Saturday, 22 June 2013

Things Go Up

I really wanted to write about this yesterday but I was way too tired to do anything other than just lounging about! Please bear in mind that I have done almost nothing sporty for at least 4 years..

Yesterday we woke up at 1.30am and in the dark and our confused state somehow managed to get dressed and pack our backpacks for our early morning hike to the top of Gunung Batur (an active volcano) to watch the sunrise. The beginning of the hike was about an hours drive away and during the drive to the volcano I began to worry about an eruption (last one was 2000). When we arrived at the start point we were introduced to our guides and torches were handed out as, because the sun hadn't risen, we were hiking in the pitch black. The first part of the hike was fine and I was pretty impressed with how I was doing. We walked through the lava fields (not that I was able to see anything in the dark) and climbed at quite a good pace up to the crater rim (also called Sunrise Point). It was quite crowded and our guide asked if we wanted to go straight up to the summit to watch the sunrise there, telling us that it took about 10 minutes. We said yes and after 10 minutes we realised that his estimation had been quite a bit off and that it would realistically take 45. The part of the trek between Sunrise Point and the summit was incredibly steep and very slippery with volcanic sand falling away beneath your feet. Sometimes we had to pull ourselves up onto rocks and sometimes our guide would pull us up. During this part I didn't know how I would ever reach the top. My thighs were burning!! When we reached the top it was still very dark but also windy and extremely cold. We huddled on a bench and waited for the sun. It was so beautiful. Suddenly we had a view of a beautiful mountain and a lake that had been completely hidden before. It was stunning. Clouds would come racing towards us, looking like steam (making me think the volcano was errupting for a brief moment).

After the sun was up we started our descent. The steep, sandy path was very difficult to get down. The best way (recommended by our guide) was to put your feet sideways and slide. Several people fell over and our guide was running about like a crazy person trying to catch us all before we fell! When we made it back to Sunrise Point the monkeys had woken up and were running round looking for breakfast. They jumped on top of anyone that held out any bread. I considered trying to feed them but their sharp teeth and grim fur (plus the risk of rabies) meant that I stayed well away. The next part of the walk was mostly rocky but that didn't mean it was more stable. The rocks would roll away as soon as you stepped on them and the guide would run down the mountain to grab you before you cut your face open on a rock. I definitely preferred going down to up. I liked seeing where I was going and being able to decide what the best place to put my foot was. I'm glad we did go up in the dark though. I think if I'd been able to see how steep the path was I never would have made it up. Also, I was sweating a lot doing it with no sun so I probably would have passed out doing it in the heat of day!

Today we're going to a place called Karamas to watch some surfing. There's the Oakley Pro Competition which we're going to see. The surf is probably not going to be good enough for the competition to be on but the pros should be out doing tricks on the waves. Apparently Kelly Slater is going to be there, not that I've ever heard of him, but apparently he's a big deal. Figured I should enjoy my final day before the REAL work begins..!

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