Monday, June 23

Lombok, Indonesia

(see on map) - mike: Due east of Bali lies the island of Lombok. Our first stop here, Sengiggi, supposedly was a happening resort town in the 90s. Now it is oddly empty. Aging resorts, some abandoned, populate a nearly deserted beach. Restaurants and bars were offering us enticing discounts to be the first in. Hawkers (guys selling stuff like rings and sunglasses) outnumbered the few tourist we saw probably by 2:1 and had an aura of desperation.

Regardless, the four of us made the most of it and in the end enjoyed our private beach and inexpensive drinks.

Where are all the people?

Shaun arranged our second Lombok destination; a three day trek to Mt. Rinjani crater. Similar to the alternate trail for Machu Picchu we would be led by a guide and have porters (vs. horses in Peru) to carry everything but our clothes. (see on map)

Day 1: Shuttle from Senggigi to the mountain town of Senaru. Meet up with guide and porters. Hike uphill for several hours to just below the crater rim.

Similar to the San Pedro Volcano hike in Guatemala (entry), there are hardly any switchbacks, just lots of straight up hiking. Thankfully we stopped several times to rest and eat snacks.

The porters carry gear with these teeter-totter style baskets connected with a branch. They make it look easy. It took me just a few seconds to appreciate the difficulty. It was heavy and awkwardly painful on my shoulder. Our guide mentioned the porters can go as fast or faster, carrying 100 lbs in sandals, than we can with no packs and fancy hiking boots.

Cemara Lima, the camp we stopped at. I'm trying to dry my grossly sweaty shirt.

Day 2: Wake early, hike up to the rim and down into crater. Visit hot springs. Return to previous night's camp.

Mt. Rinjani!

The new volcano in the center (Gunung Baru) was created during a series of eruptions in the mid 90s.

Reaching the rim was easy, next came a long, sometimes very steep (see above), descent.

We shared the hot springs with vacationing Indonesians who come here to fish and soak in the pools. Trin and Ang definitely turned their heads entering in bikinis, not in a good way though. All of local women were bathing fully clothed.

Here we are back at the crater rim. Several local kids were also hanging out.

It was freakishly windy on our last night. The sound of flapping tent fabric was super loud. Suffice to say we didn't sleep well.

Day 3: Hike back to Senaru and catch our shuttle to the port town of Bangsal, ferry hub for reaching Gili Islands.

We made it! Our guide (bright blue pants) and porter team.

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