once spouted out from the Volcano, like, I’m ON lava, I’m touching lava right now. That’s crazy! We collected some cool volcanic rocks for memoirs, until finally were in the bottom of the forest and surrounded by Greens rather then ashy blacks, although the ground was still black sand. Super cool contrast!
We had our Bali Amazon driver waiting at the bottom for us all ready to go as we took our last views at the Magnificent Mt Batur Volcano we had just climbed. Not so easy. Not SO hard. Infact, it was juuuust right!
Go on a Volcano adventure here with www.baliamazontrekkingtours.com – you won’t regret it! I promise.
Things you should know: My $5.00 shoes made it…..my tooshie did not, after struggling to sit down for two days I went and got a massage and asked that my ‘problem area’ be my buns. True story.