Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Battling Mount Semeru Part 2

It is pitching black, it cold, it has sandy wind; I am tired, I’m hungry and I need a rest. I sit on a rock to catch my breath, to have a rest and to enjoy the night view. The lights shining from behind had lessen, either more people had given up or they are taking a rest as well. It’s kinda quiet and peaceful up here as well, though it seems kinda dangerous as well (as I am sitting on a steep slope of a sandy mountain). It seems less scary this time, as I was more afraid when climbing Mount Kinabalu. The stars are shining bright, and I can see some of the surrounding mountains. Again, I wonder why I was here again. Why do I choose to do such scary and difficult shit?

Looking Up

I continue climbing with Mei Ru in front of me. I feel better with her in front, so I can see her and make sure she is still there. Besides, I can catch some rest while she is climbing. Our progress is very slow, and making a lot of stop. I am feeling cold and tired, and worst of all, hungry.

Looking Down

Ocean of Clouds

One of the best parts of a climb is to reach the top in time for the sunrise. But I can see the sun is coming out at this very moment, and I still have a long way to go. Nevertheless, the morning sun is encouraging, and seems to be the source of energy (in some ways). It’s indeed beautiful, with a good mixture of gold and red colour, combined with ocean of clouds and surrounding green mountains. Mount Semeru does have a beautiful view, and you could only enjoy this kind of view up in the mountains. Though it’s a bit dry and dull up Mount Semeru, but the view is smooth and nice. So, as I was saying, we have to enjoy the morning sunrise while resting at the mid of the journey.

The Morning Sun

The day is getting brighter, but it’s still as cold. I am getting extremely hungry, and the growling stomach isn’t helping. I can hardly make 5-6 steps before catching my breath for at least 10 times. I guess I am exhausted, and the thin atmosphere isn’t helping as well. It’s now a game of consistency and repetition. I must take the same number of steps every time, and catch the same number of breath, and repeat this until I reach the top. Sadly, I end up catching more breath, taking fewer steps and sit more often on whichever rock I can find.

The Dragons of Mountains

The peak is not that far away, as I could see it. It’s just that my progress is way too slow. Mei Ru is getting further away from me, and the rest of the team eventually walk pass me. I am the last one. I know I am very slow, but I know I can make it (hopefully not too slow).

The sunshine is getting stronger, and people started to descent. I continue my slow journey, and each people pass by give me a few word of encouragement. The best is from Ah Seong, where he gave me a piece of cake. Haha, I am so hungry, it’s like the gift from heaven. I keep the cake for re-energized when I reach the top. I was almost there, just 20 more steps and Mei Ru is 5 meters in front of me. I still need to catch my breath and take the steps slowly. The only guide left up there to wait for me seems slightly impatient of my slowness, where he came down and gives me a hand to pull me up. I walk at the speed of light at the brief moment, haha.

The Champion

I eventually reach a large piece of flat land at the top, the peak, Mahameru. The first thing I do is to sleep on the ground. My batteries are totally flat; I can longer take an extra step. I slowly enjoy my cake, and I ask if the guide if he had any breakfast with him; he offered me an apple juice. Sugar drink, yeah! I take my 5 minutes break while Mei Ru wonder around to take photos and videos, and I am too tired to do those.

Double Champion

The peak is really much large than I had imagined, and I am too tired to explore every corner of it. I went for the volcano, but I was slightly disappointed as there was no lava in the crater (too much movies I guess). There are a lot of black soils, and it burst out an atomic ash clouds, which turns out to be very beautiful and scary at the same time. I felt that the ash clouds are gigantic and blowing towards us, but luckily the wind carry it away. The oceans of clouds and dragons of surrounding mountains are breathtaking nevertheless. Finally I made it, and I am not a quitter, haha. I feel great to be up there, for one reason or another. It’s not as if I had conquered the world or Mount Semeru, but I had conquered myself.

Atomic Ash Cloud

The journey down is a painful one. We have to do around an hour of sand gliding before reaching the jungle. I legs are weak, thus I keep falling down. Coming down is much easier as we don’t have to walk much, and it consumes a lot of strength on the feet as well, and it’s painful. I am all dusty, and I am in pain. After another hour of painful trekking through the jungle, Eddie came to congratulate us. Some people had already left the camp site around 8, where most left around 9. We reach around 10 plus, and luckily they still save us our breakfast, sandy noodle.

We quickly have our meal and change our cloth. We decide to pay the porter to carry our bag, as we are too beat up. It takes an hour plus to reach Ranu Kombolo, the lake. We walk with Eddie at a very relaxing pace, and had a few chit chat. Eddie is a Muslim who started his travel business after working in the hotel industry for 13 years. One thing we seem to agree on: after a while, we no longer work just for money, but to find a career we have passion for and are happy with it. But idea is one thing, how we carry it out is another. Eddie seems like a good person, guided by his principle and religion. After having our lunch at Kombolo, we still have to trek for about 3 hours to reach the village. My legs are numb when I finally walk on the tar road, and that could be one of the most beautiful journeys of my life, haha. Walking past the vegetable farm at noon in the mountains, while holding hands with my beloved one.

After talking a quick bowl of local mee, we take a 4WD to our next destination, the Lava View Lodge, to have a good dinner and nice rest.


meiru said...

On the way down from Mt. Semeru...

Me: How do u feel? Are u ok?
Des: I don't want to go hiking anymore!!!

After some time on the same day...

Wah Jie: How do u feel after conquering Mt. Semeru?
Des: I only want to go for luxury hiking trip!! hehe.. no more challenging one!

After some time again on the same day, some ppl mentioned climbing Batu Putih (a challenging one) during merdeka holiday ...

Des: Don't know if we got enough time to train up for Batu Putih or not le?
Me: ... :)

d_luaz said...

It's an unknown addiction to torture and enjoyment :p

Mich said...

muahhah, i'm thinking of lying down near the sea side and enjoying my life when i'm walking down.

meiru said...

when i m walking down, what i have in mind is my bed... i was damn sleepy in this hike. I just wanted to quickly go down and go to sleep. I was hoping to get back to the camp and catch some sleep before going out from the camp site.. hahhhaa....but too bad no chance.. kekkke...

yeah, without realising, we're addicted to hiking already.. hehee..

d_luaz said...

only through hardship, we know what is enjoyment.

sadly, it is only through sadness or difficulty that we know what is happiness.

no easy way out huh?

cHrIStine said...

you guys have a wonderful trip!!!

Thanks for your sharing.