by Kristine, Co-Director, Jakarta
I booked a 3 day/2 night Mt. Rinjani climbing package and, I must say, my tour operator and climbing guide and porters offered excellent service. But 2 hours into the climb, I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. At first, it was idyllic – gentle slopes, grassy fields, and a herd of cows with bells around their necks gently clanging as they mooed and meandered and grazed; I felt like I was in The Sound of Music. But then the slopes became less gentle and the cows disappeared and I was sweating and heaving my way up the mountain.
This would mark the next 3 days of my life. Going up, there were parts of the trail that were so steep and slippery that I genuinely didn’t know how I would make it because I kept sliding back down. Like everyone else on the mountain, I slipped and slid my way up and was relived to make it alive and with all my limbs intact. Descending was just as difficult, and I confess that by day 2 as I stared at yet another ridge to climb in order to get off that darn mountain, I passionately hated myself, since I could have, at that very moment, been binge watching Game of Thrones in a luxurious hotel room somewhere.
Eventually, after much misery, slipping, sliding, scrambling, and American Ninja Warrior style rock-climbing, I made it off Mt. Rinjani. I hated every minute of those 3 days but I’m still glad that I went even just because I heard the volcano rumbling like thunder then saw it belching out smoke, while I clung to a broken railing trying not to break my fool neck as I snapped a photo.
Sigh. It was beautiful.