Bali Day 14: Sunrise Hike on Mt Batur

12/29/17

The alarm went off so damn early today, but in all honesty, my body woke me up first. 1:30am is what it was set for, but my internal alarm woke me up promptly at 1:20am. I went to bed way later than I intended, for a variety of reasons, which resulted in a few hours of sleep at best. Made was there promptly at 2am for our scheduled pick up, just as chipper as always.

There was a winding drive to get there, I remembered this from before when I went to the observation point to take pictures of Mt Batur (what had initially put the bug in my ear about wanting to do this trek), and just when it was starting to make me car sick, we arrived at the meeting point. You are required to have a mountain guide for this trek, there's no way around it, you can't get into the mountain area without one. That of course comes with a fee. Honestly the fee didn't bother me since the experience is what I was going for and there is no price tag for that. The restaurant meeting point served a light breakfast (banana pancake and coffee or tea. I chose no liquids because there are no toilets on the mountain other than "public toilet") Wise choice since Made used the public toilet 3 times on the mountain and me obviously none.

From the restaurant they drive you to the base of the mountain to then meet the guide (the actual person who will walk with you up the mountain). It should also be noted that if there are more people than just yourself booked you will be joined together. This turned out to not be beneficial for me as the two females who also booked were insanely slow (didn't actually end up climbing to the summit they stopped at the half way point and ended up waiting for me to come back down).
Our mountain guides name was Wayan (although she isn't the first born child in her family she is the first girl, I'm not sure if this makes a difference, or I could have heard her name completely wrong!)
The two women joined with us turned out to be insanely slow so Made and I just kind of took off on our own and left (guide and slow people). We waited the first time at a meeting point but not after that point. Wayan later found us at the top.

The first mile and a half spoiled me. I kept saying to Made "oh this isn't bad at all" it was packed dirt, rarely would you lose your footing, it inclined at a steady and consistent pace, nothing drastic. I remember thinking that I definitely could have worn my Chacos without issue, heck Made climbed the entire thing in Chuck Taylors! Then you hit the 1.5 mile mark. And hell broke loose, the ground texture changed entirely, I quickly realized I would need to employ my Mt Fuji/mountain goat skills. That did not change for the rest of the climb. To the summit. It was at this point too that I became so soaked in sweat, probably because of the intense increase in cardio, that I looked like I had gone swimming. You could wring my clothing out, the clothing that I was left wearing, as I had already stripped down to the last remaining layer.
At one point I almost called mercy, or at least an extended break. Made is always praising me for being so strong. The cardio portion of this nearly killed me.
Along the way a motorbike passed me. Literally the same trail I was hiking along.

You could see NOTHING climbing up. NOTHING. Occasionally you could look out and see the outline of a mountain (Agung) and city lights. But you could see nothing as far as the trail. Wayan had given us all small flashlights at the start but they were not very useful, providing about the same light as an iPhone flashlight. Still better than nothing, and better than the flashlight that definitely didn't bring!

At the top the weather completely cooperated. I won't lie, I channeled my 2 weeks of living pretty spiritually/religiously and offered a (relatively) complaint free hike where I would appreciate the gifts in front of me, in exchange for, well, said gifts (preferably being not the torrential downpours of the previous early morning hours mmmmmkayyyy thanks!) And with each step that it didn't pour down rain, I said a little thank you, took a look around, and reminded myself of this beauty and how damn lucky I was to be experiencing it. I keep my promises too!

There wasn't much in terms of a sunrise when it came time for that at the top because of clouds but really Agung's billowing smoke. Every now and then some colorful specks would shine through, reminding you it was there, and that it didn't matter if you got the most beautiful sunrise in the world, standing on a volcano leaking steam pockets, with Agung in front of you billowing smoke, literally like you're on top of the world, that right there was the gift.
Mt Agung before it billowed smoke




Mt Agung getting angry








Wayan finally caught up (after about an hour of being on the top and indicated that she would prepare breakfast. At the bottom they told us "banana bread" so I honestly thought it was a slice of bread and a banana. I had no idea what to expect.
When she said breakfast was ready and there was a tray waiting with sandwiches (which I soon discovered were warm) and boiled eggs I said another quick thank you, both to her and to the Universe.

Also why hasn't this banana sandwich become a thing?! Let me help you make it a thing, because it was amazing. The bananas on the inside were mashed and warm. Stuffed between two pieces of bread. To my knowledge nothing else was in there. So simple but so delicious.

Soon after the crowds started making their way to the top (Made and I were sort of in the front of the pack, probably 20 or so people ahead of us) the monkeys came out. They seem to know the routine. Humans, food, steal the food, eat the food, repeat. They're very socialized up there. Quite aggressive with the food, although I saw not a single one attempting to bite a human, unlike in Monkey Kingdom.


Staring contest...ready, GO!







Walking along the rim at the top you could feel the heat and see the steam. I tried to explain to Made that this was because we were on a volcano and that this was hot and steam but he wasn't believing me!



When we started to go down, Wayan led us down a separate way that enabled us to see one of the 3 craters on Batur. We also stopped at a little cut out where steam was coming out. She explained that Balinese people believe that the water is holy (best believe I rubbed a little on my face, she instructed me that I should). Next she brought us to the Holy Cave. This was really neat and something I never would have seen had she not been with us. She indicated that there is a small Hindu temple back in the cave a little ways and that people come to pray there (based on the Balinese calendar). She also indicated that as part of that calendar/prayer they sacrifice and animal to the crater. I asked what kind of animal (not sure why I wanted to know this) and there was a communication breakdown for a minute but Made said that it was usually a chicken (not sure how they'd get anything larger up that mountain.
I'm just so impressed that people climb that mountain so regularly to pray. That's some dedication to your religion. You should go to heaven, rainbow land, happy place, whatever it is just for the hard word you're putting in to get to your place of worship!









The way down was bad for the same bit that was bad coming up. There was a lot of sliding. I kept trying to take video and would almost land on my ass, or falling over the side of existence.

The total time it took to get up/down and all of the time spent at the top was 4 hours. The hike was just under 5 miles and honestly it might have been 5 miles, I accidentally stopped my Garmin while taking photos at one point on the trail.







The mountain/volcano I climbed in the distance
I can't think of a better last adventure to round out Bali. This one was a late add on, and I'm so glad that it snuck into the itinerary. Bali going out with a bang. I feel like I blinked my eyes and my dream of a vacation was over before I knew it. Jam packed days, so many amazing memories that have forever changed my life. So many things I'm taking away from Bali with me, carrying in my heart and soul. One thing is certain, I'll never be the same, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Enjoy today's video...not much other than the Batur sunrise hike on there because let's be honest, when you cardio for 4 hours, you want to do little else but sleep and eat, or maybe that's just me.

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