Climbing Mt. Kerinci

Trip Start Feb 04, 2012
Trip End Feb 11, 2012

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Where I stayed
Homestay Keluarga Paiman

Flag of Indonesia  , Sumatra,
Saturday, February 4, 2012

Day 1 - The 4th of February 2012, fresh start of the year, and here I am in Padang Sumatra, to begin our climb to the highest active volcano in this hemisphere. (3805masl). After all the Immigration and Custom clearance, I walk out into a crowd of waving hands and touts offering their services. After a brief discussion with my team, we decided to board the local bus to town.
Spent the night in a budget hotel in Padang (Machudum) at 180000rp./nite for 2 pax.

Day 2 -  After the usual ruckus of breakfast, we set out to find the local 'travel' or mode of transport in local lingo to Sungai Penuh. After much manoeuvring in a town "angkut" we managed to locate the correct "travel" to Sungai Penuh which cost Rp 70000/pax, Confronted with 9 hour drive to our destination, sends chills down my spine. Boarding a non air conditioned mini bus in a tropical country would not be situation you would wanna be. Luckily, as the mini bus meanders towards the highlands the temperature dropped drastically to comfortable environment.Roads are narrow with steep turns and potholes, but comfortably compensated by stunning view of rolling hills, serene country side and picturesque scenes.Finally after 8 hours of travelling we arrived at our destination, Kersik Tuo. We check into Keluarga Paiman"s Homestay. With a cloud shrouded Gunung Kerinci in view, we were frantically pointing our cameras at the awesome smoking Volcano, Dinner was spent discussing with the guides on our impending climb the next day. We hired 2 guides cum porter and cook for Rp. 1.2 mil.for a 2 days trek. We spent the night buying stuffs for trek.

Day 3 - With pumped up adrenalin we started of at 9 in the morning. We were scooted away by 4 local motorcycles to the starting point for Rp 10000/pax. Wasting no time we embarked on our trek. The terrains and trails are clean and clearly paved out, indicating the continuous influx of visitors and trekkers.Vegetation is lush and pristine, temperature cool. After passing 3 rest areas and 3 Shelters we reached our designated campsite Shelter 3 at 4pm. Temperature is cold, a chilling 5 degrees Celsius sends bone chilling sensation down your spine. A quick set up of tents and other paraphernalia. Night was spent holed up in the tent to escape the freezing winds and cold. Dinner was served inside the tent.

Day 4 - At 4am we start on our push to the peak, After about 2 hours of energy sapping trek, we finally reached our ultimate goal, only to be greeted by pungent odours of sulphur. It is kind of nauseating and acrid to the throat and would induce a tendency to cough. With the photography sessions over, we headed down to the campsite. Today, we will trek right down to the foothills and spend the night in an more viable atmosphere. Reached the starting point at 4pm, and a short ride took us back to our homestay. Mission accomplished.

Day 5 Bukit Tinggi, it looks like the long and winding road is once again smiling upon us.We boarded a mini bus enroute to Bukit Tinggi for our next itinerary. It's a grueling 12 hour ride from Kersik Tuo to Bukit Tinggi costing Rp 80000/pax. Finally, arrived late at night in scattered showers of rain. Checked out Hotel Orkid and Singgalang Indah both fully booked. Managed to check in at Hotel Dahlia, along the same row. A rather squeaky clean hotel, only setback, the rooms are kinda mouldy in odour, Nevertheless, we settled in, after a quick clean up we were out in the streets looking for food. Food, in abundance and in existence everywhere, shops, hawkers and street vendors. A wide variety of Indonesian foods and drinks.

Day 5 - Decided to visit all the nearby attractions in town accessible on foot. First it was a short walk to the famous Jam Gadang or Clock Tower followed by a 1km walk to Panaroma Park. The Park houses the notorious Japanese tunnel. An entrance fee of Rp.5000 is required. A guided tour inside the Tunnel would further enhance our understanding the design and reason for the existence of this tunnel. Ngarai Sianok or Grand Canyon of Indonesia as it is referred to by locals is an imposing view, with it's steep cliffs lush greenery makes the place looks scenic. We decided to trek down into the canyon's valley. looks like a daunting task, but in reality it ws quite a breeze as compared to the Kerinci Trail.. The trek took us into local villages and a cable suspended bridge. Finally reaching into Kota Gadang, a village popular for its silver ware. The silver souvenirs were exquisite and unique. A short stroll from here led us to the Flying Foxes den. A few claps of the hand, created a rather rude awakening for the downright hanging Foxes. Thousands filled the valley's sky, it is indeed a sight to behold.

Day 6 - Today's itinerary will take us to Lake Maninjau and Harau Valley. We decided to take a guided tour complete with a car and driver, which cost Rp.1 million for a full day's tour. The trip took us to Harau Valley and Lake Maninjau. Harau Valley with it's scintillating waterfalls and splendid sceneries made the journey there worthwhile.After a few hours of photographing all the 4 waterfalls, we continued our journey to Lake Maninjau. With brief stop at a local silk weaving outlet in Pandai Sikek, before continuing to Maninjau. At Lawang Top, it offers a commanding view of the entire lake in its entirety. Lying ahead is the 44 keloks or turns in local lingo, the infamous U turn corners and narrow road. We arrived at the lakeside at about 3pm, in time for a late lunch by the lakeside. It was late evening before we decided to leave the lake for our journey back to Bukit Tinggi.

Day 7 -  Finale in Bukit Tinggi, a quick stroll to chaotic morning market and grab whatever souvenirs or paraphernalia. A short breakfast and it was back to Hotel. With a late afternoon flight, we had to leave early for the Minangkabau Airport. We made it with ample time to spare. Our flight back indicates the end of this adventure, our future plans are to return and climb 2 more Volcanoes i.e Mt. Singgalang and Mt. Merapi soon.

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