Category Archives: Mountain Trekking。登山远足

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~~ Edmund Hillary. 登山与远足的行程和感触所写的小篇章。

Trekking in Tasmania

What to do in Tasmania? A nature wonderland with its many national parks and reserves, what’s more to enjoy and experience the natural beauty in Tasmania? Take your time and explore with your own two feet. National parks, reserves and conservation, some just within few minutes drive from the city. For nature or trekking lovers like me, we are spoit for choices when in Tasmania. What treks to do? The treks ranged from the easy to the difficult, day treks to multiple days overland track. Oh no.. how to choose?

So wanted to do the famed overland track but it can take us 5-6 days. For our short 1 week stay in Tasmania, we settled for the following short treks instead.

Dove Lake circuit and Marion lookout

Located in Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park. The Dove Lake circuit trek is a 6 km track (about 3 hours walk) which is board-walked most of the way beneath the towering Cradle Mountain. This is also one of the most popular walk for visitors here. One of the highlights from this trek got to be the stunning Ballroom Forest. It was really like entering into another world, like an enchanted forest! The husband also spotted a wombat while doing the trek, but it vanished  very quickly into the woods as we tried to have a better look of it!

Before we walked the circuit, we decided to side-track to the Marion Lookout first. Graded medium to hard, the trek involves some very very steep sections. Some parts required you to be on all four to climb up, the walk down is therefore not easy too! However it is totally worth it when you reach the top. Magnificent view of Cradle Mountain and the lakes. The trek will take about 3 hours.

Wineglass Bay and Hazards Beach Circuit

This is a 11 km circuit trek located in Freycinet National Park.  From the main car park, we trekked up to the Wineglass Bay Lookout. Fantastic views of Mount Freycinet and Wineglass Bay. To get to the Wineglass Bay beach, you can only head downhill towards Wineglass which the trail is defined by many steep sections. So steep is the trail that I told the husband I rather walk the longer Hazard Beach circuit to go back to the car than to climb this back up to the car park!

Wineglass Bay beach is awesome. Crystal clear blue sea, clean white sandy beach. Oh no, but the water was oh so cold~~~. Many people still braved the cold and jumped into the sea. How I wish I had my swimming gear with me! Well, we still rolled up our pants and ran into the water letting the cold water refreshed our tired legs. Shioks!

After much fun at the beach, we continued on towards Hazards Beach. The trail took us across the national park along the isthmus via a flat track. About 45 minutes later, we reached Hazards Beach. We had wanted to enjoyed our packed sandwiches on this beach, but alas.. nothing like the Wineglass beach. The beach here was filled with seaweeds washed ashore and many many flies… Haiz.

Well, it’s past noon, we decided to do a quick lunch and continued on. The trail here, along the beautiful coastline of the Great Oyster Bay, climbs gently uphill towards the car park (about 6 km). Certain areas are exposed so remember your sunblock and hat.

Mount Field National Park

Mount Field National Park is Tasmania first national park and is located just over 1 hr drive from Hobart. A diversity of landscapes and plants, from tall forests and waterfalls at the lower sections to the glaciated mountains, lakes of the highlands.

Did short walks to the Russell Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Tall Trees Circuit. These are all easy walk which can be done within 30-45mins each.

 Cataract Gorge

A natural wonder only 15 minutes walk from the city centre of Launceston. There’s a free out swimming pool which opens from November to March, the world’s longest single-span chairlift and 2 walking tracks that straddle the gorge.

Visiting national parks in Tasmania requires you to purchase park entry fees. Money raised from the park entry fees goes towards the upkeep of the parks and reserves. As we visited quite a few national parks, we decided to purchase the 8 weeks vehicle pass for A$60/- (Note: Pass per vehicle per day cost A$24/-). Once purchased, remember to place the pass face up on the dashboard of the vehicle, we blur blur just keep it with us and received a summon ticket 😛

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Climbing Mount Hallasan in Jeju, South Korea

Hallasan, located on the southernmost island of the Korean Peninsula Jeju, stands at 1,950m above sea level and it’s the tallest mountain in South Korea. Hallasan was an active volcano until 25,000 years ago. The area of Hallasan was designated a national park in the 70s and become a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in December 2002.
View of Hallasan from my flight from Seoul to Jeju
You do not need a guide to climb Hallasan as the trail is well-marked and well-maintained. Entrance is free. Hallasan mountain climbing is restricted to single day climbs and climbers need to adhere to the trail access time limit.
There are a few trails at Hallasan national park but only 2 trails lead to the summit – Seongpanak trail (9.6km) and Gwaneumsa trail (8.7km). We decided to do the Seongpanak trail which starts from the Seongpanak Visitor Centre at 750m above sea level, passes 2 shelters and continues up to Hallasan Baengnokdam Lake summit. A one-way hike will take approximately four and half hours.
Entrance of the Seongpanak trail
It was drizzling on the day of our climb. Luckily it stop when we started our climb at 730 am. When we were at the Visitor Centre we saw the locals all fully geared for the climb. The 5 ya-ya Singaporeans looked really under dressed for the occasion and even thinking the locals are so over dressed for a walk in the park.
Drizzling at Seongpanak Visitor Centre
Hallasan is definitely no walk in the park! Thou as compared to Yushan, I would think Hallasan is still easier as the trail’s slopes are mostly gentle, only the slippery rocks make the climb tiring.
Gradual ascent. No sweat… YET!
Still no sweat… YET! Haha
It was mid-November and autumn at Hallasan! While the gloomy sky continued to threaten us on possible heavy downpour, the array of autumn red, orange and yellow greeted us at the Seongpanak trail entrance. Most of the trail is wooded while the rest are rocks. The rocks made very good foot reflexology!!
Autumn red, orange, yellow.. Niceee!
The trail is very well marked and getting lost is almost impossible. There are spring water along the trail for quenching one’s thirst. The 1st shelter is the Sokbat shelter. There’s a toilet there but gosh the smell of it really put me off. The next stop is Saraoreum (volcanic crater), a look-out point which suppose to provide a stunning view of Sanjung Lake. We went to the look-out point on our way down.. no lake, all dried up.
Sokbat shelter
Sanjung Lake all dried up.
Well-marked trail with the red ribbon
Trail maker to tell you how far more…
After Saraoreum, the next and last shelter will be Jindallaebat (1500m). You have to reach Jindallaebat by 12 noon during the Winter season in order to be allowed to continue on to the summit. At Jindallaebat shelter, there’s drinks and cup noodles for sale. Eating cup noodles after the climb in the cold weather was damn shiok! Instantly warmed your body.
Reminding you to reach Jindallaebat shelter by 12 noon
Jindallaebat shelter
I felt the climb from Jindallaebat shelter to the summit is the hardest. Mostly rocks, slippery after the rain made climbing up more difficult and tiring especially since we were at higher altitude. When nearing the summit, there are wooden planks as stairs. It was freezing cold and the wind was very strong. I have to couch low in order not to be blown away. Kenn on seeing my unsteady footing due to the cold wind had to rush to my side to shelter and stop me from being blown off. It was that bad.
Sweat… the challenge starts now
When we finally reached the crowded summit, it was just white and nothing except people and people. No view at all. It was very foggy and the whole place was frosted! So damn windy and cold that I don’t feel like moving at all. We had our celebratory soju and rush over to take the mandatory shot with the summit marker and off we head down from the summit. Some people took the Gwaneumsa trail down but since our car was parked at Seongnapak Visitor Centre, we took the same route back.
Foggy and frosted at the summit
Crowded
The descent was another challenge. As the rocks were still slippery, we took cautious steps as we head down. Along the way we were greeted with the occasional sun but after Sokbat shelter, it started to rain again, no.. it was actually hailstorm.
At 430 pm, we reached Seongnapak entrance and thus ended our 9 hours Hallasan climb expedition. It was a nice climb with mostly gentle slopes. The rocks can be a challenge especially during wet weather and I am glad that I brought along my trekking pole. I would highly recommend all to climb Hallasan when you next visit Jeju!

Trekking @ Bintan

My legs has been feeling restless for quite awhile. My legs must be bored.. yes.. my dear legs need some mountain therapy! So where? One that is relatively easy (like the one in Hong Kong), don’t need Bukit Timah training (since it’s closed now), can be done within a day and near Singapore?

Let’s go to Bintan and hike up their highest – Gunung Bintan at 370 metre above sea level and after the climb we can relax at a nice beach resort and get a cheap and good massage! Best still, it’s just 45 minutes ferry ride from Singapore! Sounds real good ya!

Too lazy to do research, we decided to just book the trek through www.welcomtobintan.com with a guide and transfer to and back to resort. S$40 per pax which is actually quite expensive!

We went Bintan during the Hari Raya Haji long weekend. To save time, we decided to do the trek in the afternoon right after we arrived in Bintan. On that Saturday morning at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, the weather started to turn bad. Overcast sky and as we board the 9+am ferry, it started to pour.. very very heavy rain.

Luckily for us, when we reached our resort, the rain stopped and we were able to proceed with the trek. The car came to pick us at 130 pm and after a brief stop for lunch at a roadside stall for nasi padang, we reached the starting point of the trek.

Trekking map on Gunung Bintan

Although just 370 metre high, it is not really that easy to trek especially after the heavy rain. The estimated trekking time for round trip is about 2 hours, as such to cover 370 metre in less than an hour, the terrain must be quite steep.

We started from the Hunting area (stated on the map above) and ended at the waterfall side. Some people start from the waterfall side too.

Tropical rainforest. Muddy terrain after the rain

Steep and muddy terrain. As the trail gets steeper, you will see ropes along the way to aid people in hiking up. Really thanks to the ropes, otherwise I really don’t know how to climb up the slippery trail especially I don’t have trekking poles with me.

Our guide looking ahead. Still some way to go!

After about 45 minutes of trekking, we reached the summit! There’s a little hut and a tower at the summit. No views here. You will have to climb up the tower in order to get a nice view of the sea.

Finally! The summit!

Think the tower can’t take the weight of too many people, so better go up one at a time. Some of the planks on top were already loose and may break any time!

Looking down from the tower.
View from the tower. Not bad lah.

After staying at the summit for about 15 minutes, we trekked down from the other side towards the waterfall. More ropes and rocks awaited us. We had to trek down slowly, get our feet steady. The rocks and trails were so slippery that some of us slipped and fall, but luckily nothing serious.

More ropes and rocks on the way down
Waterfall

30 minutes later, we reached the waterfall and that’s the end of the trek.

Time to head back to the resort, wash up and relax for the next 2 days!

Photo credits: Kenneth Boey

CLIMB @ Hong Kong 香港健行记

Yes, Hong Kong is not just a place for yummy food and crazy shopping. This densely urbanized country do have much more to offer to nature lovers.

What’s a trip without trekking (ok… just to me and my trekking kakis)??

“Let’s just go for a short trekking that is not too “siong”, ok?”

Sure! After much research, we decided on the Dragon’s Back Trail in the Shek O County (石澳). It promises a relatively easy trek for beginners with stunning 270 degree scenic view of Shek O, Tai Long Wan (大浪湾), Stanley (赤柱), Tai Tam, and the South China Sea.

Click here for the trail and how to go.

Magnificent view from the top

香港给大家的印象便是美食与购物天堂,谁会想说香港也有山可爬?

其实香港地形属多陡坡崎岖多山,而大约40%的占地面积是被预留为国家公园和自然保护区。香港最高的山峰是位于香港新界荃湾区和元朗区交界的大帽山,海拔958米。

当然,此次并没打算攀爬最高峰,只想为香港行增添些许不一样的回忆。

看了看旅游指南的介绍,就决定了港岛径第八段中的 “龙脊” 路段。曾被国际杂志誉为亚洲第一径的「龙脊步道」,以270度的无敌海景闻名于世。资料上是这么说着: “位于香港东南端鹤嘴半岛的山脊步道,是一条轻松易行的步道。走在”龙背”之上,香港南岛风情一览无遗,石澳与赤柱半岛的蜿蜒海岸线是这步道的视觉焦点。”

See the route we trek through?

As we went during the summer (June) the temperature was a scorching high of 33 degree, which although was the same as in Singapore, but as the trail was not covered by trees, so you will be exposed to the sun throughout the trek, thus it’s really better to go during the autumn time when it will be cooler.

I still don’t understand what they meant by “1Km 1hr”
Start of the trail
Gentle slopes

虽然真的很热,可是我还是很享受这样很没压力的远足。空气清新偶有凉风吹过,带来丝丝凉意。这条山路与我们的Bukit Timah Hill相比起来我还觉得Bukit Timah Hill稍微吃力点。要不是天气热得真的太过了,这 “龙脊” 步道是个相当轻松的远足。 建议大家不妨来走走,为你的香港行添些不一样的回忆。

The view halfway up the summit
Not much shelter from the plants, so it got real hot!
Well maintained trail
It’s the summit after this 😀
The summit at 284m above sea level

来到了山顶,虽然也没走很久,被热浪侵蚀的我们却是疲倦的。石头,木椅都已被太阳照得烫热,想坐下来休息都不行, 还是快快拍了照走人!

A panorama view from the summit
After the summit, towards the other side Tai Long Wan

另一头是往大浪湾方向,不知还有多远的路。而由于朋友已被太阳折磨得快不行了所以决定走回起点的路。下山的路虽然会比较快些,但因为必须绕山而走,又逢正午所以脚步也不知觉的越来越慢了。也不知走了多久终于到了也赶紧跳上冷气巴士下山去。

If there’s a chance again for me to trek Dragon’s Back, will definitely pack in my swimming barangs and walk towards Tai Long Wan for a dip in the sea after the trek!

The path is shared between the cyclist and the trekkers
Kudos to the cyclist who cycle up.. really not easy

Along the way there’s bountiful of plants and flowers…

The Arduous Trek – Gunung Rinjani (Part 4)

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)



Epilogue
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 ~

The Arduous Trek – Gunung Rinjani (Part 3)

Another Ordeal
After about 30 mins of celebration on the mountain peak amidst the strong wind howling at us and the strong sun smiling at us, we gathered to start our descent. Tony offered us tips on the best way to go down the steep and loose stone trail. Slowly skid down and either position your feet sideway or using your heels to stop further sliding whenever required.

Steep loose rocks trail — this was the tough climb up 
Yin skiing 

Another shot of the baby volcano

Calm…

It sounded easy to just skid, like skiing! But whenever you are hit with bigger stones along the way, you may just lost your footing and fall forward. If you slide down too fast and lost control, you may end up in the wrong place and be gone…..

Anyway, I still had a great time skiing down (so much easier than climbing up). Thou after sometime, it actually got a bit tiring and especially straining on my knee, because there’s much jerking on the poor knees when trying to stop sliding.

Take a break, have a shot

Thou we were walking the same trail as we came up earlier, but it was dark then, now is daylight, halfway down the trail we did not really know where to go. Some trails split into 2 way, when we walked to one we found ourselves stuck and got to turn back. Funnily, all the while I thought Samon was ahead of us and already back to camp and I was still cursing why he was so not reliable… but after some wasted time getting lost, we saw Samon behind us!!! All the while he was with Tony and Wz.. oops… so sorry, Samon…

Some Big Businesses
Oh, another thing worth a mention now that I read Jelyn’s Rinjani blog. Well, in one of our wrong turn moment, Zhix, Mike and myself went down this little edge trying to find our way back. When we realized it’s the wrong turn, we will need to climb back up. While searching for the best position and footing to climb up, I saw soiled toilet paper near the bushes.. urgh… luckily I did not see anything else.. well.. from Jelyn’s blog, I come to know that wp had, with the help from Tony found a secluded place to do his business this early morning at the start of our summit climb.. hmm.. so was that his???

Anyway, when we were almost reaching our camp area, we did a wrong turn again and ended up at a “public” toilet area littered with toilet paper.. luckily, see no evil, smell no evil…

It felt great to be back at the campsite.  I was soooo dirty, covered with dust.. water was offered to wash our hands and face. Breakfast was also served and we rewarded ourselves with a can of coke.. Yes, there’s a mini “store” near our campsite selling tibits, biscuits and can drinks… well the coke cost IDR 20,000, while later at the foot of the mountain, it only cost IDR6,000…

Day 2 Sembalun Crater Rim -> Segara Anak Lake
It was about 11am when our guide (can’t remember who) came and asked if we want to set off now to the crater lake (our day 2 campsite) and have lunch there, it will take 2hrs.  We were tempted to go since we just had breakfast, but then, we remembered their rubber timing and the slowness in preparing food, we decided to have lunch first than set off.  Well, we did the right decision, as it was a challenging trail from Sembalun crater rim to the Segara Anak Lake, steep and narrow rocky trail.  I recalled Mr Wayang’s briefing to us on the 1st day that it was a dangerous trail… We went slowly, any trail that was slippery or dangerous, those in front will shout to the back to look out. I was lucky that my knee did not protest (or not yet?) thus I was able to control my footing quite well during this trail. From here we can actually see tents pitched over at the crater lake, seemed so near, yet it took us 3 hours to reach there.

Segara Anak Lake

The toilet tent

My 1st impression of Segara Anak Lake — a big dumping ground. Really, litter everywhere, crowded with tents as well.  I must say our porters were great to get us a quieter place for our campsite.  This time, we had a supervisor for the toilet tent.  Wz took the initiative to tell them to dig a deeper hole and have more soil near the hole so that we can use to cover our “business” after use.  Thanks Wz!  The hole at our 1st day camp toilet was quite shallow and no soil to cover, so… you know what you will see..

Ok, it was getting dark soon, I must go to the hotspring! This was the hi-light for the trip.  I yearned for the nice warm water to sooth my tired legs and also to wash myself off the sweat and dirt from the 2 days of hard trekking.  Apparently, not many people were interested.  In the end it’s me, yin, rachel and Chris  intending to dip in the hotspring while wp wanted to just dip in his legs, mike and Tony to take photo.  Saras told us there’s no changing room there (actually what he meant was to hide behind a big rock and change) so we did not bring clothes to change just towel.  Chris decided to just bring his whole dry bag there.  Rachel was more prepared with clothes to change and keep warm.

The main pool was crowded so Saras brought us to another pool, more secluded.  The water was so soothing and so inviting that in the end wp, Mike & Tony all joined us in the pool.  Swimming, floating and Tony even demostrated a mini rock climb there.  Haa, way to go, Tony!

The secluded hotspring

Enjoying the warmth

Night fall, time to get out of the pool and run back to camp in dripping wet clothes! (it’s a 20 mins walk thru the woods).

Dinner for the night was Nasi goreng.  All (except zhix – who despise carbo-loading but loves pasta !!??!? and me) finished all or most of the rice.  I don’t know why I don’t have much appetite that night, the food was tasteless to me.  Sigh.  We also open up the Johnny Walker Whisky.. a big bottle (750ml) yup it was being carried up by the porter/guide for us.  We started to get crazy and kept toasting Tony (using belated birthday as reason) so he drown down 3 shot glasses of Whisky and funnily stayed quite awake for the night.

As we were by the lake, it started to get quite chilly, so it’s off to bed early today especially when we’ve been up since 1+am and been walking for like 10 hours…. Zzzz….

p/s: some of us was being awaken by some commotion during the night at about 2am.  Nobody went out to see what happen, only heard from the tent.  Just heard people running past our tent shouting.. … Were they trekkers starting an early trek? or… ??

~ to be continued ~

The Arduous Trek – Gunung Rinjani (Part 2)

Day 2 Rinjani Summit!!! 
Surprisingly, everyone was up and ready at 130am! All the “see how tomorrow” were gone overnight.. haha.. but, but, but…  our guides were not ready! I’ve been awake since 1am, just lying down in the tent waiting for morning call from our guides but in vain… we decided to show ourselves to them by coming out of the tent and stand around in the cold…
 

All ready to go..

At about 2am, we saw a large troop from other camps walking past our tents towards the start of the summit. Us? waited for another good 15mins or more before we were served coffee and sugar crackers.. simple but I must say it’s divine at that moment.. Finally, our summit trek started at 250am.

The Start of the Ordeal
In single file, we walked quietly, following closely behind Samon. It was soft loose soil at the start and it’s always up and up.  I did not get to look around the surrounding, just concentrating my every steps. Occassionally we stop to catch our breathe and to wait for the rest to catch up. After an hour or so, Samon stopped and told us the hard part was over, it will be gentle slopes before we hit the really difficult summit trail.

Still we continued quietly, the road up was winding in a way, narrow path with big rocks.  People overtook us along the way.. well, no hurry for us.  My target for the moment was to reach the big rocks which Audrey mentioned that they hide there first for sunrise before hitting summit.  Ok, there’s many big rocks around that I don’t really know which was which.. At some rocks, we saw trekkers and their guide hiding (guess they don’t intend to summit), there’s even a couple sleeping in foetus position at one of the big rock..

Tired-looking Chris vs enthusiastic Tony

As we got higher, the wind got stronger.  My pace started to slow down, I am panting really hard.. Than before I knew it, the path opened to the rocky part of the summit climb.  It was loose big stones all the way and looked really steep (think was like 45 degree??) Every 3 steps I took, I will slide down 2 steps. Tiring.. no matter how much steps I took, I am still very far away from some of my friends and Samon.

The group

In the east, nice red-orange hue lined the horizon, it’s nearing 6am and it’s still a long long way to the summit (erm.. I actually can’t see where’s the summit from here).  After about 30mins of hard climb, I finally met up with the rest who with Samon were all resting by a big rock resting, eating orange, biscuits.  The sun peek out from the clouds, blazingly smiling brightly at us.  It’s about 300m elevation to the summit from here. From afar, we can see Mt Agung (Bali) standing tall. We stayed there for quite awhile, watching intently at the beautiful sunrise and we decided to take a group photo here with the Singapore flag we brought along.

Sunrise!

View of Mt Agung from Rinjani

The Final Push
The sun had risen, the path is so clear to us now. Of course, the path up was still steep with loose big stones, it was very narrow at some point that only 2 people can stand side by side.  A wrong steps to either side, you will either fall to death at the forest or at the crater lake….  Tony was now urging everyone to start the final push to the summit.  Yes, better start now, if not I don’t think I want to do it anymore.

Arrgh… the stones here seems to be looser than before? I just kept sliding down, sometime I can’t even stand properly.  It did not help with the strong wind howling at us.  Worst, some inconsiderate trekkers coming down from the summit just zoom past us… can’t they have the courtesy to just stop or slow down when sliding pass us?  Whenever they slide past me, the impact of the wind was so great that i just swayed to the side.. the sand storm they created sometime blind me as well… $#*$@&%@

Top view of baby volcano aka Barujari

Finally, I reached another rest point (another rock) where Tony was standing there resting and waiting for us.  From his watch, it’s another 260m away. When I looked up, it seemed a mirage.. is it for real, it looked so near yet so far.. Tony encouragingly told us, that massive rocks up there is the summit, let’s buck up!

Hitting Summit
I am already physically drained by now. Fatigue started to crawl in, my every steps became redundant, I don’t seems to be moving at all..  it’s really mind over body now, I not going to give up now, not when I am already so near (really??).. I started to run, yes.. run about 6-7 steps up, thou still slide down about 2 steps, but at least I achieved a 5 steps increment.  Yes, this seemed to work for me, after the sliding back, I will just stop and pant hard with the 2 trekking poles supporting me than start over again.  Before I knew it, I reached the massive rocks and Tony did not bluff me, it’s really the summit!

I continued on, saw 2 trekkers coming down, said hi.. than I am out in the open again, I saw Samon stretching out his hand, I walked faster to him and gave him a high 5!  I’ve reached! I’ve reached the summit! Gosh! it was 750am and I am at Rinjani Summit!  I walked further in, taking in the beautiful sight infront of me.. I can feel the tears at my eyes.. gosh.. this was really surreal, I felt the adrenaline rush.. no words can better describe how I felt at that moment standing high at the summit especially after such a painful climb up….

The 6 who finally reach the summit. Well done all!

It was funny actually, other than Samon and myself, there was nobody in sight.  Where’s the rest of the trekkers who had earlier overtook us?  Did they not make it to the summit? I don’t recalled many people coming down while I tried to go up. Anyway… by than Yin, Mike, Zhix, Wz and Tony arrived with the triumphant and relieved grin on their faces.  Especially Zhix & Mike, they were really enjoying by becoming cam-whore at the summit.  Oh, oh… and thanks to Zhix & Mike for carrying up the Soju and shot glasses, who all had a celebratory toast at the summit… Cheers!

I love this photo of Zhix & Mike :p

My battered shoes
~ to be continued ~