What were we thinking?

Trip Start Jun 16, 2008
Trip End Jul 06, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Today is the day we climb to the top of Mt. Batur to se the sunrise. I wake up around 12 am with incredibly painful stomach cramps. I have some of the worst traveler's diarrhea I've ever had. Cramping, expelling demons, 10 minutes of sleep, and repeat. I take all the meds I can find in my pack and am seriously worried I'm not gonna make the trip. Thankfully about 15 before our departure time I think I'm done...nothing else left in me.

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. Our guide convinces Jason, Alison, and I to continue further up around the rim of the crater. BIG MISTAKE! It starts with a 19 minute climb up soft sand, each step up was followed by a slide down. Alison pointed out later that I lost my positive attitude on this part (for those of you that know me, I did have a positive attitude for the ENTIRE trip, minus this part.) But we made it to another nice stopping point for the sunrise, and it was amazing watching the sun come up over the clouds. At this point Jason realizes that we will be walking around the rim. He and Alison are afraid of heights and get vertigo. We make it a bit further around and our guide points out some thermo-vents with hot steam coming from them, oh yeah, this is an ACTIVE volcano. Our guide cooks us some bananas in a steam vent, at which point Alison and I get completely slap happy, giggling up a storm as Jason looks at us like we are crazy. We eat our bananas and move on. I wish Jon had been there to see it or A and J hadn't been clinging to the mountain for life, because the views are amazing, the pictures don't even come close.
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.
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jodestar on

I would love to know where i can purchase 20 cent beers in bali......hmmmm

bexbennett on

Love this blog! Im heading to Bali and this has been very helpful (as well as being funny and well written thanks!)

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