WALKING AMONG THE CLOUDS
The above words could be a cliché for mountain trekking anywhere in the world. But it felt truly appropriate on Rinjani. The last part of the journey however was the most challenging, since it was a test of coordination as well as patience. The surface of the upper slopes was made of sand, rocks, and dirt, offering hardly any grip. It made me forget the beautiful view I had been anticipating, as I was forced to concentrate on my footing, taking one tiny step at a time. It took us nearly seven hours to finally reach the peak Although there’s isn’t a pot of gold or a unicorn on the peak of Rinjani, you are treated to a breath-taking view – to say the least – of the surrounding landscape and, if you’re lucky, the first light of dawn. Memories for a lifetime will no doubt be etched into your mind, not to mention stored in your camera.
THE CALDERA LAKE
On the way down we made camp for two nights at Segara Anak Lake. The lake itself is part of the mountain’s caldera and was formed after the eruption of Mount Samalas 800 years ago. In the middle of the water, you can see Mount Barujari, a small islet that’s also known as the “child” of Mount Rinjani. Our tents felt luxurious after our arduous climb, and we enjoyed the crystal clear skies at night. The Milky Way made a surprise cameo during our nights camped out amid the natural splendour, which was especially pleasing since star-gazing is a favourite pastime of mine. Continuing down, we passed a sulphuric river named Lokok Putih and a few other hot springs, including Banyu Urip, which in Javanese means “the water of life”. We did however retrace much of the path we took on our upward journey. Looking back, the trip to Lombok’s highest peak exceeded all my expectations. The unparalleled natural beauty I had been privileged to witness made it more than worth the time and energy spent ascending Rinjani. Now it’s back to the drawing board to decide which mountain I want to conquer next.