What were we thinking?
Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
17Trip End Jul 06, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Time to climb the mountain. Piece of cake, right? We all discussed how we had envisioned a ride to the top of the mountain followed by an easy hike, some Disneyland-esque type climb to see the sun rise. We all neglected the fact that we would be CLIMBING a MOUNTAIN in the DARK at 3 AM! So we start this lovely adventure by climbing into Ben's vehicle at 2 AM and travel north in the pitch black. We make it to the BOTTOM of the mountain and are the first people in the parking lot. We decide to sleep for about 45 more minutes before starting the trek. Then in the dark of night, we set off with our guide. (you are required to have a guide provided by the local organization, if you go with a tour or program, make sure the fee is included in the price, but seriously...despite what the lonely planet says, having a guide is a good thing). I'm still not feeling well, but we start our march, starts out pretty easy, a nice walk on a nice trail. And then the trail gets thinner and rockier, loose rocks under feet. My stomach was not good, but I kept on, even after leaving an offering (if you will) on this sacred mountain. About half way I realy start to break down. The climb is in the pitch dark, Kat is carring my pack, and a local kid is holding my hand dragging me through the more difficult parts of the climb. I feel terrible for keeping our group at a such a slow pace. At several points I consider heading back, something I fear the group secretly wants but I continue on.
I'll let Kat's perspective take over from here.
After 3 hours of walking 10 feet or so, taking a break, rallying Jonny, going to another stopping point, etc, we made it! (Let me clarify when I say "walking" I mean slipping and sliding on loose rocks, scrambling up boulders, and climbing a freaking mountain!) We did see some coo-coo lady who chose to do this in bare feet because her shoes were too slippery. What the heck?
We make it to the top with about 20 minutes until sunrise, there is a small area at the bottom of the volcanic ring where we leave Jonny.
We rejoin Jon after making it all the way around the highest and steepest parts of the top rim, thank goodness it is over. Oh wait, we still have to walk down.
On the path down we meet up with the annoying American family from yesterday, iPods and all. what luck? We get to learn a bit about our guide, he chats most of the walk down with one or another of his boyfriends, and tries to add Jason to the list. Those Asians love Jason! Jonny is finally starting to feel better. We make it to the bottom. First on the mountain, last off the mountain.
Ben takes us to a restaurant with a view of Mt.Batur to check out our accomplishment, despite wanting to visit some of the art village we decide to call it at the late hour of 10AM. Is this day over yet?
Kat and I hang by our pool and rest for most of the day. I eventually need go get my pig fix and head to Ibu Oka yet again. Kat does some shopping. Jason and Alison head to bed early but Kat and I decide we've caught our second wind and want to have a party night.
We start at the top of Monkey Forest road and start walking. We stop at each mini mart and buy a cold beer to drink on our way to the next mini mart, we call it the mini mart march. At the last mini mart we see the bar where we watched the soccer finals across the street. We roll inside and have a few drinks. Our bartender was a girl named Ekka and she loved to laugh. We hung out with her telling funny stories and cracking each other up. It was easy to do since we were the only ones there with the exception of two dogs I think lived in the bar. Eventually a kid from France joined us and he was mad about us being Americans. Something about how the US never paid France for the Louisiana purchase? Kat took offense to being called a 200 year old deadbeat and was fueled with enough vodka and redbull to launch a rocket. After a mild ruckus everyone calmed down and were hugging by the end of the night. Insert your own French cliche here.
Traveler's note: If you plan to hike Mt. Batur, and you should hire a guide. The trail is treacherous and climbed in the dark. You'll also need some flashlights so invest before you get there. Last thing, despite sweating like crazy during the climb it's quite cold at the top. I saw some poor folks with nothing more than shorts and a tee shirt that looked more miserable than me...and I was dying.