It all began on a trip with bunch of friends in 2006. Our main destination was Rinjani Mountain, an active volcano located on the island of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. Mount Rinjani rises to an altitude of 3726 m, making it one of the highest mountain in Indonesia and also a very popular tourism attraction. This is the trip that got me addicted to travelling. Oh, for those of you that are not familiar with Lombok, it is just to the East of Bali.
Climbing Rinjani Mountains without help from local porters to carry our stuff was no easy task. The track is pretty hard, going up from Sembalun you will need to pass Sorrow Hills. I think it’s called Sorrow Hills, because you are going to be several times up and down the hill and you’ll end up regretting it. After a couple of hours of hard trekking, we finally arrived in Pelawangan base camp. We need to stay over night at Pelawangan base camp and will do the hiking to the peak on the next morning without bringing any of our stuff / we are going to leaving in our tent.
We started hiking to the peak around 1 am in the morning. We were going to climb from an altitude of around 2600 m to 3726 m, which is almost 1000 m. The normal hiking time from Pelawangan to the Peak is around 3 hours. It took me around 4 hours, because really near to the peak the track got even steeper and the hiking got harder, it was lots of small rocks and was really sandy. It felt like I was moving two steps forward and one step back. Exhausted I finally made it to the peak together will all my friends. We are all very happy to have the opportunity to see the view of 360 degree on the peak, which was really breathtaking.
Local people recommended to go to the peak of Rinjani mountain early morning and come back again around 8-9 am because usually around 10 am there happen storm around the peak and the track wil be obviously dangerous. Exhausted we walked down our camp in Pelawangan and pack to go to Lake Segara Anak. This was a really pretty place to camp. We found a hot spring nearby and don’t get surprise if you find local person taking shower there with a piece of fabric cover them up, they are on their ritual moment. The area around the lake is also a place for traditional ceremonies for the local people who live around Rinjani mountain. After spending 1 night staying in Lake Segara Anak, we walked down to Senaru track and eventually Senaru Base camp.
Hiking up Rinjani you get to see so much of Lombok and how the environment changes. The North of Lombok is dominated by valleys and hills overgrown by edeluis, ferns, tall trees and shrubs. The South of Lombok is a lot drier. This was my experience as I walked down the dry and arid tracks of Sembalun on the way up and found the typical tropical forest with a lots of tall tress on the Senaru track on the way down. It’s interesting to see this, because the plants and animals of Lombok are hugely important for another reason. This island is actually on the Wallace Line, meaning it is a “border” point that separates the flora and fauna of Asia with that of Australasia.
I can say that I learnt a lot things that I had never really thought about before that time on this trip. I even got to know my friends better through sharing the journey together. Yes it is always about the journey, not the destination. I learnt life is to be enjoyed, to be present on every step. When I climbed I enjoyed the warmth of the sunshine, the feel of the cool breeze touching my hair, the smell of the plants and just enjoying the view all the way.
Calling back the good memories of this trip in 2006, I realise how much it changed me as a person. I learn to push myself beyond my comfort zone and experienced doing amazing things with other people, which was totally exciting. I found out that I really enjoy exploring, discovering new places, meeting new people and learning about other cultures. For all these reasons I love travelling until now. As travel expands my mind I am looking forwards to discover more in the future. Last but not least, don’t be shy to say hello when you meet me somewhere! Like I said I enjoy meeting new people. 🙂
Thanks to Tulus Wichaksono for all the very pretty pictures.