A three day hiking trip with good friends and beautiful landscapes in the mountains of Lombok. Sounds good, right? That’s what I was thinking also – but I didn’t know what I signed up for.
The first day I took the slow ferry with my sister to Lombok from Bali. I didn’t really know what they meant by „slow“ before the trip. I thought it couldn’t be more than four hours. I was wrong. It was six hours. But we made it. To the wrong harbor. The five-minute ride from the harbor to our hostel turned out to be a 90-minute ride. Great.
As you already noticed, I thought I knew more than I actually did. Usually, I’m the guy who plans before I travel, but not this time. Sometimes it’s nice to shut off your brain and just go and see what happens.
Day 1 – „Excitement“
We finally arrived in Senggigi, the tourist hub in Lombok. We paid the Mount Rinjani trip to our agency (1,4 million rupiahs = 80 euros), had dinner and went to sleep. I set my alarm clock to 4:30 thinking it doesn’t matter because we are gonna sleep more the next days. Oh, how wrong I was. Again.
We woke up, picked up everybody and drove a few hours to have a breakfast with the crew. Our crew included fifteen people: one Austrian, three Swedish-Finnish and eleven Finnish people. After breakfast, we changed from the bus to pick-up trucks. It was fun until it wasn’t. Eight people shaking sideways down and up the hill, and then down the hill again. It felt like a funny ride in an amusement park until I decided to throw up on the road from the moving car.
We got out of the car and signed our names to a list so they can keep track on how many people are coming back from the hike. It’s not promised you will. Finally, we started walking, full of energy and minds full of enthusiasm. As the hill turned steeper and minutes turned to hours the energy started to drain off. But the enthusiasm didn’t. Six hours uphill was actually quite nice and easy with all the water and food breaks. After a long hike, we set up our camp, chilled and watched the landscape with monkeys, clouds, mountains, crater lake, and the sunset.
To be completely honest, our eight guides were the ones who actually set up the camp. They were real-life superheroes. They walked in flip-flops or without any shoes at all, which is amazing. They also had 30 kg each on their shoulders including food, water, and tents. Nobody knew how it was possible to handle all that. And they do the three-day hiking trip twice a week. Nice. I didn’t feel like complaining about anything.
The sunset was amazing and the stars in the sky after the last sun rays was nothing short of incredible. As I was staring at the clear milky way, I realized I’d never really seen the star sky before.
Day 2 – „Ups and downs…“
„Teh teh teh teh teh“. This was our alarm clock every morning. Our guides woke us up with a warm cup of tea, which definitely was nice in the middle of the cold night. Drink your tea, get out of the tent and get ready to reach the top. Total darkness combined with the magical star sky was enough to create an adventurous atmosphere to start the climb. Again, the climb was fun until it wasn’t. The last one to two hours were a steep hill of rock and sand. Two steps up, one step backward. Ten deep breaths. This continued until the very top.
And wow. Stunning 360-degree views with the sunrise, clouds, volcano, lake, sea, and Lombok villages. All of a sudden all the pain and struggles so far were worth it. We enjoyed the view and took pictures, patting each other backs and just enjoying the fact that we all made it to the top alive. After getting down to base camp and getting approximately 5 kg of sand out of the shoes, it was a pretty good feeling to sit down and eat something. Everyone was hyped and tired at the same time. After reading horror stories of students dying and lots of people giving up the climb we were really proud that everyone made it to the top. Even Aleksanteri with his injured knee. What a hero.
We started climbing down to the lake. The view was again amazing, with clouds passing by and the landscape constantly changing because of that. Sometimes I wondered if I was in a Lord of the Rings movie. After three hours we made it and took a cool dip in the volcanic lake. After that the natural hot spring. A full-service spa in the middle of nature.
Day 3 – „Relief“
„Teh teh tehtehtehteh“. You already know what it is. Wake up, empty your cup and start climbing. In total darkness.
We started climbing, and after few hours the first sun rays painted the landscape in warm colors and the headlamps were no longer needed. We made it to the top. Every time you get to the top and see the view you forget the pain and soreness. Just when your body thought it’s all over, we began the last part of our hike. Six hours down. It wouldn’t be that bad but after already hiking for 20+ hours it was. But it was fun too. Nice morning walk in the deep jungle with your friends. And when you are with the same crew for days, the jokes keep getting better all the time. Or worse. Well, at least they are getting funnier.
After six hours of going down, I’ve never been so happy to hear the motorbike a few kilometers away. That sound made me realize that there’s a slight possibility to get out of the jungle alive. And I did. We did. Finally. Such a relief.
And I can’t deny that the semi-cold Bintang tasted pretty delicious after three days of hiking.
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This text was written by our Bali student Benjamin!