“Why not a facial, a spa, or a massage, Sarah?” my mother asked, almost exasperatedly when I told her that I was hiking Mount Rinjani as a part of my 25th birthday present. She couldn’t understand why I’d put myself through “pain and suffering” after hearing about the torturous hike 3,726 metres up Indonesia’s second highest mountain. Yet, she knew nothing was going to stop me.
For those who are unfamiliar, Rinjani is an active volcano, with a caldera on top that’s partially filled by the Segara Anak crater, also known as ‘Child of the Sea’. Those who have hiked up this peak will know the unspeakable joy of seeing this beauty way up high.
Now that I’ve scaled up and down this notoriously difficult mountain, and made it back to share my story, I can easily sum up my entire trekking experience in one sentence: It’s not for the faint-hearted.
Nevertheless, I hope that these photos only inspire you to do one thing every now and then that scares you. So pick up those walking sticks and start your climb!
The day before the 2:30am morning hike up to the summit of Mount Rinjani.
Be prepared to be very well-fed by the guide. I was so surprised that they whip up such wholesome meals with the minimalist kitchen equipment our porters carried up the mountain.
The tents that were set up for hikers to camp and set base before embarking on the treacherous hike.
Loading up on dinner before we had to wake up at 1.30am to start our ascend to the summit.
A look of satisfaction and pride! I’m beyond belief I made it up to the summit of Mount Rinjani, despite almost giving up multiple times. If there was one thing I was certain of, it’s that my stubbornness would get me to the peak!
Trust me when I say that with every two steps you take forward, you fall three steps backward, no thanks to the loose volcanic ash along the steep incline of the hike. But the stunning sunrise and view overlooking Lake Segara Anak (2,000 metres) within the Rinjani Crater made the hike oh-so-worth-it!
I had an amazing tour guide. Jus Fardy from Halomi Trekker and his assistant, Faisal, have hiked Mount Rinjani more than 100 times over the course of their career as a mountain guide. I trusted him completely for direction, safety, good meals, hiking tips and motivation.
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