It was pitch dark except for the yellow light coming out of the torchlights we brought along. I held Sat’s hand very tightly for fearing that I might ‘lead’ into walking the wrong path and got separated from the group.
The first few hundred kilometers were easy breezy walk on flat ground of tiny sandy ash dusts. I shone my torchlight to the side to see what was on the side of the path we walked – and very much to my surprise, there are vegetation like onions, potatoes, lettuces, chilies. I even saw snails! Haha. Didn’t know that the ash from the volcano is fertile enough to grow vegetable. Lol.
About 40-45 minutes of walking, I was starting to feel fatigue. I was like – my stamina couldn’t be that bad! I didn’t even start hiking up the mountain yet! I told Sat about this and he claimed that I was so because I didn’t eat the banana in the van earlier and started giving me a short lecture on how the banana supposed to give me energy.
Moreover, he said, if one walk in blindness (as in couldn’t see your path ahead) and only depends on other senses like what we were doing, one would use up more energy compared to hiking up during the day where one could see the route clearly.
True enough. So to make sure I didn’t overdrain energy, I shone the light further, carefully avoiding shining at trees as I was told that there are tree spirits especially in forest.
We then had to walk through high wild grasses at both sides and I was quite paranoid as I fear that there will be snake hiding there. But on the second thought, how could one find snake in volcanic area? The sulfur from the mountain would at least scare the snakes away. Hehe.
There is a small Balinese God altar at the foot of Mount Batur. Someone asked one of the guides on what why there is an altar there. We were told that the altar is to guard and clam the spirits of Mount Batur. Upon hearing that, I quickly paipai asking for their protection while hiking up Mount Batur.
Soon, we began ascending the mountain. It was quite chilly as there was cold wind blowing against and my legs began to get wobbly. Physically I was getting weaker and weaker but mentally I was strong. I could see myself hiking up the Mount Batur without panting and minimal help, but the truth was I can’t. By one and an half hour later, I called for a break as I couldn’t walk anymore and the guides encouraged us to walk a little bit more to the open field (with great scenery).
Finally I got the break I wanted. I immediately dropped down and drank water. Sat asked me to quickly eat the banana I stored in my bag. David passed me a bottle of Yakult to restore my energy (he claimed it would and it did!). Couple of locals that followed us kept asking if I wanted to have Coke – which I declined as having Coke while hiking is definitely a big NO.
Just as I felt better, the guides signaled us to start moving. I did feel energetic initially, but after few minutes later, I felt worst. I kept motivate myself to keep on going, keep pushing myself, keep telling this is the fastest way to get slimmer – but eventually I was mentally drained too.
There were few groups overtook us. They moved so quickly and swiftly – while the rest of us panting like mad. Half of me felt ashamed, another half felt admired their strength and stamina for able to move up quickly.
My legs were no longer strong that I slipped for stepping onto big piles of stones while climbing up. I quickly sat and checked myself. Thankfully there wasn’t any injury or bleeding on neither my palms nor my legs. I didn’t even feel the pain from the fall. Maybe it was due to the oversize windbreaker I wore, or plainly because I prayed for protection from the Balinese God earlier. Then I looked around – there weren’t any route behind me as the place I slipped is actually the corner edge and realised that I might fall off the edge. *Gasp in horror*
Seeing this, Sat asked me to let one of the local guides to guide me up. As much I wanted to resent on his decision, I had to agree with him as my legs were so tired and I knew I couldn’t reach the peak without anyone’s help. So the guide held my hand, just in case I slipped again.
I no longer had full control of my body by the time we hike halfway up the mountain. When the head of the guides called for 5 minutes break, I turned to Sat and collapsed onto him. Thankfully Sat was strong enough to hold me. Hehe.
By the way, collapse in this term is not faint. Okay? I didn’t faint nor unconscious at all.
Then Sat said, “Climbing up Mount Batur also wanna die d, imagine Mount Agung which is like much more complex and higher than this”
Like usual, I replied “Luan” and continued hugging him for support. Hehe.
As the sky began to get slightly brighter (not as pitch dark as earlier), I could vaguely see Lake Batur and vegetation farm we passed in the morning. Not to mention it was cold too!
5 minutes over, and we continued our way up. The guide urged us to move quickly in order to catch the sunrise. So we did. I mean they did and I was happily being dragged up. Haha. You see, I realised that my ‘guide’ (which later only I found out that he’s actually a Coke seller) is actually very strong, so I used minimal strength to walk and let him did the dirty job of pulling me up. Can say I was like a big stone and he was pulling the stone.
As the sky got a little bit brighter, I discovered that my guide was wearing SLIPPERS only! Shit, I thrust my life on someone who wore slippers! Though he is strong, I sort of panicked and began to see where my steps before placing my foot there as opposed to earlier where I simply step on the stones.
He must have felt the weight difference after that me doing so. Lol!
Off and on, someone would ask – “How far somemore to the top?” and the guides would say “one hour”; followed by “45 minutes”; then “30 minutes“; and “15 minutes more if you’re fast”.
When he said that, we could actually see the peak already. But because of the zig-zag route where we had to follow, we took 15 minutes to reach there.
The moment we reached the top I gave out a big sigh of relief and when I was about to look for a place to sit, that’s when the guide said, “not yet reach! Not here. Need to walk a little bit more!”
Devastated, I dragged my lazy legs and followed them to a small attap hut. There are 2 rows of benches there and boy were I happy to see those benches! I walked quickly (didn’t know where the energy suddenly came from) to one of the benches and glued my butt on it.
Out of nowhere, 2 golden retrievers came to where we were and started chasing 2 black dogs. They even cornered one of the dogs and barked at it. Only when the owner came out of the hut and yelled “Kiki! Oza!”; the dogs stopped barking, wagged their tails happily and ran around the owner.
Then I looked far. In front of me is Mount Abang and the Danau Batur (Lake Batur) The view was SPECTACULAR! Totally worth the energy climbing up there.
Then my ‘guide’ came to me – asking me to get a bottle of Coke from him. It was then only I realised he was actually a drink seller. I don’t really fancy Coke, I would rather drink water if I could but since he’s the one helping me up there, I asked Sat if he wanted to get one. He said yes (again, the same reason as I thought) so we got one.
That blardy Coke costs me 25.000 Rupiah (RM9.25). The most expensive Coke I ever drank on a mountain.
We took pictures and enjoyed the view. There was an Angmoh couple sitting at the small hill with blanket covered over them. It looked romantic and how I wished at that moment I have a blanket too as it was cold!
I was enjoying the view of Mount Abang and the Coke; and then another drink seller came to me and asked, “He (pointing to my ‘guide’) helps you up the mountain, do you want to buy him a drink?”
I was thinking, “Alamak. Damn expensive wei this guide”. Though RM18.50 isn’t much but that time I was running low on Rupiahs. 2 bottles means 50.000 Rupiah d. Huuhuu. But I still got him one since I was sort of indebted to him.
The wind would suddenly gush on us and I had no choice but to quickly zip up my jacket and the windbreaker and buried my hands into the pockets. Luckily Sat insisted on the windbreaker or else I would be freezing to death. It was very chilly up there.
The 2 golden retrievers are truly the unexpected highlight of the hike as they made the whole hike even more fun and happier. As most of us are dog lovers, we couldn’t stop calling their names, pat them, photograph with them, video them and even feed them food. Haha.
I fed the dogs with crackers that I brought along. Since the crackers broke into pieces, so I thought I should pour the crumbled crackers on the bench and let the dogs to lick them. Little did I know in the process of pouring, I shook the packet too hard that the crumbles fell on the dog’s nose tip. Poor dog couldn’t reach the crumbles.
Everyone laughed and teased me for ‘tricking’ dog into licking their own nose just to get the food. Lol.
One of the guides asked if we want to see the volcano crater and the hot spring, and guaranteed us an even more breathtaking view up there. Also, he told us that we could boil our eggs by dipping into the hot spring water for 5 min and then we could have our hard boiled eggs!
So, we asked where – and he pointed up!
That’s when everyone’s jaw literally dropped and unison-ly we said NOoooo!!!
From afar, we could see that there’s no way we could walk the super steep trail without having proper footwear. Especially Emily’s as hers totally open up while climbing halfway. Moreover the trail looks like one would immediately fall down the moment they start walking up. Lol.
But after awhile, two stronger men decided to give it a try. So we wished them LOTS LUCK and watched them making their journey up with 2 local guides. Could see that no long after they started ascending, the men quickly held on the guides for support. It must be very slippery then.
Our guides boiled eggs for us using stove instead of dipping the eggs into the hot spring as the hot spring water beside the small breakfast hut isn’t hot enough. Not long after that they passed us the eggs where I gladly took one to warm my hands first before peeling the shell off.
Eating the eggs on volcanic mountain reminded me greatly of the black egg I had in Japan. The only different is the one in Japan is cooked directly in sulfuric water source black (hence the shell turning black) while the one we had in Mount Batur is well, a normal egg!