At 3,726 m, Rinjani is the second highest volcano in Indonesia
Landed at Lombok international airport in the morning and from the airport, the drive took about 5 hour drive to Sembalun village, with stops and lunch along the way.
19/4. First camp, first light.
6:00pm Start from village to first camp site to avoid the heat and sun. This part of trek is through open space all the way. Arrived our campsite for the day after three hours walk, 6.5 KM. Had our first dinner at camp site that night, which will be mainly rice and soup, veggie or instant noodles. Tonight camp site is an open space in the fields.
- 6km, 3 hour walk to the first camp site.
20/4. Base camp.
This morning, we left our first camp site for the trek to Plawangan Sembalun at about 8:00am in the morning after breakfast. This part of walk there is an area named, Bukit Penyesalan, which translates to “Hill of Regret” Well, if you just adore hiking up steep hills for hours and hours, I guess there would be nothing to regret.
At some point into this day, our friend Kat, injured her knee. Lucky there was a doctor and a nurse in the team so they kind of had some medication with them and I guess it helped Kat a lot. I helped to carry her bag for a short part of the climb just as to help her relieve her knee first.
It was a tiring walk. Open space, low vegetation so nothing to protect you from the sun. Wearing a long-sleeved trekking shirt, really did help. Some of the guys even used umbrella, which they purposely bought earlier to combat the heat.
- Distance covered about 4.4KM , pace at about an hour per KM ascend 900 meters and total of 5 hours walk including the many stops and rest.
Arrived Plawangan Sembalun in the afternoon and the time was around 1:30pm. Since we arrived early, we have lots of rest time before the summit climb which will be early morning later on (a good plan by the team) The camp site sits on the crater rim of Mt Rinjani caldera was cool and cloudy. To the east you could view the sea and the island and the west, inside view of the caldera, the lake and valley underneath. A sense of awe captures you as you realised centuries ago, all that mass of mountain which used to be there transformed by a volcanic eruption.
I took a nap outside the tent and later, enjoyed the sunset view. Could not view the lake or the crater far below unless when the blanketing cloud gave way for a moment or so.
21/4. Summit attack
Start walk to summit in the morning darkness at 1:30 am, arrived at 5:45am, just in time for sunrise. My main objective was to be there for sunrise (the whole point of starting climb at 1am) Constant climb gradient, loose sands gravel rock just made the hike more challenging, because we seem to be sliding backwards with every step we took.
- about 4 km ascent, 1000 meter, 4 hours climb.
It was dark, so taking pictures was not happening, what else to do but keep on walking in the cold darkness. I guessed the company did keep my mind off the trail and it maybe does help in some way or another. At some point halfway on to the walk, I was feeling hungry and my stomach started to sing its hunger rhythm, had a bite of biscuits enough to keep me from feeling too hungry. The mountains didn’t feel all that cold, I had my shirt, fleece, and outer windproof mountain jacket and pants with gloves and beanie. Some trekkers I observed had even less elaborate clothing. This part of climb there’s no need for heavy bags and also might be wise to use a hiking pole if not used to climbing.
After taking pictures enjoying the scene, rejoicing around for a while, it was time for our descent, that’s an hour later, 7:00am, the view was nice, and no way I’m going to race down without enjoying the scene after such a walk. Took all the sweet time that I could, enjoyed every step and picturesque moment that I can catch.
Arrived the base camp about 9:30am, had our breakfast, took a nap, then lunch and, sooner than later, began our hike downwards toward the lake “Segara Anak”. Unfortunately it was too foggy even for a selfie, there was nothing worth visualising all the way down, it was wet, humid, low visibility. Arrived at the campsite by the lake at about 3:00pm, the porters were still setting up our tents and campsite. We didn’t waste a moment going to the waterfalls to enjoy the hot springs, I just wanted a fresh clean bath and good wash, our first bath since we started trek three days ago. Dinner time was early because we didn’t want to wait for the dark. The lake was getting foggy, and visibility dropped again, but it was a cool view at least and the refreshing bath feels so good.
Do or do not do it at all…
Thinking I won’t make it for the sunrise and was beginning to feel depressed I just kept on going, feeling slower with every step. Surprised, the summit was closer than I’d anticipated! It took some mental toughness and perseverance. The secret is to be patient and keep on going no matter how tired or bored you feel. Progress seems so slow, not the average climb.
22/4 leaving Rinjani.
We start hiking at 7:00am leaving the lake to Plawangan Senaru. An estimated climb 4 hours, then down to Kampung Senaru 6 hours. Total of 10 hour walk for this day. The hike this day was very scenic compared to yesterday. Lunch at Pos 3 about 1:00pm. Then we continued descent to pos 2, pos 1 and all the way until the entry at Senaru. Checked in at the homestay near the gate, a good meal that night, enjoyed our rest and feeling so grateful for being able to take a nice hot shower and proper toilet. Pooping in a hole on the ground does have its inconveniences.
23/4 Waterfalls; Tiu Kelep & Sendeng Gile.
Our guest house is nearby the mountain, so we woke in the morning with a nice view of the mountain side, Next on the agenda was going to the waterfall Tiu Kelep and Sendeng Gile, walking distance from the homestay. It is a lovely waterfall and I enjoyed the cold refreshing water, as if my whole body was being iced and that made all my muscles feel so refreshed. Then off to Gili Trawangan (Gili Islands), by pivate boat. Can’t thanks the organizer well enough for arranging such a good trip.
At Gili Trawangan, we rented bicycle, cycled to the western side of the beach for the famous sunset view at the famous swing. Google Gili Trawangan and I’d bet the first thing you’s see is people on the swing or horse riding during sunset. Later that night dinner at the open air food market.
Later that night dinner at the open air food market. Very crowded and you had to fight for a seat.
24/4. Island walk
Today, everyone went snorkeling except me, I stayed back and walked exploring the island. Took about 3 hours by foot and sight-seeing, circling the beach, it was very hot but I enjoyed the freedom and walk. When we regrouped later that afternoon, the boat took us back to the main island, next to mataram, stopped by Sasaku on the way to buy some souvenirs. Sasaku is a big building specially catered for tourist buying souvenirs, from fridge magnets, t-shirts, pearls, and small momento. We reached the city and checked in Viktor hotel.
25/4 Leaving Lombok.
last day at Lombok. Stopped to buy some things at a mall, taken by our driver, then lunch somewhere at Kute lombok, an area nearby the airport after dropping Kat who had an early flight to KL, drove to Merase hill for some view amidst the crazy sun, and took some nice landscape pictures and then to the airport again. Arrived early at 4 and our flight back is 7 pm.
The trek is good to my liking, scenic. A very nice walk and enjoyed almost every step through the trail and in my opinion moderate to easy. Really enjoyed the hiking with fellow travellers.
The only let down is the horrendous garbage situation. I was having lunch beside a dump site previously made by campers, plastic waste are everywhere and don’t even start to talk about human waste. You could see them along the trek. I barely managed through without feeling sick due to the absence of the foul odour on most of my ‘accidental’ discovery. The landscape is beautiful but marred by the waste and pollution. Jai said this is the early opening season and it gets worse come July and August, where it is peak season.
This trip is organised and paid for so most of the equipments, such as tents, sleeping bags, cooking utensils and foods are provided, all you need to bring are a few clothes. Hot at day time and cold at night, also it depends individually on how you can endure heat and cold. I slept with just pants and cotton/fleece shirt quite comfortably, trek daytime with a pair of pants and long sleeve shirt as it’s going to be sunny hot and sweaty, and the night trek to the summit is sufficient with an addition of fleece jacket, windproof jacket, windproof pants and hiking gloves. Also take note that during our trip here, it wasn’t raining which from information and previous experience, Mt Rinjani can rain a lot at certain times.
Rinjani flickr album. https://flic.kr/s/aHskYPV2zM