My alarm buzzed at 1:45am, on the road by 2:00am for the curvy, twisty narrow hour and a bit drive to Mount Batur. Out into the dark of the wee hours of the early morning, I met my guide, Jero, a young 23 year old Balinese boy with a good sense of humour and a strong hand for pulling. We started climbing at 3:30am, Jero griping my hand and pulling me up many times, we climbed and climbed and climbed up, up, up my quads burning and my lungs gasping at the steepest part of the climb. Rest stops along the way but I, of course, just wanted to keep going no matter how winded or how shaky my legs had become. We stopped briefly a couple of times to catch my laboured breath then we carried on, Jero saying to me many times, you are so strong meanwhile he had barely broken a sweat; we motored to the top by 5am. Sweat dripping out of every orpheus by the time we made it to the top, my headband soaked with sweat and the realization that I was now 5,633 feet above sea level and the temperature, which I didn’t notice on the way up, suddenly became apparent as the cool breeze blew through the air. Suddenly I was cold mixed in with the masses of sweat dripping down my body. We arrive early and simply had to wait for the beautiful orange ball to makes it way up into the sky. I sipped a hot cup of tea and enjoyed the darkness of the still early morning watching, waiting for the sun to come up. It was breathtaking to be so immersed in nature, to be surrounded by mountain peaks, the shimmer off the lake, the clouds floating in the sky just beneath the mountains and the sun rising off in the distance. Worth every ounce of sweat, worth every twist and turn on that winding road, worth losing 6 hours of precious sleep, and worth the shaky legs during and after.
Batur is the most active volcano in Bali with it’s last eruption recorded in 2000. The peak sits at 1717 meters (5,633 ft.) above sea level and offers breathtaking views of Lake Batur, black lava from the last explosion, and surrounding mountain peaks.
The hike is approximately 5 km roundtrip, a difficult and challenging 5km. Sometimes I don’t know what I am thinking when I sign up for things like this but I just had to get up there and see the sunrise at the top of the mountain. My brain just automatically de-registers the amount of strength and energy I would need to pull this off; I just do it! Once I take on something like this there is no turning back no matter how hard it is, no matter how much I am sucking wind, I just keep going. Kind of like life one foot in front of the other and keep pushing through whatever is in front of me no matter how hard because I know that this too shall pass and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
After the climb and a brief rest we piled back into the van and headed to Amed, a spot on the map, Oceanside. My craving for the Ocean never subsides. Another two hour trek on more winding, narrow roads, a quick stop for food and a pee, a little bit of car trouble and eventually making our way into Amed. As part of a package our hotel room was arranged for us on this leg of the journey, we stopped at the first choice and both wanted to go on, the second choice was slightly better than the first although not a place that either Esther or I wanted to rest our wary heads for the night; but this being the last option according to our driver, we took the room. The further we looked the more and more we noticed and the more reasons why we did not want stay there. First was the smell of the room, musty, moldy and plain old awful, we tried to tell ourselves that we had to stay in one dive on our journey and we both agreed we would simply be sleeping until we noticed the uncleanliness of the bed, the stains on the comforter, the shoe prints on the wall going quite high up, our minds came up with a plethora of reasons why or how those foot prints came to be on the wall and so high up. The bathroom was clean, at least, and we could actually sit on the toilet rather than having to squat down to less than a foot off the ground which is standard fare in any restaurant or public toilet in Bali. Toilet paper is non-existent in most places, simply a hose with a small shower nozzle to spray on your woo hoo. I can’t but help wonder what do all the women do once they have sprayed off, does everyone walk around with a wet spot. I just don’t understand.
Both exhausted from being up at 1:45am that morning we just simply laid in bed and let the fan blow on us while waiting for the remote to the air conditioner that never came. I took a stroll and noticed next door was much more what we were looking for so we asked if they had rooms and sure enough they did for a reasonable price so we got the young men from the hotel next door to come and retrieve our stuff and we made our way to a more comfortable place to lay our wary bones for the night.
We were happy to rest our weary bones in clean beds and the following morning enjoyed a delightful walk on the beach, with all the boats out fishing before sun rise and off the shore exposing the beautiful shore line to walk all the way to the point, the most amazing sunset I have ever seen, a well cooked breakfast and a delightful swim in the pool. It was worth the extra money.
The most gorgeous sunset I have ever seen…
Amed was a quick stop over as we made our way to Gili Air for some quiet, surrounded by Ocean beachfront.