Every place we visit, I like to post photos that capture the everyday magic of a place. For Indonesia, I combined this post to encompass all of Indonesia versus each place since our time was more compressed. Enjoy!
Day 3 for us was another easy day, only 3 hours of uphill to the next crater rim where there are the best views of the lake and the small volcano. The small volcano inside the crater is still active, and erupted in 2009. The eruptions are mainly small though, nothing to worry about for trekkers. In the mornings, you can see the smoke rising from the volcano.
The climb up to the other side of the crater rim is a pretty tough scramble over rocks. I wasn’t feeling great, so Adi had to fashion a walking stick out of a branch for me which I was grateful for. Next investment for us will be hiking poles! But once you get to the top it’s pretty breathtaking. Unfortunately there are a lot of trees in the way, so you can still get some beautiful shots of the lake and volcano. It’s kind of surreal to watch the sunset while the moon is rising, all the while on a volcano that has another baby volcano inside its crater lake. Got all that? Mind boggling and just an amazing sight.
From this side of Rinjani, you can see Mt. Agung on Bali better and also the three small islands off the West coast of Lombok known as the Gilis. After trekking, we are going to head to the largest Gili, Gili Trawangan which is the furthest one out.
The night when the full moon rose, it was the night of the partial lunar eclipse! It was great viewing from the mountaintop and with our binoculars, it was really cool to see the shadow across half of the moon.
The next morning we packed up and hiked 5 hours downhill through the rainforest. Easy day down but boy was my entire body sore. All the days of straight uphill and downhill meant I was incredibly sore for 3 whole days after! It hurt so bad to go downhill, I told Mike it was like daggers in my quads. To make it worse, my cold was definitely full blown at this point. Sigh. But—we made it! It was gorgeous and probably one of the most beautiful places we’ve been. Next time we will be in better shape and bring warmer clothing! Special thanks to our guide and porter crew—highly recommend John’s Adventure.
Since we didn’t do the summit for the sunrise, that cut 5 hours of hiking out of our day (it’s 3 hours up and 2 hours down the summit). So we had an easy 3 hour day of downhill hiking to the lake where we would camp. We ran into Mel and Brad again down at the lake and they had gone up to the summit for sunrise. They said the wind was pretty tough but magically when you got up to the top of the summit it died down. We were bummed we didn’t force ourselves to go, but in that moment of time at 2:30am, there was probably nothing that could have gotten me out of that tent!
On the way to our lake campsite, we stopped at the natural hot springs which is at the base of a waterfall. It’s a small pool, so only a few people can go at a time. Luckily, we beat the rest of the tourists there, so we only shared it with a few locals.
Our guide chose a great spot for our lakeside campground. We stayed on the far edge of the lake, away from the main campground. This gave us a great view of the “baby” volcano inside the crater rim and we got the camp right at the lake’s edge.
While we were relaxing there, a huge group of local villagers descended on us and started doing a spiritual ceremony! Apparently every full moon, whole Muslim Sasak villages will come up to the sacred Gunung Rinjani to bathe in the crater lake and hot springs for health reasons and make animal sacrifices. There were over 100 villagers. First they changed into all white and then dunked themselves in the lake. After they changed out of their wet clothes, they all got their prayer mats out and faced West to pray. It was pretty amazing to watch. Then they built a huge fire to cook an enormous vat of rice to feed everyone. And then, just as soon as the rice was distributed, they were off! Leaving us to our solitary campground.
Our guide bartered some packs of cigarettes with a local fisherman so we could have some fresh caught lake fish for dinner. Villagers will sometimes come up for 4 or 5 days to stay by the lake and fish. Our guide Adi got a ton of fish, so we fried up some and they saved others for smoking.
After dinner, we watched the full moon rise from behind the mountain over the lake. Pretty magical. Luckily, there was no wind that night by the lakeside so we were able to get a good night’s sleep.
After Nepal, we thought we were done with trekking for this trip…but I caught the bug and I booked us another trek in Indonesia! Mike likes to tease that I secretly like torturing myself because I always sign us up for treks that we’re underprepared for. I guess it was the case again for Gunung Rinjani, which is a volcano on the island of Lombok, just East of Bali. After we flew in to Denpasar, Bali, we hitched a taxi to Padang Bai to catch the public ferry to Lombok. Avoiding the scam tickets we got dropped off at (it happens every time now), we got the cheap tickets for the 5 hour journey. We were one of two tourist groups on the public ferry—guess everyone shells out for the fast boat?
We got into Senggigi pretty late and the next morning we got picked up by John’s Adventures, our trekking outfitter. Trekking Gunung Rinjani is quite different than trekking in Nepal. On the Annapurna Circuit, we did teahouse trekking, which in hindsight I now appreciate very much. On Gunung Rinjani, you have to hire a guide and porters to carry your tent and all food supplies. We booked John’s Adventures even though they were a bit more expensive due to the good reviews on TripAdvisor (which we have used all the time on our trip, but they really need to improve their web design/usability!). Most people do the 3 day 2 night trek, but after reading up a bit more, we booked the 4 day 3 night trek so we could take our time. Doing it in 3 days requires you to hike 8 hours each day, and we didn’t want to commit to that. =)
We stayed overnight in Senaru at the base of Gunung Rinjani and did a waterfall hike in the afternoon where you can swim underneath. I didn’t actually go in the water (it was freezing!) but Mike braved it and went in. The waterfall is so strong though that he could only stick his hand underneath it. I think if you would have stuck your body under, it would have knocked you over.
Memorable moment of that hike actually was on the way back, we got charged by a large monkey! It was on all fours and just came running towards us like a badger. Our kid guide (he was 14) said don’t worry as long you as you have a rock in your hand to throw at it, it’s okay. On Lombok there are tons of these monkeys. What’s funny is that when you’re driving along the road, they’re all sitting there on the side railing just chillin and watching the cars go by. Kinda funny, like we’re their entertainment.