Saturday, May 6, 2017

Gunung Rinjani-Lombok Trip 2017 (Part 1)

Last eruption on Sept 2016 didn't deter our plan to go for a hike at Mount Rinjani just last week.

My last hike that lasted for a few days definitely happened in 2014. That's three years back, somewhere around this quarter of the year also if my memory didn't fail me.
Fitness level deteriorated over the years, I made an effort to do a few short hikes before this big one (for me)! Maybe my fitness level didn't decline, but their fitness level increased throughout the years. *cough*

A few familiar faces this round. It is quite a big group of us (12 people) and introverts like me, finds it tough to blend in every time. I'm glad I met kind souls in the group! No cocky ones (or they remained undetected. LOL). Just us being us.

Prior to departing

The whole group finally gathered for dinner when the sun ceased on 26th of April (Sunday) due to flight delays. The batch that reached in the noon traveled down south of Lombok to visit Kuta Beach and also their infamous SADE Sasak Village, one of the oldest village where the aborigins resided. Also, where the tale and term of 'kahwin lari in Lombok' became familiar to others. They kidnap the girl they want, and marry them soon after.

The first batch that arrived.

In short,
Lombok=Kahwin lari.

We too hung around the Batu Payung Beach while waiting for the sun to set.
Not too touristy. Still the same as the year before, they are developing the whole area. They have really nice blue-greenish beaches to chill at. Then again, the waves at those beaches are probably more suited for those who are looking into surfing!

At Batu Payung Beach.
Our guides are have decent photography skills. Plus point +++

Surfing with a beach body, NYUMS!

While waiting for sunset.

It took us about two hours after dinner to reach the northern part of Lombok where the base of Mount Rinjani is located at. Glitched on not having enough H20 for everyone to shower at the guesthouse after a sweaty day. Just made do with what we got and went to bed as we were going to hike on Monday itself.

There's two route to hike up Mount Rinjani too. Senaru/ Sembalun. You pick!
Just kidding! It's already pre-planned by your guides if you're attached to one.
I personally think our guides made an excellent route choice for us!

That is to start at Sembalun instead! about an hour of bumpy ride from the guesthouse to the base. I threw up twice on the way! No surprise to that, motion sickness reigned

All ready for the 3 days, 2 nights hike

We started hiking at about 9am. You're supposed to reach the Sembalun Pelawangan by 6pm. Probably could do it since one as slow as myself did! Group separation of ultra-hikers with mediocre ones like me who rests a lot occured along the way. Don't be discouraged if that happens! You'll meet and have a longer pit stop at POS 2 for lunch *grins*
After fueling your body, continue to POS 3 before reaching Sembalun rest area.
Probably could google the distance from one                                                                                           POS to another ;)

Horrible feelings surfaced when I was told I still need to climb for another TWO hours when we thought we were almost there! They actually told me another FOUR hours hike when I met them again T_T The blister was giving me signs. Guides were nowhere in sight cause they were left behind by us, enthusiastic ones,  to reach the rest area early. HAHAHA.

Another two hours and almost there. What a gap! Especially when you're gasping for air every 50 steps too soon! Made it anyhow! It's the goody good feelings you get from other hikers who you meet and greet with words of encouragement that kept you going just a little more. That little more matters because of this malay phrase, 'sedikit-sedikit, lama-lama jadi bukit'-that's how I shall earn my ring too! Ooopps.

You got the drift well. I've met a few Malaysians too. I like how united we can be without looking at the skin colour inside out. I love it when what matters, really is, humanity itself. I don't like how the media ruin that spirit for us. Ouh, off-topic.
You know you want that too anyway. Not just amongst countrymen, perhaps on the earth that we're living in. ^_^

Had my fair share of pain due to blister from friction between my ankle guard and low-cut shoes. I did wonder a lot of times, if I should just discard my ankle guard but past experiences told me to leave it on. It wasn't the best choice either! ;( The blister stings till today and bet it's gonna leave a scar! Urgh!)

I carried on by myself at my own pace with no pressure. "Small steps but don't stop!", Jason quoted. A quick rest after every 50 steps. I counted my steps! :D Did not meet my hiker-mates when I reached the supposed rest area. Still managed to reach before 6PM! One could do it with sheer determination, and that's what I had.

Our 3 men tent with 4 girls.
Me, Sophia, Kah Heng
I was taking a chill-pill, talking to one of the guides who could understand my bahasa. Too long to think I wasn't at the right spot, stood up and took the effort to walk on as there were other campsites further along, towards the peak as told.

Thank goodness I met our quiet guide halfway who told me to go back to where I was cause the others were too far ahead! TOO FAST if you don't get what I mean! hahahahaa The guide wasn't with them to put a palm sign up.

The peak in sight didn't look too far away nor too tough to conquer (AM SO WRONG ABOUT THAT). Tent was set up, the porters were dancing away in the kitchen making us dinner while we rest. TEMPE TEMPE TEMPE, so good!

PORTERS!!! A big shout out for them.

Some wear slippers, some went on barefoot!
A lot of credits for them for doing so much to accommodate us. They hiked up with their flimsy but powerful Japanese slippers with truckload of kitchen stuffs, tents and also some of our heavy bags. Rest a little along the way, and continue their journey cheerfully in a group throughout their journey. I admire that. The simplicity that keeps complexity away.

 After a long tiring day, they still have to prepare meals for us, spoilt brats! If we were to do the hard way, army style.. I think I'll just bid goodbye to my friends! XD

Witnessed a sky full of stars during the night. Reminds me of Lake Tekapo (New Zealand), but without whiskey to warm our bodies. Pick Yee got really nice shots of the blanket of stars! Too cold to stay outside of the tent too long :D

Had to force ourselves to get some rest cause the next hike starts at 2am to 'catch' the sunrise.
With minimal amount of sleep and heavy eye-bags, we went on with our journey wee hours in the morning after a light breakfast. Please, take heavier breakfast than bread just. You need fuel before this hike!

It started off pretty okay till the last bid of the hike before we reached the peak.
An eye-opening experience, it was! Tough. Very, Tough.
The path were filled with rocks, sand and pebbles! Your feet sink in with every heavy step you take.
Those who had it easy probably took light but quick steps to reduce resistance.
I wished I could do some kung fu moves where they slide through above water in a short period of time! Everytime I stopped and rest, my eyes closed wishing I could do so.

Wouldn't have made it if my quiet, knight in shining armour guide, Ing? didn't appear before me. (UPGRADED from quiet yo!)

I was actually surprised to see him cause how the heck they remember the faces of a group of 12 where everyone looks similar! All yellow :D
A little more, that's what he said. Had to hold onto him to go up. To be honest, he dragged me up. Fuh, so strong, so feisty. XD  I was just thinking about 'The Climb' by Miley Cyrus along the way.

Lean muscles all over perhaps? XD
Thank you is never enough.
That little more to reach the peak which could have taken maybe 15 mins dragged to 45 minutes long. Taking a quick rest after every 5 steps. So grateful to have such a patient guide to bear with the diva me.
I managed to catch a glimpse of the sunrise on my way up only. Nothing too spectacular, but hey that's the point of waking up and starting our journey early right! Didn't miss the sight of it, just maybe not from the perfect angle.

Sharon, me, Lee Lean, Way Kit
Reunited with a few mates (Sharon, Lee Lean, Way Kit, Kah Heng, Sophia, Pick Yee (the last 3 on their way down, ALREADY??) when I finally sat down and munch on some oreos. They never tasted better! Bahhhhhhh! You need to fuel up, I can't stress more!
The guide held on to Sharon's bag too, power of GoPro! The only means to capture some victorious moments.
Sharon and I. Sight from Sembalun Crater

Note: My Iphone did not work up there! The battery went flat even before I reached the peak. Apparently the cold weather and elevation played a role. Thus, bring better cameras/ phone buds!
Note: Wear a mask to cover your nose and mouth.. It helps to reduce the amount of cold air getting into your lungs. It helped in my hike for sure!

Stayed there for about 15 minutes to have a good view from the peak and we were on our way down again. I think the images on google are amazeballs. Maybe a bird's-eye view is picture perfect, not from my eye view.

Drone next round? I'm giving out ideas.

Persevere and you shall survive! Said the mountain monkey.
No, that's not Han Wei la!
Look at the stones!
Met Han Wei on our way down. Like the Last Man Standing in the group for sure! Pure determination to get to the peak, on his own. I would have given up long ago with sore ankles along. Major respect! That's why it doesn't matter whether you're fast of slow.. The destination and final goal is the same! The mind game is always, always stronger than physical strength.

and that's what I did! PERSEVERE! Look so photoshopped!
Note: Wear thick enough clothes too! Care for your hands and toes! GLOVES AND THICK SOCKS! The cool wind really took a toll on a few of us! Frost-bite like kinda toll. However, it was said that the wind was peculiarly stronger and colder than other times. We had it hard! It's good anyhoots!

Thank you CVien for your parka/down jacket! Kept me warm like you're giving me a hug! hahahahahaa

Had it slow on my way down too. The other three (S, LL, WK) were like gliders! I had moments where I zoned out to think I could slide/glide down as if I was skiing. Or the fact that I can do sand-boarding! YES, that's all in my imagination.
It did not happen that way.
Somehow the quiet knight appeared and managed to give a hand support to glide down faster.

Us with Ing
I was so thankful that I could give away 10000 hugs, but I'm just thankful in my mind like that :D

Strolling under the morning sun for a good few hours before dropping dead back at campsite. Just lie down and fell deep asleep until I heard Han Wei's voice who got back about noon.

We could be anyone we want to be. That day, I wanted to be beast in the jungle. I turned out to be a star! Lol. While taking short breaks on my way to the peak, people were asking if I could take a photograph with them. Diva moments yo! Panting much but obliged delightfully. Sometimes I'm hyper that way I guess. Eye bags game strong in most photos fo' sho' but who cares!

Oh, oh, oh!!

That wasn't the only hike for the 2nd day! We adjourned to the opposite side in the noon, inner base of Senaru Pelawangan. Not too long of a hike, and mostly just decending with a little ascend. 3-4 hours just?

Standing: Jason, Han wei, me, Way Kit, Mar Jie, Pick Yee, Sharon, Sophia
Sitting: San Jie, Lulu (amazing sisters bond), Lee Lean, Kah Heng
Location: Some random bridge on our way to Senaru.
For the first time throughout the entire hike, I didn't part with the group! hahahhaa... Everyone took it a little slow due to fatigue, or maybe cause the main guide, Randa Vespa, was there to slow the others down. Thank you! For that, we managed to snap group photos along the way.

Lake, volcano, and sulphur sipping into the stream.
Amazing creation. 

I was in awed when we reached the campsite. Right next to a pretty lake, Segara Anak. I wanted to jump in and swim like what you see in the movies. YOLO. Too much movies *cough*
That didn't happen. Instead, we took a short walk to the waterfall (where somebody died in two days ago) and dipped ourselves into small hot spring pool.
The good feeling where we can finally clean our sweaty bodies. Not that we're really dirty anyway. We used a lot of wet wipes throughout!
Way Kit even dipped himself into the cold stream. brrrrrrr....

It was a perfect evening! The only thing missing at night was the campfire and maybe mat or stools to gather everyone around. Too much to ask from the porters please! It was chilly and most of us just stayed in the tents to rest. We needed that.

Not many stars in sight from this side of the hill. But the view was spectacular. The feeling the nature oozed out just filled my heart and sight with contentment. Like, I don't want to be anywhere else.. just laze here for a week or two.

Sophia. The hyper-bunny!

3rd morning, which was our last day of hike started as early as 8am.
8 hours hike. 2 up 6 down estimation. My blisters were already screaming their lungs out.
I kept telling myself on how the heightened arousal when I start hiking shall surpass the pain and it shall be numb. With that, I dumped the idea of tossing my ankle guard away.
The day started with a lot of swearing cause each step hurts.
Hurts more than a broken heart. haha.

My idea was well absorbed and I didn't think much about the blister after sometime. Definitely slowed my already slow pace, but it doesn't matter. It was my only way out of the hills and I can't be saying, "No, I can't do this."
I whispered to myself what my yoga instructor told me ample of times. Treat each part of my body equally the same, no different.

Take a slow and deep inhalation everytime it feels a little tougher.

Top of Senaru Side. Make love when everyone is busy dabbing! ^_^

Like I said I like how our guide planned the hike route. This route was more gentle to the leg muscles after a two hours rocky ascend. It rained a little, but that didn't stop us from going. We reached the exit earlier than expected. Yahoooo!

I'm not too detailed on the hours we took for the hikes from one stop to another. Lost track of time. Barely took my phone out. Ape? Surely got ask people for the current time to know when should we sleep, okay?

Each day you'll hike about 8 hours +- You burn a lot of calories while admiring the nature, and that's all that matters.

Done with Part 1.
To be continued!
We ended the day back at the guesthouse with some classic Berum and magic mushrooms!
Lotsa inner-self showing thereafter!

Credits: Photos are from a few of them. :D

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