Monday, May 2, 2016

#JetSetKex in Bali, Mount Batur!

It's amazing how simple thoughts can materialise into ways the least expected. 

A few weeks ago,
i had a sudden urge to revisit Mount Batur once again. 
My first climb up was in 2014. 
On that morning, we reached the summit only to find the sky completed shrouded in clouds. 

It was beautiful nevertheless and left a deep impression on me. 

On "Cloud 9"!

I'm a pretty restless individual and I hardly like doing the same things twice. 

But Mount Batur is different. 
I truly miss it.

I miss marvelling at the view of lake batur from eye-level. 
I miss the amazing sense of accomplishment felt at the top of the mountain.
I miss watching the orange fireball peek from behind Mount Agung and Abang at the crack of dawn. 
I even miss hating the crazy trek upslope, the occasional slip of the foot, the cursing and swearing that went on in my head with each step i took, the muscle aches and ankle pain that ensued the day after the climb. 

So i did it, i went back to the mountain and this time,
the weather was perfect. :)

The Climb 

Our host from Den Den Mushi hooked us up with a trekking guide
and it turned out to be one huge blessing!!

More on our guide later,
here's a rough schedule for the climb.

230am           Woke up for transport pickup from our accommodation. 
300am           Reached meeting point for breakfast. 
330am           Set off from Base Camp! Hiked in the darkness with just torchlights in our hands. 
400-630am    Reached the first pit stop. 
630-700am    The last 250m struggle towards the peak.
730am           Reached the summit!!

230am, woke up sleepy-eyed for our transport to base camp!
Do try to grab a few winks the night before cos the climb does require concentration!

3am, ubud is apparently nearer to Mount Batur base camp, 
so it took about 30mins to reach. 
We gathered at a meeting point for some hot coffee/tea to perk ourselves up!

i was too busy trying to stay alive while climbing to take any shots IN THE DARK. 
Yes, each person only has one torchlight to help light up the path ahead. 
The paths are non-terraced, and are mostly carved out by previous trekkers. 
And that means people are scaling the mountain in a single file most of the time. 
So there was a pressure for me to climb faster, 
otherwise i would be dragging my team of 4 people down and they would have to wait for me. 

We took several breathers though, 
and that was when i raised my head to see a sky full of stars. 
I wish i have a good enough camera to capture that moment.

As we scaled higher up, 
the sky got brighter and we could see an orange outline in the horizon. 

The view at the first peak!

We were so afraid that we would miss the rising of the sun
that we scaled as quickly as our legs could carry us. 
I wouldn't have been able to do so though without the help of this young girl! 
She's only 16 and she has legs and buns of steel, 
propelling forward at turbo speed as if it was only a stroll in the park. 
She saw that i was struggling, held my hand and pulled me upslope. 
When we finally reached this peak,
she quickly proceeded to push a bottle of pocari sweat into my hands. 
It was 3 sgd and i thought she totally worked hard and deserved this sale. 
So yes, i bought it from her.

So, we thought we were done with climbing and happily took a shot at the milestone sign.
But noooooo, 
we forgot about the last 250m climb to the top of 1717m!!

Oh lord have mercy, the last 250m was such a pain in the ass!!!! 
It was exceptionally difficult due to the loose rocks and steep incline. 
There was absolutely NO GRIP, the ground felt like quick sand, 
our feet sinking with each step we took.
Thank god we had Nyoman, our trekking guide!!!! 
That morning he held his 2 girlfriends by his arms and pulled us up that last 250m of hell. 
I bet that was a date he'd remember for a while!

We thought we would be able to make it to the top to capture the sunrise using Time-lapse, 
but we took so long that we could only stop to take a shot before reaching the peak.

Case in point, check out the sandy ground! 

At approximately 730am, we finally reached the summit at 1717m high! 
Balmy sunshine and crisp clear air greeted us at the top.

Hello monkeys. 
These naughty animals kept snatching food from the climbers. 
I recall vividly that they stole my entire plastic bag of breakfast during my previous climb.
You can imagine, i had finally made it to the top and was super famished and looking forward to devour my bread, eggs and banana. 
Then these mischevious little fellas swung by and swooped my breakfast away from my hands!!
The audacity!! 

 Serena was evidently very, very, tired.

View of the crater from above!

 The sunrise only took about 10mins and pretty soon later it was scorching hot. 

YAY we love Nyoman! 
Not only was he physically helpful, he was cheerleading us all the way,
shouting "You can do it!" with a huge smile throughout the journey. 

I asked for his number so that i could recommend him to my friends but he couldn't give it out!
He works with a company and gets assigned to trekkers randomly. 
I can only say that we were really lucky to have met him. 
It was fate that brought us together!

It was an intense leg and butt day. 

 We began our descent after tonnes of photo-whoring.
The impact from the downward scale was pretty bad for the knees and to make matters worse, 
i had reeeaaally wanted to pee but there was nowhere i could do it on the mountain, unexposed!!! 

 So i held on to my pee, 
and tried to marvel at the patches of vegetable farmlands littered around the base of the mountain.
It was a test of my pelvic muscles and willpower. 

In years to come, 
i think i will always look back on this Bali trip with a heart full of gratitude. 
Never in my life have i been more carefree and spontaneous,
and this lightness gave me wings to fly, 
to pursue what i love, 
to look for adventure,
 and to explore the world with childlike enthusiasm. 

So much love for my soulsista, Serena, for going on this trip with me!! <3
They say going on trips can make or break a friendship, and i'm soo glad we emerged unscathed!
Love and light and may we conquer greater heights, till we're old and grey! 

Click here to read about our experience at 
The Yoga Barn in the same trip!

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