A Hike To Remember - Part 1 (Guest Post)

8:08:00 PM

Hi guys, #Undecided here...

Yes, still very much preggers... 

You know how pregnancy makes me so lazy to write (much to #Pink's annoyance), but from laziness spurs great ideas, like this one: INTRODUCING OUR GUEST WRITER....
Dermy a.k.a. Dermster a.k.a. #TheNerd (sorry, Ster, I just copied what your wifey calls ya LOL)

I've known him since forever and I've been telling him that he should pick up on writing as a hobby or a career or something because he's damn good (and I don't say this often!!). Finally his wife made him watch Gossip Girl *muffled laughter* and Dan Humphrey spoke to him (damn you Ster, how come you trust him more than me?!).

Anyway, long story short, please enjoy the first installment of his awesome trip to Ranu Kumbolo. What's that, you ask?! Well just read on!!


How could a mere lake drew our attention, piqued our interests, motivated our long hours of research and planning, and eventually compelled us to visit it ? Well, apparently this particular lake did. It's Ranu Kumbolo. Tell me if this doesn't look beautiful.
Well, I'm definitely not a writer of any sort, nor had I the plan to write and share our journey to more than my small circle of friends and family (EDIT from #Pink : So much for that huh, Derm? Now you're sharing it with OUR readers hahaha). But this journey is too memorable and beautiful for me, it makes it a crime not too share. And this is not a blog article on how to get there, but more of my experience and feelings about this little journey.

And I need to tell you who we are. We are a group of 10. Only a few of us are outdoor junkies, me being one of them. But almost none of us are used to camping. Most of us had never slept in a tent before, let alone setting them up. A couple of us knew how to do it, but knowing and regularly doing them are very different things.

Lidya Fong, started to do some research on how to get there, when to get there, what equipments to bring, etc. First, we needed to estimate when the milky way would have a good visibility. We consulted with a few astronomy enthusiasts, from what we gathered, we decided the date would be on 22nd of August 2015. Then, we needed to know the gears to prepare, and where to get them. We found a website that rents out these outdoor gears. To our surprise, they were not as expensive as we thought they would be. We rented: tents, sleeping bags, mattresses, winter jackets, LED lighting, nesting pans, outdoor stoves. 

The journey starts from my home on 21st of August. My home became the base camp for our little group of 10. By about 6.30 am in the morning, we were ready to leave with our gears. Our rented car arrived and then we headed straight to Tumpang. At about 8am, on the highway, our rented car run over a metal object and did quite some damage to the car. The oil leaked badly and in no time, the car ran out of oil and just couldn't go on. The driver asked for another replacement car. We waited on the side of the road for about 2 hours.
The replacement car came around 10 am, we left immediately after transferring the equipments. The journey was not very pleasant. The air conditioner in the replacement car was faulty. But no big deal, we were heading for our destination and we were stoked.

We then arrived in Tumpang at about 12:30 pm, where we were supposed to switch to a jeep without a rooftop. Soon our equipments were strapped up on top of the jeep, Ivana and Vita sat in the front, and the rest were standing on the trunk of the jeep. Our expectations of a wonderful outdoor excursion started to warm up. Next destination: Ranu Pane.  

The journey to Ranu Pane was a beautiful one. Misty uphill roads, crop fields, cliffs, and views of mount Bromo with its surrounding dessert. We made a quick stop near the top to take some magnificent pictures.The journey continues to Ranu Pane. 
We arrived at Ranu Pane around 3 pm. We had to fill in some forms stating our belongings, everything needed to be accounted for, how many pair of shoes, carriers, sleeping bags, tents, even plastic bags, mineral water bottles, chocolate bars, etc. You can imagine. But since I was rather reluctant to unpack our carriers, I decided to just made an estimate, hoping if something went on, we could talk our way out of it. After filling out the forms, the volunteers gave out a small briefing. There were other groups of hikers in the hall, from Jambi and Tangerang. 
The briefing ended around 4 pm. I then proceeded to the registration booth, paid the tickets for the 10 of us, then we had lunch. Lunch tastes really good when you are hungry and cold. After gearing up for the cold hike, we departed the base camp, Ranu Pane. The clock showed 5.15 pm. I usually like to track my hike using GPS on my phone, but since it would be along trip, and we expected to not come in contact with a wall socket for another 24 hours, I decided not to track.
From the base camp to the first checkpoint (Pos 1), it took quite a few hours. The sun had set when we arrived at Pos 1. The hike was taxing for our untrained physique, but mostly because we were not used to carry the extra weight on our shoulders. Me and Frans, we each carried about 15 kg of extra weight. Shuci and Ave carried about 10 kg of extra weight. I think it was around 7 pm. The thought of turning back to base camp were present, but we braved on to the next checkpoint, Pos 2.

The distance to Pos 2 was quite short, we arrived there not as exhausted as arriving at Pos 1, somehow, that gave us a positive suggestion, and boosted our spirit. We took a shorter break at Pos 2. By this time, our bodies had adjusted to the hike, so it felt less tiring, compared to the hike from base camp to Pos 1. The short distance from Pos 1 to Pos 2 also suggested that we could reach the next checkpoint in no time. The morale of the group was high, we then marched to Pos 3.

The group stayed strong the whole time, no complaints (not too much anyway). We worked together as a team. Everybody was so motivated to see the not-yet-in-sight-fabled lake of Ranu Kumbolo. We also met fellow hikers along the way. We were not alone out there. Everyone was well prepared and geared up.

As the night grew darker, the celestial objects shone brighter. The dark cloudless night sky was decorated with countless stars, like diamonds in the sky. And the half moon couldn't be brighter. That was one night to remember.

The trail to Pos 3 was long, but not steep. The group stayed strong, even though the burden (literal burden) we carried on our shoulders hurt a lot, we fought the pain, and carried on. Kudos to the girls who carried almost 25% of their own body weight. By the time we reached Pos 3, our body was aching, mostly due to the weight of our carriers. We took a longer rest at Pos 3. And since the night was getting colder, we decided to put on our winter jackets.

Right after Pos 3, we were greeted with a steep uphill climb. I said to myself: Bring it on! We already knew, the path from Pos 3 to the lake would be the most challenging. So we soldiered on. It was dark, cold, and dusty. Our morale started to drop due to fatigue. Oh how I wish there were a product that could make the fatigue, gone. Oh wait, there is:

The frequency of complaints in the group started to rise, and the pain on my shoulder and right leg starts to really become annoying. I know other people also felt the same. But we kept moving on, working together as a group of strong minded people, who shared the same goal. Then, we saw the dim artificial lights in the distance below us. Hope kicked in. We knew it was the camping ground.

We picked up the pace, but then something unfortunate happened. Ivana sprained her ankle. From the look of it, she was in a great deal of pain. We stopped to let her recuperate a bit. Then she bravely decided to move on. We then marched on slowly to our destination. As we moved closer to the camping ground, the gusts of wind get stronger. The bearable cold night air suddenly becoma less and less bearable.

Finally, we reached the camping ground. It was around 12.30 am. There were already tents, but we didnt see anybody outside. Everybody was excited for it, except, we didn't expect it to be that windy. We knew it would be cold, but the wind gave the sensation of a much lower temperature. We had to erect the tents as soon as possible. In our group, Sherly was the only one who knew how to erect a tent. The guys (Me, Frans, Albert) then started to unpack one tent, laying them out on the cold dark ground, and let Sherly instruct us how to do it. Meanwhile, I was still wearing my shorts, then I put on my long pants. Apparently Frans also knew how to erect a tent, but wasn't sure either, so he and Sherly both combined their one-time experience. Apparently it was not that difficult. But in order to erect the tent, I had to take off my gloves. It was excruciatingly cold, but we had to do it. So one tent successfully done. The 10 us then rushed in to take shelter.

Inside the tent (supposedly for 4) filled with 10 people, we felt warmth and started to regain our sanity and logic. We had some cookies and rested a bit to think. With our new experience, I knew we could erect the next tent quickly and easily. So only me, Frans, and Albert needed to get out of the tent to erect the next one. Before going out, I checked if everybody was feeling okay and healthy. Everybody was, except for Lidya. After getting in the tent, she didn't get any warmer. I suddenly feared for hypothermia. The girls then started to add clothes, gloves and socks on to her. The boys got out of the tent to erect the next one. Albert was holding the flashlights, me and Frans connecting the poles and the tent. There were 2 points where I needed to take off my gloves to complete the tent. Those, I dreaded.

Eventually, the second tent was done. Then we split into 2 groups. Me, Lidya, Frans, Albert, Ave in one tent, Sherly, Silvy, Vita, Ivana, Shuci in the other. Me and Ave were trying to warm Lidya up by rubbing her and giving her food, then wrapping her in a sleeping bag. At this point, all Lidya could think of was getting back home. The same can be said about me. The cold wind got the best of all of us.

– end of part 1 --

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  1. Thanx, #pink. So this is how being featured feels like

    1. #pink is M, and #undecided is P? Okay. So thank you #pink and #undecided. I don't know who is who yet. Excusez moi

    2. Lemme quote myself:
      Hi guys, #Undecided here...
      Yes, still very much preggers...
      Now you know, you're welcome hahahaha...

  2. my God, awesome journey.
    I wish I did what you guys did when I was younger.
    Now, I can only enjoy your story. :D

    1. I wish we're as adventurous as our guest writer! Thx for reading ^^