Current mood: Feeling sore
Well well well... Hows it going to all of you out there loving life right now? I hope well. For me... Indonesia is making me feel like i am on top of the world. In fact, i am.
Where to start? i guess where i left off. So Yeah.. we were in the Gilli's snorkeling with 8 turtles at a time, Supping Bintang and chowing down Urap Urap whilst trying to hide from the doom stare coming across the ocean from Lombok. Rinjani was certainly a feat for out thoughts let alone our bodies when deciding to give up the beach life for a little trek time. and some trek it turned out to be.
Leaving the Gilli's wasn't so hard for us. it was almost a welcomed break from the beach and beer lifestyle. we were off to meet our friends Nieky and Fleur in a place called Sengigi just across from where we were drinking. The guys had been there for a few days and had sorted us a room out so the trip was fairly easy. it should have taken around 45 minutes but with the regular scams of being left
in random restaurants for an hour at a time we took around 3 hours to arrive. no problem however as we were just in time for lunch and a swim.
Wondering around Sengigi was a completely different Buzz from that of the Gilli's and most other places we have been over the last month. Infact it was comparable to Christchurch in the sense of stress this little run down town was causing us. Tout after Tout, following us for Kilometers at a time pushing Rinjani treks and Jewellery with every trick in their books was about all i could take before i snapped and told someone to "just take the hint", (as i smashed my toes on a raised slab for not looking where i was going whilst talking with the guys) "i am not F#*#*#g Interested in your bone earrings". He quickly did a U'ey.
Casey hit the nail on the head one day whilst talking about this tiny place in the north west of Lombok by saying "it has been built before any customers have arrived". there are so many restaurants all offering Ten percent off just to get you in. on a good night you
may see 10 or 15 people in total that are out having a drink. it is a real ghost town. Fortunately for us that the Haunted little settlement was going to work in our favor with our booking the Rinjani experience. the lonely planet states an all inclusive trek can cost up to as much as 250 US dollars and by paying this fee there is a fair working scheme so all Guides and porters get a good wage and a bit of rest with a well designed rotary system. This is not the case. Throughout Sengigi everybody had a different price to offer you. Top end we were finding 1,500,000 IND rupiah and the sort of normal offer was a few hundred thousand less but Casey and i were to find a trek going at 800,000 Rupiah that wasn't with the Illegal trekkers that often hit the mountain. the Guy had been pestering Nick and Fleur for a week and on hearing their friends were coming he was going to make sure no one would snatch us up. After all a group of four was a good bit of cash in this town. The shit thing is about booking
these tours is this. The guy in the office sits there with a brand new Surf top on, be it Billabong our some other variation each and every day. never once did the greedy little fellow sit in the same shirt or for that matter look as if he had ever missed a meal. We were not prepared to pay the top end price as the cost of the trek is really no more than a mere 500,000 per person. some of these guys are pocketing a Million whilst the porters lugging our goods upto 3000 m earn a shitty 30 dollars a month. (around 300,000) We had decided to go with the cheapest offered and tip the porters the remainder. or at least double there weekly wage. and we did successfully. (even with our tout still making a million in three seconds)
Below quoted directly from the site Lombok Rinjani Trek organization in italics or see http://www.lombokrinjanitrek.org/ for further information My story continues below the Italic part: This classic route in Gunung Rinjani National Park starts from Senaru, ends in Sembalun Lawang, and includes Mt Rinjani’s crater rim, Segara Anak Lake, sacred hot springs and summit (3,726m).
Rinjani Trek itinerary:
You will be picked up by coach from Airport or your hotel in Senggigi and drop you to Senaru North of Lombok for about two hours drive and check in the accommodation. After dinner you will get briefing from your guide explains the route details, local traditions and what you might see, and the rubbish management and safety procedures then also introduce you to your porters. Stay overnight.
Register at the Rinjani Trek Centre (RTC) in Senaru (601m) early in the morning, meet your cultural traditions and what you might see, and lists rubbish management and safety procedures. The first hours of the trek climb steeply through thick tropical forests rich in flora, bird life and a variety of butterflies. You might see orchids, the long-tailed grey macaque monkeys and, if lucky, the rare black ebony leaf monkey, known locally as lutung. Rest stops are taken along the way, and at Pos 2 Montong Satas shelter (1,500m). Your guide relates village stories and local legends. Features include the Bunut Ngengkang banyan tree that looks like someone standing with their legs apart and the Batu Penyesalan stone. You will reach at Pos
3 Mondokan Lokaq (2,000m) through the forest after about five hours climb from Senaru, or continue the ascent for another couple of hours through grassy meadows to Plawangan 1 Senaru crater rim at 2,641m. From the crater rim are sweeping views across to Bali and Mt Agung, and down to the Segara Anak Lake (2,000m) within the Rinjani Crater. Mt. Baru (2,351m) is an island in the lake and an active volcano, last erupting dramatically in 1994. After enjoying the view, the trek proceeds for a couple of hours down the trail to the Crater Lake where the rest of the day is spent relaxing and swimming. There is plenty of time to explore the pilgrimage hot springs, said to have healing powers. Camp by the lakeside, enjoying dinner followed by the night sounds.
Enjoy the time during the morning for relaxing, swimming in the lake and explore the caves and the beautiful view of the lake. You will have your lunch in your camp around the lake and by 2.00 pm leave the lake and climb for the three-hour steep ascent up to Plawangan 2 Sembalun crater rim (2,639 m). Look out for edelweiss along the
path. Observe the view of the lake from the other side and the island of Sumbawa across the tropical ocean. You will stay overnight in the camp site at Plawangan 2 Sembalun crater rim and enjoy your dinner followed by the night sounds.
A 3 am start is necessary for the hard three hour climb to the summit (3,726m) on volcanic scree. Once there, enjoy proud feelings of satisfaction and the amazing sunrise views across the Wallace Line to Bali, Mt. Agung and Sumbawa, and down to the Segara Anak Lake (2,000m) within the Rinjani crater. Mt. Baru (2,351m) is an island in the lake and an active volcano. At 6.30 returns to the crater rim camp and it takes time approximately 1 ½ hours for a well-deserved breakfast at 8.30.hours reach Pada Balong (1,800m) through grassland used as cattle grazing by local people.By 9.00 am start to descent from the Sembalun crater rim is amidst the pine-like Casuarina species locally known as Cemara, and perhaps seeing evidence of wild pigs. After three hours walk through Pada Balong (1,800m) grassland used as cattle grazing by local people and you will have your lunch on the way of
the trek called Tengengean, Pos 2 (1,500m). After lunch proceed your descent, from here is a beautiful view of Sembalun Lawang and Sembalun Bumbung villages, known for coffee production until the crop was changed to garlic to take the advantage of the garlic boom in early 1990s. The road head is reached after another three hours gentle descent through open country, and the trek ends at the Rinjani Information Centre at Sembalun Lawang by 3 pm. You will be pickup up and drop to the Airport to catch your flight back or to Senggigi for about two-half hours if you want to extent your stay in Lombok. You will go through the tropical forest and having good experience with a nice view.
The program ends.
So you can see in detail of what was involved for us all but it only tells half of the story. Day one we woke for breakfast all super keen. Fresh as roses we scoffed , stretched and giggle our way up to the bus before our registration. Our group consisted of 9 people, Casey me and our buddies, also two French couples in there forties (one of the men actually, Hugh, was involved
with the rush on the Olympic torch in London for the last China Olympics. He is a big, 'free Tibet' activist who was very inspiring and had lived there for 8 or so years. look out in the papers for his next attempt... Cannes festival maybe hahaha) Also there was an American guy Mike who was an accustomed trekker.
We all set off at a good pace and it wasn't long before the aches that are to be with you until the end set in. It was such a laugh though. the walk up was hard on the first day as it was tough to find the comfortable pace but i soon learned to keep up with the guide and put my left foot where ever his foot went, exactly. after a good six hours of walking we had all slightly split up into strollers and front runners but we were all finding our selves nearing the first camp. Oh my Days. the first camp was actually below the ridge of the lake with views looking back from where we had walked. Whilst trekking it easy to forget to look back. i urge you take your time to look
for a least a few seconds. It gives you a real sense of achievement. (more so than looking up ahead to see how far you have left anyway that is hahaha) Camp 1 was amazing. great sunset, great people, and a hard floor to sleep on. who cares aye. i was i thought on top of the world. After a great feed we all looked to the amount of stars that covered the sky then fell asleep ready for the real trek on day two.
Up early, Breakfast and back into the grind. Up to the crater ridge for our first view of the lake and Volcano. what a view. pictures do it no justice so you will just have to take my word for it. but still take a peak at the snaps.
After a few minutes rest at the ridge it was time to come down to the lake. following the guide (who appears to have been parented by mountain goats) we quickly lost sight of him. instead we were to begin the decline that would probably break us for the remainder of the trip. lets just say going up is way easier than walking down.
my legs are still sore four days later. The reward however is lunch at the foot of a volcano around an amazing lake that are not to far from some well deserved hot springs that we bathed our bodies in for the lunch time period. but not after two hours of relaxing we were to climb what was the hardest par of the trek the camp 2. and oh man it was tough. this part of the trek really split the group up into ones and two's. i was however first to the top. Casey.. hahah was the last. bit spewey to be honest. god damn Malarone.
At camp two the views were even better. great food, great company and ready for an early night in my little orange tent. we were only feet from the edge of the cliffs that would look down to the lake we relaxed at.
3am the Summit walkers would be on there way to see the perfect sunrise, though it wasn't to be. we all set off for an hour or so's walk the highest point of Rinjani. 30 minutes from the end, i think around 3200 m we were advised that
the weather was changing up there and we had better go down. the view would have been very cloudy. so i wasn't to Summit this time but i intend to do it again some day and hopefully with my old mates Rob Bendon and Joseph Rees. they would love it. after a 3 hour or so walk we were back and ready for the 6 hour walk down hill home. this bit was not pleasant but by far the most fun part of the trip. the pain was so bad we had no other option but to laugh at our Bambi looking balance when finished. the legs were shot and blisters were up. i cant wait for a beer. on that note i will leave you all alone. i am off the get drunk, sleep for a week then head to Amed back on Bali. i am over Lombok for now
i hope you are all well and please get in touch soon. i miss hearing from all of you.
Big love to all at home.
love Brummy niki Maguire.
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