Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday, August 11, 2018

wet miserable disappointing volcano summit

Posted by Hippobean at 10:50 PM
It was raining in Kalibaru when we arrived at the Margo Utomo plantation. The hotel was lovely, with a big comfy reception and rooms facing a central garden behind an open air restaurant. Even though the room was big, it was sparsely furnished and the bathroom with an open window that cant be closed, and a showerhead that only dripped water and must be manipulated to get a steady stream. But the water was hot and a porch in front of each room made it ideal for evening teas and relaxation. No time to sleep this night either as we're due to start at 1AM for the 2 hrs drive to Ijen for our volcano hike.

It was still raining when we got up and it continued to rain on and off during our 2 hour jeep ride to Ijen. After a cup of tea or instant coffee at the base of the summit, we put on our plastic rain coats that came with a hood and our headlamps, and started our hike in the dark. Dunno whoss grand idea it was to hike to the Ijen summit in the rain. We'd all wanted to see the blue fire and the turquoise lake on the crater, so with this kind of weather, what were we thinking? The path started out with a gentle slope that gradually turned steep. About 3/4 ways up, the wind picked up and punished us like the idiots we were. I've never seen so many people hiking and in such a miserable weather. I guess we werent the only idiots that day. We soon lost both of our guides. I ended up hiking by myself the rest of the way. All I saw was people going down, and soon I was the only one going up. The steep slope gave way to switchbacks and then the path flattened. Around the final bend, I finally saw the sign 2799m, the Ijen summit. A big open structure with just a roof was packed with hikers. couldnt find any members of my group in this multitude. The wind was gusting and rain lashing hard. I was soaked and my boots totally ruined. sloshing in my miserably wet boots, with my muddy jeans clinging to my legs, I turned the other way, to the viewpoint. Attendants were wearing oxygen masks. probably due to the gusty wind and rain, the smell of sulphur wasnt as bad as I've anticipated. I didnt even wear my mask. foggy to the max, absolutely no view of the crater and the turquoise lake and of course no blue fire. i turned around and headed back down.

What seemed to be an eternity slowly negotiating down the slippery wet path, I finally made it back to the parking lot. peering into every jeep, finally kieran opened the door for me. shed the wet things on my body and noticed Kieran's legs were steaming. He said mine were too. Then the breakfast boxes arrived and we ate like hungry bears. Bearing another long 2 hrs, tired and absolutely sopping, we got back to the hotel. It took me almost 2 hrs to reach the summit and a little over an hour to get back down. All for nothing.

everyone hung their wet clothing and gear on the porches in front of our rooms, but with the rain still coming down in full force and 100% humidity, none of our wet things would ever get dry. I took off my totally soaked through boots and poured out the water. The rest of the day I just hung out in my room, resting and beating myself up for being such a total idiot to summit a volcano in such lousy weather. Guess the volcano goddess wasnt kind to us that day. As it was still raining, I forgo the afternoon plantation walk and missed the coffee tasting. So I bought a couple of robusta packets from the hotel. It was a miserable disappointing day. But the evenings were memorable as I sat in the front porch enjoying the cool rain (CA's been very dry and i miss the tropical rain) and the dark evening, with a cup of steaming hot tea and Snowie as companion.

Kalibaru photos:



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