My feet are an engineering feat of excellence (excuse the pun) – a marvel.
Now back in my titchy Bangkok flat, staring at all my pictures from the trek, I’m still in awe of how these two over-sized blobs of sinew and bone, could have taken me on such wonderful adventures.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been wearing a knee brace – on account of a mishap at a different adventure (details of which I’ll gladly share at a later date) – so please excuse me if I’m overly sentimental about mes deux petits pieds. You can laugh at me all you want but:
“You don’t know what you’ve got, till you get a meniscus tear”.
I didn’t want to go on this walk.
Although my claim to fame, is the fact that I’m the earliest bird, all night-owls love to dread.
I really didn’t want to go on this walk.
In my mind, nothing is worth trampling around fields, dodging dips and puddles, and eventually scaling a mountain, at 2am in the bloody morning, for a sunset.
Am I right or what?
Yet, this picture explains how wrong I was:
Mount Batar should only be seen by the light of the new morning sun.
Most of the mountain hike tours in Bali, run a pick-up service. So there we were, me and a surprisingly chipper German, at 2am, standing outside our guesthouse, with only crickets for company. In what I will say felt like the deepest of nights, the car’s headlights eventually sliced through darkness; and we were off.
To make matters worse, the German, our driver and the four fellow hikers, all seemed to share the same bubbly disposition, that naturally grated me from the get-go. So, being the anti-social Londoner that I am, I put on my hoody, and went right back to the land of nod.
I couldn’t tell you how long we drove, in the dark, along horrendously bumpy tracks, but it felt like an age. I can only really gauge it on the fact that when I finally was prodded awake – I had energy. After a brief pit stop, where I had probably the worst cup of tea, I have ever tasted in my life, we were back on the road again and this time I was able to make conversation.
The rules state that there can be not more than maximum of six people to a single guide, so we fit in snuggly with a lovely young tour guide name Jay. After a brief introduction, where we were warned of the very real and possible danger of scaling up the mountain, we set off. What struck me as quite odd was the amount of people. Everywhere we looked we could see flashlights.
In Densapar, the sun rises at around half six, so we had just over three hours to get our butts to the summit. Our guide, who had been doing this for a while, was slightly concerned about the number of people that were taking part on that day.
And so were we.
Throughout the whole trek, we encountered gridlocks, jams and stalling at every turn. There were just too many people. Time was running out and I’d be damned if I had endured a 2am wake-up call, terrible tea and frost, just to see the sunset from the side of the mountain.
The last 25 minutes are the hardest and scariest.
If you make it to this hurdle, you’re not just dealing with exhaustion, then you have to face off steepness of the volcano, on sandy, slippery and treacherously loamy soil. One wrong footing and you could end up falling off the mountain. I’m not joking about this part by the way, it wasn’t a regular hike. Most people were actually shocked at just how taxing this walk actually was.
Obviously I lived to tell another take, but I did get close to cracking my head open a few times.
I’m not ashamed of what happened next, but…
We ditched them all.
And a lucky thing we did, otherwise we would have missed it.
Again, again, again.
I made it to the top just as the sun decided to start creeping up from behind the mountains.
The German snapping away.
Heading down felt so good.
Mount Batur Sunrise and Trekking Tours,
Price: 550,000 IDR pp [equivalent to: £25]
Price Includes: English speaking tour guide, entrance to Kintamani area, water, tea or coffee, and egg at summit.
Pickup: 2 – 3am
Tour Duration: 6 hours