Thrill seeker? Hardly. Early nights, occasional fun drinks and lots of Netflix would best describe daily life in the God Save The Points household. For one morning in Bali however, all of that went out the window. At first glance- the thought of climbing an active volcano in dark seems dangerous and scary. Second glance- enticing, interesting and perhaps a worthy once in a life time experience. In practicality- it’s all of the above.
At 2AM our alarm sounded at a remote hotel just outside of Ubud. Shoes on, and onto motorbikes we went- through remote rice fields to reach our driver. After a sinuous, hour long ascent, we reached base. Now roughly 3AM, pitch dark and we’re greeted by one of the native guides trusted to take people up the mountain. Our equipment? Water and a very, very basic flashlight.
So many questions you could ask of the trust inspiring guide- so few answers you’d likely enjoy. Are there snakes? Does the volcano ever spit? Probably best to just leave it. What started as a fairly nondescript walk in the woods began to feel like a boot camp, with an instructor who adores lunges and Bikram yoga. The cool of the night was long gone.
And then it got steep. Seriously steep. The volcanic rocks seemed to grow, their sharp edges seemed to protrude further and even for a fairly active, fit 30 year old, things got a bit edgy. After an hour and forty five minutes of continuous climbing, we reached the summit. My god, I am glad we did.
Sunrise wasn’t quite in the picture yet, but you could see it coming and that wasn’t all you could see. We had just summited Mount Batur, and were now directly facing Mount Agung, the largest volcano in the area, just off in the distance and YES, WE WERE NOW LITERALLY ABOVE the CLOUDS. Sunrise-nothing short of spectacular. What can only be described as fluffy clouds in the distance began to take on beautiful pink, orange and red hue’s while the dramatic black volcanic face created the perfect backdrop against the ever changing blue sky. This was heaven, or at least as close as we’ve come.
Almost any hotel in the main areas of Bali can arrange a Mount Batur trekking tour and they’re very reasonable. The sunrise tours are the very best views and are a right of passage. You’ll want to wear active clothes, conducive to serious exercise and supportive shoes. If you’re not in relatively good shape, I certainly wouldn’t attempt this, but if you are, it’s a must…