Mt. Rinjani

I spent a week on Gili Air and I feel it was exactly what I needed, saltwater, sand and sun. I met up with Alina- who I met in Pai, Thailand- and a few of her friends. We traveled to Lombok together on a mission to hike Mt. Rinjani. Arriving in Sanur, Lombok hoping to find a hostel to sleep at and a guide to hire for the hike we discovered that the entire town was booked up because of a Ultra-Trail run. The town was full of people from all over the world getting ready to run 52 miles up to the top of Mt. Rinjani and back down. They would begin in the dark at 10pm. Luckily we found a very nice man named Somu who opened up a room in his own home for all 5 of us to share. This was quiet the experience within itself. The room had one bed, that three of us shared, a matress on the floor for the other two, and a squat toilet with no shower. Although, when I asked about a shower he pointed at the cemet filled tub of water that is used to pour down the toilet (their version of flushing). Its moments like this I am reminded of the luxuries I was raised with and that a shower (that I am used to) is very much so a luxury. Anyway,  he runs a tour company but his homestay was full with runners. We got our guide hired and everything figured out and were able to relax for a bit. Somu, his wife, mother, and son brought us tea and Ramadan snacks. It was incredibly neat to have this experience. He shared he has been running his business for 25 years. His grandson was going to be our guide. Though we had to haggle a bit for prices on things he was overall a very generous man that helped us tremendously. The next morning before sunrise we all awoke and headed out to breakfast. Our hike began somewhere around 8 or 9am. We all began with high spirits and energy, which really didnt fade as we had to keep each other motivated to push forward. This hike though, let me just tell you, was one of the hardest if not physically hardest things I have ever done. Ever. I am struggling to find words to begin to describe this experience. Our porters (locals who carry our stuff on bamboo sticks and hike either barefoot or in flip flops while smoking) had taken off ahead of us. We eventually all met at base camp two where we had lunch. This hike though, is a continuous up hill battle. There is not a point where the ground evens out and you walk flat, we were continuously climbing the entire time. We stopped and had lots of snacks and the porters bring burners and gas and food to cook us wholesome meals- rice, eggs, vegetables, soup, coffe. They dont serve us sandwiches and chips and granola bars. That was pretty interesting to observe and figure out why bring all the cooking stuff. But thats how they do it here. Eventually we all kind of broke off in our own pace, and each base camp was like an ahhhhhhhchievement. Watching the locals run up and down this mountain in flip flops with cigarettes hanging out of their mouth blew my mind. We also were able to witness the first and well all of Ultra marathon finishers and cheer them on. I can tell you that as I climbed, and my muscles became worn, and the heat was disturbing- my feet were swelling and blistering-my mind continued to repeat “you can do this, you are capable, you are strong.” I mean once we started, stopping and turning around really became no option. Imagine if that was like everything in life, imagine if everything we tried-started-or wanted to do was like climbing a mountain. You begin, and it would actually hurt more to stop and turn around. Imagine all of the things we could accomplish! When finshing becomes my only option, the mindset I have begings to change. I can do this, I will do this, not try. “Do or do not, there is no try”-Yoda

                           The view from Sanur, Lombok at the base of Mt. Rinjani

This is on of the 3 porters that carried our stuff. 
After about 7 hours of climbing, even rock climbing at the very end, I made it to the rim of the crater. 2,639 meters or 8658 feet elevation gain  This was the hike we had done instead of the summit to do time constraints. The summit is 1000m higher than the rim. I am damn happy with having done the rim, and will be back to conquer the summit some day! 
A Volcano within a volcano…

Eventually we all met at the rim with smiles and cheers of accomplishment and pride. Our porters and guide were shortly behind us with their 40 kilos of bamboo sticks they each carried. The view of the crater was breath taking- A turquois lake with another volcano inside the lake. We watched the sunset and the clouds roll in and out. As the clouds rolled in their was a point where you couldn’t see anything around and then as quickly as they rolled in, they rolled out again.I felt like I was sitting on top of the world, the pride, the joy, the beauty that surrounded. I was connected with nature in an entire new way and seeing the beauty of mother nature with great appreciation. I was also dead tired, and about to have the worst night of sleep I have ever had in my life. I think anyways. As I am a backpacker, I didnt pack much warm clothes for sleeping on top of a volcano with. I had some long pants, a long shirt, and a old tattered jacket I had rented from Sumo. Julianne (a woman who joined us for the hike whom we all quickly became good friends with) and I shared a tent. I am pretty sure neither of us really slept, it was freezing cold, and incredibly uncomfortable. I think I just laid there with my eyes clothes praying for morning. Morning came, we had banana pancakes and set out on our trekk back down this volcano. Coming down was not nearly as mentally challenging but almost more physically challenging. We got down in about 2 or 3 hours, covered in dirt and sweat. My legs we near the point of collapsing, we basically ran down the mountain. The pressure it puts on your knees and thighs coming down makes going slow worse than jogging down. But nevertheless, we made it off that volcano! I would highly recommend this experience, I would go as far to say that one should do the summit if they have the time and money (it costs a bit more and is 4 or 5 days). The sunset, sunrise, view, and overall experience is one that I could never imagine forgetting. I am grateful to have such an experience that pushed me physically, mentally, and spiritually connected me with mother nature. I can say I hiked the second highest volcano in Indonesia, and if you know Indonesia, you know its full of volcanos! I cannot seem to find out how many miles or kilometers we hiked total. But I can tell you my legs hurt for 5 days after this hike, and though I have not been working out like I did back home or running like I used to, I am in fairly good shape for trekking and what not. This was brutal on my legs- though I did not stretch and that is my fault. More than anything the view, defeating my negative thoughts and the sense of accomplishment made it all worth it.
All of us at the rim

The sunset above the clouds

Our tea time and Ramadan snacks made with love by Sumo’s family

The sun loved the moon as so it would disappear each night so the moon could shine bright

Sunrise ❤

Blissfuly yours,
Alicia

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