Trip Start Mar 04, 2004
77Trip End Jul 02, 2005
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The Lead-up: On 08 May I finished did an early morning dive at the USS Liberty wreck in Tulamben, Bali and then spent the entire day getting to Sengiggi, Lombok. Many sweaty bemo rides to the terminal at Padang Bai with its persistent touts and hawkers, a 5-hour ride on a slow, rusty old hulk, and a two-hour shuttle to Sengiggi. The whole way I was plotting how I could afford and organize a trek up Mt. Rinjani, which is 3726m and my Lonely Planet says is usually climbed in 4 days, 3 nights. With the necessary porters, guides, gear rental and food this was looking to be a costly adventure. I hit some luck when out bus driver stopped me at a tour-booking office desparate to fill a spot on a Rinjani trek. I was able to get the trip at a 40% discount and it worked out to 650,000Rp ($108CAN) for 3 days, 2 nights with everything provided
Feeling: My ass going numb because a transport screwup meant I had to sit on the back of a scooter for two-hours to get to Senaru, the jumping off point. Wonderful feeling of wind in the hair and freedom at first, then the numbness... The bite of a bamboo pole into my shoulder muscle. I tried carrying the porter's loads for a small bit of the walk. Shar carried over 25kgs, two loads balanced between a thick bamboo pole. Boh had a standard trekking pack, almost bursting with supplies. Our guide Mansur carried the same
Smell: The organic smell of earth and humid jungle. The sweet smell of Indonesian tea with sugar. The reek of 6 people who have busted their asses climing a massive volcano for 3 days. Peppermint leaves, found by my fellow trekkers, the German couple Mike and Katja. The light smell of sulphur of the hot springs we soaked ourselves in on the second day. The tartness of the Sasak (Lombok inhabitants) hand-rolled cigarettes.
Sounds: The slap of flip-flops in front of my as our porters navigated steep inclines and declines, sometimes running as well. One of the porters even went barefoot for the whole trek
Taste: The spice of Lombok village cooking, particularly the Sambai sauce. The much longed-for taste of chocolate, that very necessary accompaniment to all climbs. The sour-sweetness of fresh pineapple and papaya. The saltiness of homemade fried mountain dumplings.
Sights: View on the crater rim, our first night, which is of the Mt. Rinjani double caldera. This means there is actually a new, and active, volcano within the old crater. It is surrounded by a still blue lake and is a unique sight. The seting of the sun behind Mt. Agung, back on Bali. The green fields of the upper reaches of Mt. Rinjani. The bared teeth of an Old Man monkey as it charges me when I get to close. The delicate flowers of the fields. The slim, slithering snake that crosses our path. The view at 2:30am of the 800m climb that must be accomplished before sunrise at 6am. The epic, all-around view at the summit. The suns first rays hitting Rinjani and Agung. The welcome sight of banana pancakes made by our porters back at the second camp, which is at 2900m. Finally, the softly lit passage into Sonya's on the night of the third day, having returned safely and happily from my highest-yet climb.