The Rinjanians at crater lake

Imagine this: waking up to the view of a volcano’s crater lake, brushing your teeth along the river bank and washing your face under the blue blue sky and chilly wind. At this moment, life can never be better than this. Breakfast was delicious banana crepe with coffee, the mood was cheerful, we are on our 3rd day now.

Brushing teeth with the lake and the volcanos
Enjoying a cuppa
At our tents

Very delicious banana crepe

The trek itinerary states that we will set off to next campsite after lunch.  We can choose to either camp at Plawangan Senaru, Senaru crater rim (2,461m) or descend further into the sheltered forest at Cemara Lima.  We decided to go into the sheltered forest so that we can have a shorter trek on the last day.

Another group foto before setting off for Senaru Crater Rim

Another hard climb

Narrow.. careful!

Luckily Samon decided that we set off after breakfast because from the lake to Senaru crater rim was actually another 2 – 3 hours trek and is all the way up about 461m (the lake we are here is about 2,000m).  So at 1030am we packed up and started the trek for the day.  After a really tiring summit climb the previous day, we are all quite exhausted and now we got to tackle this almost like never-ending climb up big boulders, narrow trail up to yet another peak and at times we really gotta go down on all four.

Fried maggi mee and yes I finished it 😀

When finally at almost 2pm we reached Senaru Crater Rim at 2,461m.  The sun was blazingly hot and at the same time wind was strong.  This was the place for our lunch. Hot chocolate was offered here and fried maggi mee which for once I finished all! (yes Jel, I finished it, I doubt it for Zhix)  Guess I must be hungry from all the climb and zero appetite the last night.

Chris taking a nap after lunch

Fully geared to protect myself from the sun and sandstorm

History of Rinjani
There are actually treks to Senaru Crater Rim only and from here you will also catch amazing views of the baby volcano and crater lake  So for those who are not interested to summit and still want to be part of this wonder can choose the Senaru Crater Rim trek. Samon also told us a brief history of Rinjani.

The beautiful Anak Segara Crater Lake

Following excrept from Wikipedia:
The Rinjani caldera forming eruption is thought to have occurred in the 13th century. Eruption rate, eruption sites, eruptiion type and magmacomposition have changed during the last 10,000 years before the caldera forming eruption. The eruptions of 1994 and 1995 have presented at Gunung Baru (or ‘New Mountain’ – approximately 2300 metre above sea level) in the center of this caldera and lava flows from subsequent eruptions have entered the lake. This cone has since been renamed Gunung Barujari (or ‘Gunung Baru Jari’ in Indonesian).

The first historical eruption occurred in September 1847. The most recent eruption of Mount Rinjani was in May 2010 and the most recent significant eruptions occurred during a spate of activity from 1994 to 1995 which resulted in the further development of Gunung Barujari. Historical eruptions at Rinjani dating back to 1847 have been restricted to Barujari cone and the Rombongan dome (in 1944) and consist of moderate explosive activity and occasional lava flows that have entered Segara Anak lake. The eruptive history of Rinjani prior to 1847 is not available as the island of Lombok is in a location that remained very remote to the record keeping of the era.

On 3 November 1994, a cold lahar (volcanic mudflow) from the summit area of Rinjani volcano traveled down the Kokok Jenggak River killing thirty people from the village of Aikmel who were caught by surprise when collecting water from the river in the path of the flow.

In connection with the eruption of the cone Gunung Barujari the status for Gunung Rinjani has been raised from Normal (VEI Level 1) to ‘be vigilant’ (VEI Level 2) since May 2, 2009 . In May 2010 Gunung Rinjani was placed in the standby status by Center for Volcanology & Geological Hazard Mitigation, Indonesia with a recommendation that there be no activity within a radius of 4 km from the eruption at Gunung Barujari.

Rinjani erupted three times on May 22, 2010 with activity continuing until early on May 23. According to the volcano’s official monitoring agency, ash from Mount Barujari was reported as rising up to two km into the atmosphere and damaged crops. The volcano did not threaten villagers at that time. Lava flowed into the caldera lake, pushing its temperature up from 21°C to 35°C, while smoke spread 12 km.
On 27 April 2009 Gunung Barujari became active with activity continuing through to May 2009. The mountain was closed at that time as the eruptions intensified with plumes of smoke and ash as high as 8,000 m (26,250 ft). A Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI):2 rating was issued for the activity between 2 May 2009 and 20 December 2009. The activity during this period was described as having the characteristics:of central vent eruption, flank (excentric) vent, explosive eruption and lava flows.

The Forest Adventure
It took us another 1 & 1/2hrs through gentle stones trail, loose sand trail into the forest.  At first we thought we will reach the campsite again like 5pm, so it was sheer bliss when we reached at around 430pm.  Before we reached our campsite we saw badly burnt vegetations due to forest fire.  The campsite was a big clearing and infested with monkeys and Zhix with Mike were having a jolly good time proving to the monkeys who shall be the alpha male there (overdosed from The Planet of the Apes movie) thou one snarled and franked its sharp teeth at Zhix which think he still can’t get over it till now??!?

Guess who’s whose’s who

Wondering what’s that golden thingy we sat on? Suppose to be blanket to keep us warm (per Zhix) but ended up as floor mat for us.

In the night after dinner, time to finish up the Johnny Walker Whisky.  We had a round of toast with each others, guides and porters, it was truly worth a celebration.  From afar, we saw fire.. started burning, noted by Tony that it should not pose any threat to us, but still cautioned and advise us to pack our things just in case.

Toasting with 
The in the wild movie experience
Afterthat we went back to our tent as it was very very cold with wind blowing at us.  Well, it’s not even 9pm, some decided to gather at Jelyn’s tent to play Bridge while Zhix, Mike & Wz gathered at me & yin’s tent to watch movie.  Yes, Zhix brought with him his MP4 player and Mike carried up a speaker.  In total darkness of the tent we watched a Korean Movie “Hello Ghost” a show highly recommended by Chris and Zhix (who even checked to ensure all of us in the tent teared at the end of the show).  Yes, do watch it, hilarious and touching show. It was really an in the wild movie theatre experience for us completed with almost real surround sound from the speaker.  Thanks Zhix & Mike for the effort.

It was nearing 12am and time to get back to sleep. It was our last night in the wild so we had all wanted to have a good night sleep but things always do not happen the way you wanted it to.  It was total darkness in the tent, you can’t see your 5 fingers even if place just right before your eyes. My eyelids were heavy and almost falling off to sleep but I can feel yin’s restlessness. She could not get to sleep and kept asking why it was so bright outside the tent when it should be pitch dark. We could hear the wind howling eerily outside, on the right side of our tent, we could see orange illumination and seems like there’s quite a commotion outside but none of us got out of the tent to check out why. (Guess I am thinking wild of ghosts and monsters in the forest, after effect of watching ghost movie??)

The Forest Fire
It was after awhile that we heard Tony’s urgent but still calm voice “大家准备,火越来越近了。” (Everyone get ready, the fire is getting nearer).  Panic! Me and Yin started squashing all our belongings into the backpack (well, after the movie, we took out some items again), wear our shoes and ran out of the tent.  I must say, never in my life did my heart beat so fast, did I have such a panic, did I don’t know what I was suppose to do.  That’s why I always say should there be a disaster, I will be first to die.. 我的危机意识实在不够强烈。

Anyway, all of us were now standing outside, fully geared and our backpacks all thrown out of the tent, all ready to run for our life.  What had actually happened earlier was that, Wz had decided to go out of the tent to check out with our guide what happen as she also heard something and could not get to sleep.  You must know it was pitch dark in the forest and her tent was pitched facing the dark forest (unlike mine) so to get out of the tent was quite a challenged for a girl.  She walked over to where our guides/porters were soundly sleeping, after much effort, she managed to wake them up and conveyed her concerns. They then walked over to the fire site to see what was happening.

It was just about 50m away from our campsite, we saw fire, big forest fire, the wind brought the smoke along to our side. It was worrying, it looked like it’s coming our way.  I started imagining all of us, abandoned the tents and our big backpacks,  running down the unknown terrain ahead of us into the woods for don’t know how long while the fire burned and slowly caught up with us. My heartbeat was still very fast when wp “announced” that he needed to go toilet to do big business.. *3 crows flew past* but it somehow relieved me a bit.  Hey, I still had my friends here with me, I believed nothing will happen to us.  The guides/porters are here helping us too.  We waited patiently, some porters came back, saw our bags outside.. think they were secretly laughing at us..

For fire was just 50m away

Our guides came back to assure us and told us to go back to sleep, the wind is changing direction and they had cut away some vegetation so that the fire will not burn to our direction, so should not be any problem.  So all of us, reluctantly went back to our tent.. me and yin had wanted to just wear our shoes to sleep.. but it got quite numb after awhile that we gave up.. It was not easy to get back to sleep when you can still smell the smoke, hear the fire and the wind.. Finally at about 3+am, my eyes gave up, my ears shut down and I drifted off to sleep.

Yes, the exciting night ended with us all safe and sound and waking up early the next day for breakfast and getting ready to go at 8am.  Samon talked about the forest fire, he said if it got out of hand, they will call the ranger, helicopters will come to evacuate us, at that point I started to relate to the koala bears in Australia, like I was one of them cringing to the trees waiting for someone to save me when there’s a forest fire….

Forest fire

To Civilization
The trail down was familiar Bukit Timah Hill terrain, so we walked/ran at lightening speed that our guides were impressed as they had witnessed our slowness for the past 3 days. Along the trail, we saw people trekking up, can’t help it but to tell them good luck showing them our happiness that our trek are ending and yours just started look.. Oops.. (encountered some Singaporeans, said good morning and good luck to them but was rudely ignored.. bleah~~).  We also saw this black women sitting along the trail looking firecely at us.  Saras told us she was praying, don’t look at her, just walk.  Hmm.. of course I dare not look straight at her eyes fearing she may cast some black magic on me… blah… Before we knew it, we’ve reached Pintu Senaru  (Senaru Gate) for our lunch, another 20mins or so we will reach the Rinjani Trek Centre at Senaru where the vans will be there to pick us up to civilization.

Pure joy when we reach Pintu Senaru

Thanks to all, Samon, Saras and all the porters for carrying our stuff and cooking us delicious meals

Funny! (Hee, saw this when going up Senaru Crater Rim)

It was really an unforgettable trek and till now I am still savoring over the sweet success of reaching Rinjani summit, the excitement, the adventure and also the very hyper and enthusiastic trekking friends, YOU!!  I must say, this was one of the best trek I had so far although the trek was the most difficult (not that I’ve climb many). Great memories started few months ago when we all gathered for our first weekly Saturday’s Bukit Timah training making me always looking forward to Saturdays and the frequent posting on our Rinjani group FB by our hyper trekkers..  Thanks all for participating in the weekly training (even bringing along friends, showing off new trekking gadgets every now and then.. you know who), thanks all who brought along great entertainment (a touch of civilization in the wild) and thanks all for being here with me for the trek.  I would love to trek with you guys again and again (but of course not Rinjani again). Till the next trek. Cheers!

~ End ~