27 November 2012
Hiking, Trekking, and Eco
Mt Bromo a must see item when visiting Indonesia
Posted on : 27 November 2012
Categories : Hiking, Trekking, and Eco
Waking up for 3:30am for a tour to do a “must see, must do” item in Indonesia, is sometimes a sacrifice that you need to make. Thankfully I didn’t need to shower before hand I could literally roll out of bed at 3:15am, throw some clothes on and meet the group.
Before heading to the small town of Wonotoro, I was told to bring warm clothes and that it would be very chilly there. Men walked around selling toques and mittens, the Indonesians traveling with us were shivering and their hands were cold as ice. However being Canadian I was still walking around in shorts thinking they were crazy. It was ten degrees when we got to Wonotoro and the sun was shining! At 3:30am the next morning, it was slightly colder, but maybe only 5 or 6 degrees Celsius. With my jeans on, a sweater and a light jacket I was fine and not knowing what exactly I was about to do I would later find out that that was more than enough clothing to keep me warm.
The group of us all loaded into heavy duty jeeps with 4 wheel drive and we started to leave Wonotoro and head up higher and higher, driving up some of the steepest streets I’ve ever seen. Along the road we met with other groups in Jeeps headed in the same direction. Finally we all made it to a point where the Jeeps can no longer continue. Instead there are men with horses offering to give you a ride up for a small fee or you could choose to walk.
It was pitch black and there were people and horses everywhere. Our group chose to walk. The previous day I had asked how much walking we had to do and was told “Not much, maybe 10 minutes”. I soon learned that this was not true, perhaps a mix up / language barrier with my question. The higher we got as did the elevation and the air became thin making it harder to breath with every step we took.
I don’t really like hiking, this wasn’t going to be fun, but I was assured I would be at the top of this hill soon. I kept trudging on, stopping every few steps, swearing under my breath. The fact that I couldn’t tell how high we were going is what kept me moving. If it was light out and I could of seen where we were headed I probably would of given up.
I was hot now and there was no need for all of these layers I was wearing, but there was a wind and the scarf I was wearing kept the dust and ash off of my face. The climb seemed like it took hours but it was probably only 30minutes max, maybe shorter? And boy was I rewarded with a spectacular view for my efforts.
We had climb to the top of Pananjakan on the craters edge over looking Mt Bromo’ssteaming crater and two other volcanoes (Semeru and Batok). It was dark still but to the left we could see the sun rising. This sunrise is known as one of the best on earth. At first it was slightly disappointing because of the clouds, we took photos then moved to the right to see the sun spilling over the volcanoes. Just when we thought there was nothing beautiful to see of the sunrise that morning, the sun burst through the clouds and we all moved back to our left and got some amazing breath taking views.
Down at the base of the active, steaming Mt Bromo, if you squinted you could see a temple, in a somewhat dangerous location and that is where we were headed next. After a quick and steep walk back down to our jeeps we then drove across the ash dessert aka Sea of Sand where more men waited for us on horses to take us to the craters edge of Mt Bromo. Few chose the horses and others chose to walk. For some reason I decided to walk as well, mostly because I dislike riding horses, but half way there I almost changed my mind especially since one man was following me the whole way with his horse. I think he was taking bets on when I might break down. I then however became determined to do it with out a horse, if I’ve come this far why not?
The ash and sand at times was deep and higher than my ankle. It was hard to walk in and I could feel not only my shoes but my socks filling up with the fine grains. However I continued climbing.
I finally made it to the highest part where the horses could go no further and all that was left before me was a huge staircase. Most of the people in the group were already on the way down but I kept going. The steps were falling apart, missing pieces and missing railings here and there. People stopped along the way and sand storms came at us from each side. I started taking the stairs ten at a time then resting, ten at a time then resting.
Once I made it to the top I was rewarded yet again. I was looking into the mouth of an active volcano. I was standing on top of an active volcano. This thing could of blown at any moment, however thankfully it didn’t. The smell of sulphur in the air from the steaming volcano was thick and we wore medical masks to keep the smell down and to keep the whirring sand out of our mouth and noses.
It truly was a once in a lifetime experience, that before this day I hadn’t even known was possible. It was a test of my physical abilities and determination however I completed it, healing broken ankle and all and hope that some day in my future I might be challenged to do it once again and if not, I at least hope I can inspire others to do it for me.