After putting Gili Trawangan to our stern, it was quite the wet journey to the island of Lombok in order to trek the infamous Mt. Rinjani. We met three Canadians (Phil, Charles, and Alex) on Gili T and decided to trek the mountain together. The five of us set out on our journey boarding a small boat that would have to cross a deep channel in order to get to Lombok. The public boat full of 40 passengers and a pile of crates seemed quite flimsy compared to the 5 foot waves hitting the side of the boat. With a strong wind blowing, Mikey and I simple chose to sit on the wrong side of the boat. For 35 min we were constantly battered with wave after wave that flew over the front of the boat and into the cabin (if you would even call it that) completely soaking us head to toe. On top of all that, every big wave that hit the boat sent panic through the group. Screams and moans could be heard as the boat rocked back and forth sometimes filling up with a bit of water that spilled over the side! Thankfully, the eventful boat ride ended safely in Lombok and we were taken by car up to Senaru.
Senaru turned out to have some awesome waterfalls that ended up being a nice little warm up hike that evening. We got a nice long sleep to start our trek the following day.
When booking and planning this hike, I had told Mikey that since such a large amount of visitors hiked the mountain it couldn’t be THAT hard, even though the volcano towers at 3782 meters (12225 ft). Lets just say that I was eating my own words by the end of the trip!
The trek was a 3 day, 2 night adventure. Our group consisted of us five, plus a 26 year old guide named Saap and 3 porters. The porters carried two large baskets connected by a bamboo pole that held our food, kitchen supplies, tents, sleeping bags, mats, and water. The porters were greatly impressive carrying 66 pounds each and either wearing flip flops or no shoes at all! Not to mention that the porters beat us to the campsite and finish line on the 2nd and 3rd days.
The first day we drove to a town called Sembalun and started the 7 hour hike through a hilly, dusty grassland and finally climbing up to a large ridge on the edge of the crater that would be our campsite. Everyone was very tired at the end but feeling good and in high spirits. We didn’t realize that the first day was the easiest day of them all!
After a delicious dinner made by our guide and porters (the food was some of the best we have had on the trip!), we nuzzled into our sleeping bags only to be awoken at 2am.
In a haze we started the death march up to the summit of Mt. Rinjani to catch the sunrise. And let me tell you.. it was a dusty, loose, rocky, straight uphill battle for 3 hours. Finally, after contemplating retreat at times, we reached the summit just in time for sunrise. It was a balmy 30 degrees F ,which was bad enough without adding a 10 mph wind, quite the temperature change after being in 85 degrees just 8 hours before.
We headed down the mountain after sunrise and ate breakfast at our camp site, but as soon as the food was swallowed, 15 min later we were off again! Sap told us we had to keep on a schedule since today was the most brutal day of the three. We walked a total of 9 hours that day, hiking down the crater wall to a beautiful lake riddled with trash and dead fish and also a stream with large hot spring pools. The hot springs were a nice little break between hikes and offered the guys a nice 15ft cliff jump to take our minds off what was to come. Not wanting to move a step more we pushed on hiking the last hours straight uphill.This was the second death march to the opposite crater wall to set up camp. Everyone was a bit (to say the least) crabby after being up since 2 am. Mikey and I passed out at 6pm, not even able to stay awake to see the sunset.
SIDE NOTE: This is an amazing hike full of breath-taking landscapes but I was absolutely blown away by the amount of trash surrounding every inch of the trail and especially the camp sites. Food wrappers, water bottles, toilet paper EVERYWHERE! For me, I couldn’t believe how much of the beauty was taken away by all of the trash littering the landscape. We are so lucky to live in a place where people are taught not to litter and keep our shared landscapes clean!
The next morning we woke up dead tired and so completely sore! Every member of our party, except for the guide and porters, were hobbling around like 90 year olds trying to walk to their wheel chairs. We hiked the last 4 hours down through the jungle seeing monkeys, wild dogs, and the poor hikers just starting out on their journey.
I will eat my own words again! This trek was one of the hardest hikes we have ever done but what an experience! I’m safe to say we won’t be doing much more hiking any time soon!