Sunrise Trekking – Mount Agung – Bali, Indonesia
We’ve found and conquered some sweet hikes on our trip. The Concepcion Volcano in Nicaragua and Roys Peak in New Zealand both started right at sea level and topped out around 1,600 meters in elevation. Both hikes were very challenging, but rewarding experiences. Bali had a new type of hike in store for us: a sunrise trek, which involves hiking during the early hours of the morning to reach the peak of one of Bali’s mountains in time to watch the sun rise. Christine is still on the mend so she chose to sit this one out, but Kevin loves a good sunrise and is no stranger to exercising through the night, so he didnt hesitate to sign up.
In his typical fashion of taking things to the extreme, Kevin set his sights on Mount Agung, a dormant volcano that is the highest peak on the island. An email to a local trekking service secured a ride to the starting point and a guide for the trek. The driver showed up at our hotel in Ubud at midnight to take Kevin on a slow 2 hour ride to the Pasar Agung Temple, where his guide, Botak, along with 15-20 other guides and tourists who would be making the trek, were sipping coffee and preparing for the journey. The group set off at an elevation of 1,400 meters, and over the next 3+ hours climbed (literally, for the last third of it) to one side of the rim at 2,900 meters. Not long after finishing the ascent, the twilight begun. Everyone sat in awe, drinking coffee, eating Balinese snacks, and taking pictures as the sky turned into a rainbow of colors, until finally the sun peeked up over Mount Rinjani, an active volcano on the neighboring island of Lombok.
After spending a little more time appreciating the silence and incredible views, it was time for the fun part (according to Kevin) – the descent. Eager to put his trail running skills to use, he gave Botak the okay to go back down the mountain at whatever speed he was comfortable with. That was all Botak needed to hear. Steep inclines that were climbed up on all fours were now being carefully quick-stepped down. As the decline became less steep and rocky, the quick stepping turned to a slow and steady jog, which then turned into an increasingly faster jog as the terrain allowed. With a huge smile on Kevin’s face, and a shirt soaked in sweat, they completed the descent in just 1 hour and 15 minutes. Not bad!
Like the last two hikes, a picture just can’t capture how small everything looks from the top of a mountain. Mount Agung nearly doubled the elevation of our previous two hikes. The views were breathtaking, and getting to see a full sunrise up there was the icing on the cake. Perhaps our travels will one day take us to even higher places.