Day 1 of trekking Gunung Rinjani was our longest day: 8 hours of uphill. We started hiking with a duo from Australia who were really nice, Mel and Brad. Brad’s a serious mountaineer though—he’s done Everest(!) and had done Gunung Rinjani in 2005. He told us Gunung Rinjani is actually a pretty serious trek (uh oh) and that a few years ago, 10 students died during the trek from hypothermia on the summit. Yikes. We had already sent home our warm weather gear, but luckily we borrowed some heavy jackets from John’s Adventures (it gets down to the high 30s at the summit). We woke up at 6am to a beautiful sunrise over the ocean and off we went.
Day 1 they dropped us off at Sembalun village to start the trek and you walk through these grassy plains up the slope of the volcano. It was really beautiful but incredibly hot with no shade relief!
But pretty soon we got into the cloud cover and then it was like night and day. It rained for a little bit and then was cool and misty until we reached the crater rim.
Reaching the crater rim, you were rewarded with a breathtaking view once the clouds cleared. These huge cloud formations were rolling in through the valley in the east towards the lake. Everyone was sitting on the ridge enjoying the view and also the sun after a chilly hike up.
While our guide and porters set up camp, we took advantage of the moon rising in the bright blue sky and did a photo shoot. =)
Needless to say, we had a lot of fun thinking of what poses to do next! Sunset came on the crater rim and we got an amazing sunset looking towards the ocean. You can even see Mount Agung rising up from Bali.
Right after the sun went down, we had roaring ripping winds on the crater rim. It was insane! We were really glad we had the heavy jackets but it was still cold. But we kept thinking, okay it’s cold, but not as cold as Nepal, we’ll be okay. All night our tent would loudly shake in the wind so we didn’t get much sleep. By morning, half our tent was collapsed and at one point in the night, Mike had to go outside to fix the part that had collapsed on me. The wind was that strong! We were supposed to wake up at 2:30am to do the 3 hour hike to the summit, but our guide advised us against it as it was so windy. We quickly agreed and tried to go back to sleep. I remember waking up thinking wow, that was the worst night of sleep I’ve ever had. Imagine you can only sleep for 20 min at a time before you’re woken up by the loud tent and you’re sleeping on a hard ground and sticky from the 8 hour uphill hike. Yep! No shower for 4 days of hiking! To make matters worse, I was getting sick with a head cold. Good thing Day 2 is only 3 hours of hiking…