|Sendang Gila Falls, Gunung Rinjani National Park, Lombok, Indonesia|
After a few days in Bali, I ferried to the neighboring island of Lombok to climb one of Indonesia’s most wonderful volcanoes. Mount Rinjani is an active mountain of fire that rises to 3,726 m (12,224 ft), making it the third-largest volcano in the country. The first historical eruption occurred in September of 1847. The volcano and its sacred and spectacular Segara Anak crater lake are protected by a national park established in 1997. Galang Ijo Expedition is a tour operator based in Senaru village that arranged my two-day climb to the crater rim of Gunung Rinjani. More difficult treks take three to four days up to the summit, the highest point of the crater rim.
|Hiking through lush tropical forest to the crater rim of Gunung Rinjani|
A six-hour climb brought up though thick and lush jungle. My hiking guide, Lhuna, was friendly and accommodating. As there are only very few hikers during this time of year, we were lucky enough to spot endangered Javan lutungs (ebony leaf monkeys) high up in the rainforest canopy. Unlike the aggressive grey long-tailed macaques, these primates are extremely shy. “They are very scared of humans because they used to be hunted down,” explains Mr. Sapri of Galang Ijo Expedition,”Eating the heart of a black monkey was believed by locals to be a cure for asthma.”
|Spotted rare Javan lutungs in the rainforest canopy!|
We camped out at Pos 3 campsite. A couple of fierce-looking long-tailed macaques stalked our camp, looking out to steal some food. I spent the rest of the afternoon snoozing in my tent until nightfall.
Unfortunately, when we reached the crater rim after three hours from the campsite the following morning, the view of the crater lake was obscured by rain and fog. So I definitely have some unfinished business on Gunung Rinjani, and will hopefully attempt a second climb during the dry season. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the journey to the top, especially spotting uncommon animals like the lutung, which would have been harder to spot during busier times of the year.
Back in Senaru village, I dropped by the Sendang Gila waterfalls, a tall cascade that emerges from the side of a verdant hill. The trailhead to the falls is conveniently located across the headquarters and restaurant of Galang Ijo Expedition. It was a refreshing detour after the climb, before being driven back to Lembar port to return to Bali.
HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Lombok cheaply from Bali, one can catch a Perama shuttle bus (2-3 hours, IDR 60,000) from Kuta to the Padang Bai pier, where a car ferry will take you to Lembar port (4 hours, IDR 36,000) in Lombok. Alternatively, you can fly from Denpasar to Lombok on Merpati Nusantara Airlines (45 minutes, IDR 420,000 return).
Galang Ijo Expedition can arrange treks to Gunung Rinjani from Senaru village. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; or call the very helpful and accommodating Mr. Sapri at +62 81917404198. For more information, visit their website: www.galangijo.com. They can arrange transportation to pick you up at Lembar port or Lombok International Airport.