04/04/2014 - 04/04/2014
On the island of Lombok stands a great volcano named Rinjani. Within the crater lies a crescent shaped lake, and only a couple hundred years ago, a smaller volcano appeared in the middle as a result of an eruption. Its 3,726m (12,224ft) summit is a difficult, but common activity for travelers in good physical condition, but many companies offer 2-day, 1-night trips to the crater rim for the less inclined. Leaving the port town of Senggigi, we drove motorbikes along the coastline past the party islands of Gili, through bamboo villages smoking with fresh food on their fires, and rows of rice field workers with triangular Chinese hats to shade them from the sun's harsh rays. It was a gorgeous drive to the small one-road town of Senaru, where we planned to organize a trip to the summit.
Upon learning more about the climb and the price, however, we decided we a) didn't want to pay anywhere near that much, and b) weren't sure if we were fit enough for the summit after the sloth and gluttony we've been practicing for the past two months at home. Plus we both have new shoes that aren't broken in yet. So we opted for a less common, much cheaper program. The plan was to leave at 1am, climb for 6-7 hours, reach the rim around sunrise, rest and take pictures at the top, then come back down in the same day making it about a 12 hour day hike. This is like a mix between Quilotoa and Huayna Potosi, for those of you who know those stories. You would think we'd know better by now. We began at 1:30am at 600m (1,969ft), and climbed with very little rest for 6 hours up to 2,641m (8,665ft).
That's like climbing the Sears tower over four and a half times in a row.
And then going back down.
We missed the sunrise by about an hour, but we thought the timing was perfect with the way the sun rose within the crater. Our guide struggled the most out of all of us on the ascent, stumbling around like a drunkard because he was so tired he was falling asleep while walking. We eventually overtook him, then let him sleep for an hour while we gazed at the crater. It was like nothing we had ever seen before. I mean, a little volcano inside a big one? So cool.
The climb was steep, sweaty and very difficult at times, and once at the top, the idea of going back down the way we came seemed absurd. But despite our blistered heels and toes, we made it with Abby's knees intact and Mike only tweaked an ankle a couple times. It was the biggest elevation change we've ever attempted in a single day one direction, and we did it in both directions. An ambitious beginning to hiking in Asia, we rocked it for 12 hours and learned a lot of Indonesian while doing it. I guess sitting on the couch and eating Diane's cooking didn't take too much out of us haha. Looking forward to the next hike already.
View of the Gili islands and the distant Bali's mount Agung