Just because I was too much of a wuss to make it to the summit of Rinjani doesn’t mean you all should be denied the stunning views. Anders, being the mountain man that he is, practically sprinted to the summit — while occasionally stopping to do one-handed push ups — to take all these photos for me. Okay, that’s a possible exaggeration. It was either that or he went up the normal way and came back and collapsed face first back into our tent from exhaustion. I can’t really remember the details. Let’s just move on then, shall we?
I’m so very glad that I remembered to hand Anders my camera when I turned back. Didn’t he do an amazing job? Seeing these photos did give me a pang of regret — it truly is an unbelievable view from up there, and what a fantastic feat to accomplish.
And then I look at these two photos, and realize that getting to the top would have meant three hours of ascent, the last of which would be spent slogging through this:
Our guide cracked me up. Once everyone was back at camp for breakfast, I made him and Anders stand together so I could get the picture I had been dying for since we set off the first day.
Sadly, photos of Anders and I aren’t too far off this.
If you decide to trek Rinjani, be prepared for monkey overload. I loved them — they reminded me that we were somewhere exotic, as truly the rest of the scenery wouldn’t be out of place in North America. However, they did seem to border on aggressive and they were pretty hardcore scavengers of anything left out in the camps.
Once again we were on of the last camps to get going, so once we had packed up and were waiting on the porters and guide, we filled the time with what else… taking pictures.
On the right Anders is doing an excellent demonstration of the classic, “Please don’t take any more photos, I’d rather go back to the summit again than sit here for one more single moment” face.
One thing we were very sad to note was the amount of garbage not only at the campsites, but also by the lake, on the trails, etc. It was really devastating to see such a beautiful place desecrated like that. I wish we had brought some trash bags.
Finally, it was time to get moving. Anders, along with most of the group, had already done a three hour ascent and a two hour descent before breakfast. We still had another five and a half hours of downhill trekking ahead of us to reach the nearest road. We said goodbye to the beautiful views and off we went.
While I normally quite enjoy downhill hiking, as I’m not out of breath and therefore able to carry on a conversation, this was quite brutal. My muscles were so tight and sore from two prior days of up and down, and so I ended up doing a very attractive “robot-walk” all the way down the hill as my knees didn’t really want to cooperate with bending.
We were very, very ready for a lunch break when the time came.
Unfortunately we were pretty stressed for the second half of the day as we realized there was no way we were going to make the last public boat to Gili at 4pm. And then I realized that I had lost our keys and had to walk in stony silence for an hour to keep from bursting into tears. Exhaustion does funny things to a person.
I was never so happy to see a road in my life. Victory! We all piled into a pickup truck for a ride back to the shop where we started, and then another very long ride to the pier, where a private boat was waiting for us. Why our guide did not convey this situation to us remains a mystery — I can only conclude that the man was a serial information hoarder that rejoiced in the confusion of his foreign charges.
But we had made it. Mission accomplished.
. . . . . .
Are you planning to trek Rinjani as well? Awesome! I had a hard time finding information on the trek prior to our departure, so I wanted to be sure to share some of the tips I was looking for.
• I wrote down a list of all the things I wish I had with me every night, and that I plan to pack for the Inca Trail: Camelbak Reservoir to make water drinking easier, blister pads for the inevitable, plastic bags for garbage and dirty laundry, a solar iPhone charger in order to access my music, wet wipes, my Scottevest for easy pocket access, a hat for the cold nights, a SteriPEN for sterilizing spring water. And a few things I was SO grateful to have: flips flops to change into at night, cashew nuts and peanuts, and sunscreen and chapstick.
• Bring sunscreen — and wear it! I ended up with the nastiest sunburn I’ve had in years on the third day. High altitude equals serious burns.
• Definitely bring some high protein snacks along to supplement the provided food. I found dinner and breakfast to be a decent mix of rice, noodles, and some vegetables and eggs. Breakfast, however, was just white bread toast and an (inedible, in my opinion) pancake.
• Be sure to have explicit understanding of exactly what is included in your fee — but also bring money to tip! We paid one million rupiah each, or about $100, for our three day hike. We specifically asked if jackets were included and were told yes, though when we arrived in Lombok the company tried to charge us for them. We stood our ground as we needed the cash we had to tip the porters and guide.
• I realize this tip is laughably vague, but here goes — if you are traveling via Gili Trawangan, I highly recommend booking through the no-name shop that sells the fresh banana coconut bread, across from the smoothie stand. I was a frequent customer of theirs during my time on Gili, and they are always fair and friendly. Other shops charge 1.3 million and you have to bargain your way down to 1, but these guys just give you the real price right off the bat.
• Wear broken in shoes. I definitely think hiking boots would be preferable over sneakers — especially for reaching the summit — but what’s even more important is wearing something broken in. I wore my comfortable, well-loved sneakers and skated by with the bare minimum of blisters.
To wrap things up, I’m to excited to share this video Anders made of our trip using nothing but his GoPro! I might be biased, but I think it’s a must-watch — my favorite moments are our Vodka Joss toast at the crater rim, the bubbling waters of the hot springs, and my teeth baring contest with a monkey.
Would you hike Mount Rinjani?