As I’ve developed my passion for hiking quite recently, there are still plenty of mountains on my list. I hiked mountains one Malaysia and volcanoes in Indonesia, and while o enjoy both, the scenery was always super stunning (and the weather was better!) in Indonesia (judging from the experiences I’ve had).
Naturally, Mount Rinjani made it to the top of my list! Why you may ask? The photos were pretty self explanatory and I wanted a real challenge. It would become my first 2 day hike.
My first question was whether to book a tour or go on my own. I love being my own boss and to decide everything by myself, but in this case I chose to rely on one of the plenty tour agencies that offer their service. Since I was by myself, I didn’t want to carry all my camping equipment, food and clothes up this very very tall mountain myself. Plus, renting a tent, hiring a guide and arranging transportation is also expensive without a tour.
I’d like to review the service of my tour agency here as well, because it was an essential part of my trip. I chose to book with Lune Rinjani, mainly because they offered all of the services the other tours offered too and they were reasonably priced. They answered all of my e-mails very fast and they even checked with me one day before I would arrive in Lombok. At the airport, the driver picked me up and brought me to Senaru, where all the other tour organizers are located as well. The first night is part of the package and I stayed in a nice little room of a honestly. It was basic, but clean and the bed was really comfy! That night, Lune explained me the detailed itinerary of the trip, so I always knew what to expect during the hike. Due to a cancellation I was grouped with another group and they didn’t seem to have the same background knowledge as I had. My team members were really nice though and I really enjoyed hiking together with them.
As part of the package, we had an English speaking guide and 2 porters who carried the camping equipment, the additional water and the food. They even set up the tent and cooked us delicious meals! It was quite the glamping experience. At this point I have to emphasize my admiration for the guide and the porters. They hike up there up to 2 times a week and all the stuff the porters carry is so heavy, normal people cannot even lift it, but they jump around with it as if they’re part mountain goat!
On the first day, we hiked up until the crater, which took us 6 hours in total including a lunch break. 3 hours were kind of easy and 3 hours were more tough, as the steepness of the slope increased a lot. At the campsite we were lucky to enjoy the nice view of the lake and the sunset. In the 3D2N package it is possible to go to the lake and the hot springs, but I only booked a 2 night package.
The 2nd day is tougher than the first day. We woke up at around 2 o’clock to have a light breakfast and started our hike – summit attack. It already started with some nasty path that was quite difficult to walk on. Secondly, it got colder and colder with every meter we got up. It is common knowledge to have cooler temperatures in higher altitude, but at 3o’clock at night, walking a steep slope, it hits you much harder. The closer we got to the summit, the windier it got. Additionally, the ground became more gravely and dusty, so that you would sink back 1 step after taking 2. That is incomparably frustrating at 5 o’clock in the morning. It was so difficult to balance on this ground with the storm pushing against me and my hands as a reflex swooping back into my pockets because it was too cold to keep them outside. I hadn’t even made it half way (from the slippery part til the top) and it was still dark, many people chose to turn around and not see the sunrise from the top. I decided to move on, but with every step I had to convince myself harder that I really want to reach the summit. Once I took a small rest at a not so windy place and a woman sat next to me crying. I felt incredibly frustrated too since the damn summit didn’t even seem to come closer! Slowly it became brighter and I was still quite far away from the top. I comforted myself by thinking that it’s not a defeat to miss the sunrise at the top (even though this was what I came for), I just wanted to reach the top. It was already 6:15 when I finally thought the summit seems not so fat away any more, but the sun would rise between 6:15 and 6:30. I didn’t want to accept my defeat but I very much wanted to rest one more time. My energy was simply running low. The last meters were thankfully a little bit less strenuous since the ground was less gravely, so I finally reached the top at 6:32. Maybe I didn’t make it super in time but I still got a pretty good shot. And – I didn’t have to wait for the sun to rise. At the top it was so freezing cold, I took 5 pictures and left immediately. Poor people that are actually in shape and reached there before 6.
On my way down, my guide caught up to me (because I’m very very slow downhill) and greeted me by asking the only question I wanted to hear in that moment “cookie?” yes please! I ate a lot of cookies and I’m sure this was the only reason I made it back alive to the campsite. There, I enjoyed a second breakfast and shortly after I went back all the way and the rest of the group moved on to the lake. I was accompanied by my porter whom I was unable to keep up with.
Finally, I reached the homestay where I already stayed over the first time. After a very very long shower I was welcomed back by tea and fruit and my comfy bed.