Hiking the Mighty Mount Rinjani, Indonesia
Featured destinations: Indonesia
Published 13 May 2016
image: Sophie ColeMeeting our portersThe only way to set your eyes on Lombok’s precious crater lake is a day-long hike up the mighty Mount Rinjani. And boy what a hike! Setting off early we met our friendly Indonesian porters. The only way I can describe these guys is that they are true legends. Whilst us mere hikers just about made it up to the top in our sturdy mountain boots, these pros practically ran up the cragged mountaintop with tents, equipment, and camping supplies precariously balancing on their heads, whilst booted out in (yes) flip-flops!
image: Sophie ColeSounds of the jungleThe hike was challenging yet rewarding. Winding our way along the hikers’ trail the path became steeper and wilder as we ascended. The natural surroundings became denser, a blanket of earthy green and brown tones, and less than an hour in we were trekking our way through thick Indonesian mountain jungle. Surrounded by exotic flora including fig trees, stepping up trails naturally carved out by the roots of ancient trees, it really felt like being at one with nature, away from the chaos of urban jungle life. The only sounds we could hear in the distance were resounding tweets from birds, the murmuring echoes of the monkeys chilling in the trees, and the happy chuckles from fellow trekkers, enjoying the ascent up this mighty mountain.
image: Sophie ColeLunch with the monkeysHalfway into the hike we stopped in deep lush forest for a spot of lunch. Here our group was suddenly surrounded by a group of long-tailed grey macaque monkeys hanging around in the trees, eyeing up our sandwiches and looking curiously at our diet coke cans. Echoing their high-pitched calls into the forest, it’s as if they were calling their buddies to come join the party. Sadly, having worked up quite an appetite we were too hungry to share with our long-tailed friends, but that didn’t seem to dampen their natural curiosity. After lunch we were feeling a little lethargic so had a ten-minute snooze in the shade of the verdant trees. Meanwhile the porters (our heroes) had continued the ascent with only a short break, as they hoped to set up camp before we reached the peak.Conquering the mountainOur trek continued, onwards and upwards, climbing up the earthy terrain through even denser forest. Towards the top, no longer surrounded by jungle, we had reached open rocks. The barren and rugged scree slopes were fully exposed, as were we. The ground became even steeper, the altitude higher, and instantly we were engulfed in the clouds. The view looking down was utterly breathtaking. But this was no time to stop; we needed to reach the top before sunset. And so we carried on the climb. As we neared the peak it became apparent that rock climbing was the way up. And so we ascended hoisting ourselves up the volcanic rock to the top, each traveller lending a helping hand to fellow trekkers like soldiers on the same mission: to conquer the mighty Rinjani!
image: Sophie ColeReaching the topReaching the top we were totally awe-struck. No photo can do the landscape justice. It was purely breath taking. The vibrant blue lake surrounded by a cragged natural crater. It was too much for words. As if that stunning view that still sticks in my mind now wasn’t enough, we were in for a shock when we set eyes on the opposite side of the mountain. In the distance the sun was setting behind the clouds. Only from our viewpoint we were above the clouds. It felt like watching the sunset from heaven. It was a purely memorable sunset and all-round day that will stick with me for the rest of my life. The rewards from our hike felt like magic to our eyes.
image: Sophie ColeSleeping on the mountainThe camping conditions brought us back down to earth. By nightfall the temperature dramatically dropped and it was pretty cold exposed up on those high mountaintops, so I would recommend layering up in plenty of warm clothes at night. Luckily our tents provided refuge away from the winds. But there was something mesmerising about camping atop that mountain. It all felt quite surreal knowing a natural beauty was our backdrop for the night.
image: Sophie ColeRelaxing in SenggigiCome morning we were up early to catch the equally magnificent sunrise before making our way down the mountain in about half the time we climbed up it. Following our hike we headed to Senggigi for a spot of pampering. There are plenty of spas, beach restaurants, and stylish hotels to chill out in around the area. The rest of our afternoon was spent indulging in full-on pampering (full-body massages, facials, pedicures, the lot!) followed by gorging on wood-fired made pizzas at the Lotus Bayview beach side restaurant with a pina colada in hand, watching another amazing sunset.For anyone who enjoys a challenge and a chill, Lombok and its mighty Mount Rinjani provides the perfect combination. The natural beauty of the sparkling crater lake is a wonderful sight to behold and it’s totally worth the hike to the top.Loving Lombok? Chat to our Experts for more information and to book your Journey to Indonesia.You might also like:3 Adventures to Have in Bali5 Things You Never Knew About Bali