The Last Part of Our Rinjani Hike: Summit Attack.

What kills your creativity? What causes you to feel stuck and uninspired? In my case, it’s as simple as being stuck in Jakarta without any traveling plan in the near future. As much as a person enjoys the busy life, at one point he would definitely need a break.

It has been two months since our hike to the second highest volcanic mountain in Indonesia, Rinjani. I don’t know about DR, but I already found myself wishing for a getaway. Out of desperation, I looked up for an empty weekend in November where I could make a little vacation out of this city. Even if it’s just a two days trip to Bandung, I would take it. Yeap, that is probably how bad my longing is towards a short getaway.

Scrolling through my Rinjani or other traveling photos that I had done this year doesn’t help. The longing to be out in the open space and enjoy the nature got worse.  A sigh of envious feeling and a terrible desire to be back in the mountain was what I released every time I saw a traveling photo in the Instagram’s explorer. Especially, if the photo was taken in Rinjani.

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I miss the hike. I miss sweating like hell during the hike. I miss sleeping in the tent. I even miss getting lost in the dark when we got separated from the group. To sum it all up, I miss feeling so alive. That was the liveliest or the fullest moment that I ever felt as a human being so far, I guess. The adrenaline rush was exceptional. The exhaustion was priceless. The determination to fight your own thoughts was irreplaceable.

Speaking of Rinjani, a shocking news about the eruption came just a few days ago. This caused over than 100 hikers had to be evacuated. Thank God, it didn’t happen when we were there. Although, it would definitely be one heck of a story to be told to our grandchildren in the future.

Anyways, three different postings about the hike had been posted here. Now, let us share with you the best part of the story, that we had intentionally kept as a closer. They say you gotta keep the best for the last, right?

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After two days of hiking, and arrogantly conquered the first half of The Seven Hills of Regret, we made it to the last post called Plawangan at around 4PM. Sea of colorful tents welcomed us warmly. Unaccountable other hikers were already there settling in their tents.

The first thing we did when we arrived at Plawangan was walking to the nearest spring to shower. Sadly, we couldn’t take a shower and get ourselves refreshed. We had to be content and grateful that we could at least washed our hands and brushed our teeth. It’s been two days without shower, and apparently we had to bear another two days without it. Well, at the end, just like what DR wrote before, a total four days of no shower was totally worth it.

A good rest was very much needed, because we had to wake up at 1 AM and started hiking at 2 AM. So, after spending the afternoon playing some games with the other hikers in our group, photo hunting, and having a decent dinner, we decided to hit the bed (read: sleeping bag and thermal mattress) early. By 7 PM, we were already inside our tent trying to sleep.

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The downside of sleeping inside a tent is that you can actually hear anything that happens around you. That includes a loud chatter from the other tents. I had trouble sleeping and found myself still wide awake two hours later, because all the other tents near us were so unbelievably noisy. They simply couldn’t stop talking.. until about 10 PM.

At that point, we already got a bit cranky but there was nothing we can do. It was not a luxurious five star hotel, it was a public space and there was no certain rule on what you can or can’t do. But let me give you the first unwritten rule of hiking: Please be considerate of others, especially at night when people are already craving to have a good sleep. Turn down your volume, stop talking, turn off your music.

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My alarm went off at 1 AM, waking me up with so much excitement. The feeling that you’re about to go hike a very high place for hours in the middle of the night was just indescribable. I immediately sat down, put on my headlamp, my hiking shoes, grabbed my bottled water, camera, and went out of the tent. A little tip for you, make sure you went to bed with the clothes that you will wear for the summit attack. This would save a lot of your time.

It was dark, but you can see hundreds of tiny dots coming from the headlamps that every hikers wore, making a very long line up to the highest point of Rinjani. At one point, I had trouble noticing whether it’s a headlamp or a little star in the blue sky because they actually looked the same.

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First timers would take about 6 hours to make it to the top. I made it in 4,5 hours, while DR was 45 minutes faster than me. That was the most intense 4,5 hours in my life.

I still remember walking 10 steps upward, and sitting down for 5 minutes just to regain my strength.

I still remember feeling very sweaty in the midst of a cold night because of the three layered clothes that I was wearing.

I still remember almost falling asleep in the middle of the dark during one of my 5 minutes rest.

I still remember not wanting to look up and deciding to fix my gaze on my feet, because every time I looked up I felt that the summit was so near yet at the same time very hard to be reached.

I still remember having the thought of giving up once I saw the sun rise. Not knowing that the summit was only about 10 minutes away from me.

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I still remember that moment when I asked myself, “Why am I doing this? What have I gotten myself into?”

I still remember taking my phone out to play one of my Spotify playlists with the loudest volume just to boost my spirit.

I remember a lot of things. But the most wonderful memory I gained was the moment I put my feet on the highest ground of Rinjani. The moment I sat down and enjoyed the scenery from 3726 metres above sea level. DR had his own memory about the hike that he has shared on his travel blog if you wanna read his side of the story.

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The view at the top is reserved for the uncommon people.

When I finally met DR at the top, we didn’t waste our time to only sit and do nothing. We did what we always love doing on a weekly basis: Exploring. While the other hikers were busy taking photos at the most common point in Rinjani, we went exploring around the area. Oh the thing we do to get some good photos.

To end this post, and sadly, to close our whole story about the Rinjani hike, here’s a vlog from the Rinjani trip, skillfully crafted by our friend, Omar Alvaro. Can’t wait for our next trip, which unfortunately up until now still remains as a mystery. Hopefully it won’t take too long until our next trip.

 

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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