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World Travels by Casey

Hiking Mt. Batur for sunrise.

2am comes quick when you go out for a late dinner and then have an appointment to meet a friend after. A friend who flys to another country the next day and that I wanted travel info from. It was midnight before I was ready for bed. 2am was the pick up time for Alain, Shasta and I to head to Mt. Batur for sunrise.

Yep this is where it all happened. 

The night before, Alain tried to get us to pull an all nighter with him. He was afraid he wouldn't wake up to his alarm so he figured the better option was staying out all night, having some drinks. Shasta was to tired and I was getting to that point as well. So Alain went solo but he had fun and met lots of people by the sounds of it. 

I got just over an hour of sleep before my alarm went off and then Shasta woke to hers. We tip toed around the dark room gathering our things and leaving Alicia to her dreams. 

At 2:10 our shuttle van arrived, we climbed in joining a German couple and headed to pick up Alain and other climbers along the way. 

Alain climbed in the very back with us, laughing and making jokes as he informed us he was still drunk. Hilarious! I was sure the other passengers heard him say that and were probably thinking, "great!" Luckily for... everyone Alain was a funny drunk, like the class clown and I wouldn't say he was drunk. It was more a combination of buzzed and sleep deprived. 

The van stopped at a roadside hut about 20min away from the volcano for our first of 2 breakfasts. It was a banana pancake and choice of tea or coffee. The pancakes were thin (2 thin ones per person) with 2 slices of banana in between and they were the size of a silver dollar! Not even kidding! 

We drove on down the road after our snack to the parking lot of Mt Batur. The top would be our location to watch the sunrise. 

The last eruption from this monster was in 2000 and as we learned later, on the back side of it is a large area of lush green land that the lava flow went around. In fact every eruption that has happened goes around this patch but has wiped out everything else. The ironic part is that there is a temple situated on this untouched land and it has survived every eruption and been nick named "lucky temple". 

The lava flow going around the temple is seen in this picture but it's not super clear.

When our group was out of the van and ready a guide was assigned to us. There were several guides and groups gathering together in the parking lot. We were handed a flash light, I of course forgot my head lamp back at the home so I went for the flashlight as well. 

And so the 2 hour trek up the side of the mountain began. It was a dark adventurous hike, not what I was expecting either. I've been to the top of a volcano for sunrise before and I think I was imagining something similar. A paved road to get to the top and a trail to hike that was well groomed. 

There was no paved road or any kind of road, for that matter. There was no well kept trail either. It could be great for trail running if your looking to purposely twist your ankle. 

It was steep, uneven ground with the occasional loose rocks that I'd want to step on, then get off quickly as they shifted under my feet. Sometimes there was tall jungle like grass we had to walk thru and other times it was just all rock and no grass to be seen. We stopped for water breaks when needed, they supplied us with a small bottle. It was also a break for those staggering behind to catch up to us. 

There was a small unexpected temple along the way up that all the groups stopped at as they came to it. Each guide went to it and sat before it quietly saying a prayer while the rest of us stood back and waited. When our guide was finished he thanked us for waiting and we continued on. 

I started the climb off in workout Capri pants my running shoes and a tank top with a long sleeve shirt on top and a wind breaker in my small backpack. The long sleeve shirt wasn't on for long as it was pretty warm out even for such an early hour. I was definitely sweating! As we gained a higher elevation and the wind really picked up I still held to just a tank top. 

I found it really funny how the guides were all saying "taxi?" At random along the course of the trip. It's a phrase you hear on the streets 100's of times a day as you walk. "Taxi?" "Taxi?" I say, "no thank you" and I either hear a "your welcome" or I get a "not today? Maybe tomorrow?" So with the guides saying it as we climbed the mountain, they were in a way making fun of their own people and also making fun of us because of course we ALL wanted a taxi,now! 

There were 3 or 4 sunrise viewing sheds at the top but they weren't at the summit. Several groups stopped at these sheds and sat to wait but I must have picked the advanced tour! Our guide encouraged us to push ourselves to the summit and that we did. It was worth it. We made it just as the light began to peak thru the clouds, it was gorgeous! The biggest lake in Bali was part of our view and the ocean and several towns below. 

My first peak at the sun. 

We spent some time taking in the always changing colors of the sky and the watching the wispy clouds change the landscape by the second.   

So pretty.

Suprise there is a mountain behind those clouds! 

Stunning, right? 

Sleepy faces 

Of course there was a vendor at the summit selling beverages! There's an indo everywhere you look selling something. Alain bought himself a celebration coke a cola. 

We had our second breakfast at the top on our own time. It also wasn't much but better then the first meal. This one was 2 pieces of round white bread with jam packets, a small banana and a hard boiled egg cooked from the heat vents of the volcano. Some of us went to watch the eggs and some bananas being cooked in the vents. It was a wet heat coming from the side if the mountain where the cooking was happening. 

The eggs are ready! 

None of us seemed very thrilled about having to go back down the trail we had gone up. Our guide gave us 2 options, that trail again or a different route that was just a little bit longer and easier. We picked the easier but I'm not so sure it was, perhaps about the same.

Me, walking a very narrow ledge - this picture doesn't do it justice. 

We walked on a ledge, basically, around the crater with strong winds blowing at us. Then we started to descend down the backside of the volcano. It wasn't easy as what we ended up walking on was lava from the 2000 eruption. Not lava like most would picture if you have visited Hawaii. This lava was like sand. Going down a steep hill with thick sand under your feet is slippery to put it best. It was in my shoes and my socks had slid down to my toes. I was having mixed feelings about just running as fast as I could or taking very sure steps down. I was still feeling the after math of the Gili islands sickness so I decided against running. 

Shasta walking thru sandy volcanic ash and rock on our way down. 

It was on the backside of Mt. Batur that as a group we learned about the lucky temple in the patch of green land below us. 

When we finally reached the bottom, somehow we were back on the same trail we had been on that morning. 
Things look so much different in the daylight! ;) 
We walked past someone's huge tomato garden where our guide let picked some for each of us. 

Shasta and I brought 3 home to add to our breakfasts for the next few days. 

We finally reached the parking lot. Feeling exhausted, practically drunk from little sleep and an exhausting hike we climbed into our van. All we wanted (at least Shasta, Alain and I) was to go home, shower and sleep! Nothing more. But the rest of the group was interested in the hot springs and the coffee plantation stop that over looked some beautiful rice terraces. We had forgotten about these additional stops on the way home. We talked everyone out of the hot springs as the 3 of us didn't bring our swim suits and you had to pay more to get into them. We lost with the coffee plantation though. 

The plantation was a lot like the one I went to on the VW thing tour but this one was bigger and had the rice terrace view. We had some samplings and then back to the van. Alain stayed in the van thru the mini tour and samplings to sleep. I guess the all nighter he puller finally caught up with him, poor lil fella! 

Our group, minus Alain at the coffee/tea tasting. Overlooking the rice terraces. 

Shasta and I were eventually dropped off at our home stay, it was only 11:30am and we crashed out. No shower, no food even though both were highly desired. It felt like the entire day had passed by us but it wasn't even lunch time yet. We slept for an hour and then went out for some food at Casa Luna. 

It was a pretty epic day, totally worth everything we put into it.

Shasta and I holding the sun. 

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