First Volcano climbing : Mount Batur !

Since we informed ourselves on what to do in Indonesia, we had in mind to climb Mount Rinjani, one of the tallest peak of the country with a +3500m altitude…Nonetheless it has been a while that we had not hiked in altitude, so we were thinking to climb another smaller volcano as an “apetizer” : Mount Batur, which is around 1700m high. But for the first time since we are travelling, it is something we were not going to do together : Lisa underwent a mini-surgery to take out a developing ward and could not wear shoes…

Every trek onto volcanoes around here are set to reach the top for watching the sunrise…Why? We do not know exactly. Maybe because of a tradition or to benefit from better climatic conditions (avoiding the highest temperatures, …). But in the end it is a nice way to get rewarded after the effort.

The departure was set between 2:00 and 3:00am…You probably guessed at what time the minibus showed up…After being awake for one hour and a half, I could not sleep during the trip…and I got some help for that…For once it was not because of the local driving style but to be spectator of an argue and the following “arm-twist” for the control of the windows opening. Actually 3 Canadian girls were car-sick, and a Slovakian family was concerned not to fall sick because of too much wind…Nice vibes in this group 🙂

Anyway we arrived from Ubud to the base departure which is already at 1000m above sea level. Having a look at the car park, we were the last ones to get in and start. While we were waiting for some people who apparently had to urge to the toilets, we got introduced to our local guides who were 4 teenagers quite sympathic and with a fair level of English. And finally we started!

Although the first part was a path and quite flat, our group of 16 was already split up. We could already see all the other people hiking along the mount with their torchlights drawing a snake almost reaching the top already…So after 15minutes we were already waiting to gather…and then 15minutes later again…This time to be informed that one the Canadian girls abandonned…It was already around 5:00 and the first colours from the sun rising were appearing. I tried to explain to the guides that it would be better to split into two groups as they were enough to have one in the head and another in the tail of each one…It was vain, but one showed me the beginning of the steep path and told me that I could go on by myself and wait them after a while…

So I did, and at good speed, being in need of some sport! And it had been…I was recovering on the groups ahead, then started overpassing the slower ones or the others who were lacking of breathe. In the end, at around 6:00 I reached the top, all sweating…It was a bit crowded, I could not imagine how it can be in high season! In addition, my expectations to enjoy a nice sunrise got vanished because of the passing clouds and the foggy situation…I missed the changing colours, but at least it got clear alternatively, the time to have a really nice view on the lake and discovering the surrounding peaks…

Actually Mount Batur formerly was a bigger and active volcano…The succession of massive eruptions drew the current landscape : the creation of the lake, the peaks that were the circunferance and the “black forest of lava”…last eruption ocurred in 2000 but was not significant especially compared to the one of 1963 although here no casualties had been deplored in the surrounding villages unlike around Mount Agung in the same year.

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The guides had the group gathered again to show us the last crater, some holes where steam got from and the temple settled up in a cave…Then everyone got the picture in front of the sign where were playing sneaky monkeys…And it was time to go down…When we were at the bottom the sky was all clear 😦

On the way back we stopped to a coffee producer or what they claimed it was…a pity that the visit was so bad executed, short of explanations and not authentic at all : The coffee to smell was dry, two poor weasels in a cage (Premium coffee “Luwa” or nicknamed “Catpoochino” is done with coffee seeds that passed through the digestive system of these animals), an old lady pretending she was roasting coffee for production but it was all burnt like coal…

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In the end it was a nice experience, but if you can manage to do it on your own, do no hesitate 🙂 This hike is a medium level and there is no chance to lose yourself despite some people will tell you the contrary.

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