We awoke at 2:30AM and were on the road by 3:00AM. The hotel prepared coffee, tea, and a light breakfast of croissants, breads, and pastries for our 45 minutes to the base of the volcano. Driving the windy, narrow streets of Bali in daytime is a nerve racking experience, but at night, even though the traffic was light, the lack of street lights, road constructions, and a Hindu cremation ceremony, made it a surreal experience.
We arrived at the base of the volcano where we met our guide. He had water and flashlights for us as we headed off to trail head. It’s a popular spot and there were many others climbing the volcano but we rarely ran into anyone except at the occasional check points/resting spots.
I really did not know what I was getting into. My phone registered that I had only walked 2.8 miles but had climbed the equivalent of a 105-story building. And we were walking in the dark aided only by our flashlights and our guide leading the way. The last part was particularly challenging as the path, as we were now above the tree line, became rocky and steep. There were points where we were climbing up at a 45 degree angle.
We arrived at 5:45, about 45 minutes before sunrise, found some seats on the rocks, and waited for the sunrise.
It was magnificent. Unbelievable. To be above the clouds looking over the caldera while viewing other distant volcanoes as the sun finally peaked above the horizon.
Our guide had brought breakfast for us. Nothing fancy. Some fresh fruit, nuts and berries, and veggie breakfast burritos.
There were about 500+ people who made the climb and although I did polls nor statistics the majority of the people who had made the climb were in the 15 to 35 year age bracket. In my opinion I was one of the two or three oldest to make the ascent.
By 7:00AM we headed back down the mountain. Here’s a view from the base of the volcano.
The last time the volcano erupted was in 2000 but it was just a hiccup. But 54 years ago, in 1963, the volcano erupted with a force that wiped out many of the villages below.