Published: July 16th 2009July 16th 2009
Tuesday, July 14th
Today we had to say goodbye to Ric and the nice people at Ocean-Sun because we were off to climb the volcano, Gunung Agung. When we tried to pay, their credit card machine didn't work and we didn't have enough cash, and since this part of Bali has very few internet providers and no ATMs at all, we had to take their banking details and promise to pay the balance into their account when we arrive back in Denpasar. Pain in the butt, but what can you do?
We were told that the nearest ATM was in Amlapura, a town en-route to the volcano. After a few wrong turns we eventually found a bank but we couldn't get any cash. We continued driving around in the hope of finding another ATM, because if we didn't get more cash we couldn't climb the volcano. We found the only other ATM in town and managed to get the cash we needed. Amlapura isn't a small town... How does the population manage with only two ATMs?
With our wallet once more full we set of north-west for the town Selat. The drive was beautiful, winding up into the mountains.
Our den for the evening
Not bad, just a little dank
We drove through Dudu (yeah, we also had a giggle) and just after reaching Selat we found the place we were looking for. We were in luck because they had rooms available and they could arrange a guide for the climb. There was also an American girl, Tani, who wanted to climb so we could share the cost of the guide.
We were starving and after lunch and a bit of a chat with Tani, then went for a nap. The place is beautiful. Almost like a homestay. We three had dinner together then turned in early to get some sleep. We'll be up at 1:30am.
1. Getting cash.
2. Easily arranging accommodation and a guide.
Wednesday, July 15th
The mosquitoes kept Talita up for most of the night, so she was very relieved when our alarm sounded at 1:30am.
We had packed the night before so we just got dressed, brushed our teeth, then we hopped in the Jimny with Wayan (our guide) and Tani and left at 2am. We headed up a winding broken tar road. It was very steep and Ferdi had our little car screaming up the mountain in 1st
Ferdi, Talita, Tani and Wayan
gear. A few times we weren't sure if we'd make it, but little Jimny managed it in the end.
Gunung Agung is the highest mountain in Bali and is considered holy by the locals. There are two routes you can choose from. One is a six to eight hour trek and the other a three to four hour trek. We opted for the shorter route.
This trail starts at the secret temple and after climbing the 300 steps from the parking area to the temple, Wayan went to offer a prayer and burn some incense. We also said a prayer of thanks to the LORD for yet another adventure and safe keeping.
We started our climb at 2:35am. The trail wound past the temple and through the forest. It was a very steep and difficult scramble. There was almost no bends; the trail ran straight up the volcano. It was a pretty tough hike. Once we left the forest area we could feel the wind blowing on our sweaty bodies and we started feeling a little cold. Wayan said that it never gets lower than 5 degrees, but that's still pretty cold. We were disappointed to see
If we knew what lay ahead, we might not be smiling so much!
that there's tons of very bad graffiti all the way up the trail. People actually carry up spray paint to deface the mountain. Weird.
After a massive scramble we finally reached the summit at 6:25am. Here Wayan left an offering and prayed again. Afterwards we enjoyed the sunrise with some tea and sammies. The clouds had rolled in so it obscured our view of the island, but it was a great view nonetheless.
At 7:50 we started the strenuous and very technical climb down. We all fell a couple of times because the terrain was really difficult to navigate. Eventually, with stiff necks (from looking down all the time), screaming joints and aching limbs, we reached the clouds. From that point it was still two hours to the temple. As we entered the forest it sounded like it was raining, but this rain only fell under the trees where the water from the clouds condensed on the leaves and fell to the ground.
After what felt like an eternity we finally reached the temple. Our bodies were finished, but we still had the 300 steps down to the car park. We finished at 12:15pm. For the first
time in all our climbing history we spent more time coming down than going up.
The drive back down was a slow and frustrating because we were stuck behind truck after truck after truck. By the time we arrived back at our guesthouse we were ravenous. We ordered lunch and beer, then had a very cold shower and packed our stuff. While we were having our lunch it started to rain (and they say it's the dry season).
We left the guesthouse and headed to Padang Bai, the main ferry port to and from Lombok. We gave Tani a lift cause she wanted to go to Ubud and she hoped that we could drop her at a place where she could catch a bus. We drove around looking for a terminal or something but couldn't find one so we headed to Padang Bai where we know there's a terminal.
We navigated our way through the strange place that is Padang Bai. Tani had decided to stay the night and head to Ubud the next day, so with the help of her Bali guidebook we found the street with all the hotels in. Everything was super expensive so
Talita and Tani
we had to shop around a bit. It was getting late and we were too tired to search extensively for an affordable place. Since we'd all share a room (and the cost) we settled on a place.
Our room was on the third floor and climbing the stairs had us moaning and groaning all the way to the top. The reward was a room with a balcony and one of the best views of the bay.
After dropping our stuff we enjoyed chocolate pancakes topped with chocolate ice-cream. Yummy! We decided that since we'd only be here one night to go and explore the town a bit. We'd been up since 1:30am, climbed to the top of Bali and back down, then drove all the way to another town. What were we thinking?
We walked up and down the beach a few times and found a nice little restaurant. After sitting for about 10mins we all just wanted to lie down and sleep. We were knackered. Ferdi devoured an entire grilled fish and once we had food in us we felt a whole lot better.
Back in our room we were lights-out as soon as our
Sun rays creeping over the horizon
Seeing the sun before a summit always gives us that extra boost we need
heads hit the pillow.
1. Summiting Gunung Agung.
2. Getting a room with a great view.
3. Chocolate pancakes.
There are more photos below