I’m so excited to share this part of our trip because it was one of the coolest things I have ever done.
Evelyn asked me a few months ago if I would be interested in hiking up one of the volcanoes on Bali. I’m always up for a good hike and physical challenge so I agreed and boy am I glad that I did?! There are two major volcanoes that you hear about most people hiking; Mt. Batur and Mt. Agung.
Mt. Batur is the more popular choice, because it is a more typical hiking length. About two hours to summit, then an additional two hours down.
However, we were seeking something a little more challenging so we signed ourselves up for Mt. Agung. We did a lot of research before we went, so we had a pretty good idea of what we were getting ourselves into, and how vital it was going to be for us to hire a guide. I eventually had to stop reading reviews and blogs after they began talking about all of the people that die on the trek. (However, this is MOSTLY because they attempt the trail for the very first time without a guide.)
Our previous day was pretty jam packed and we arrived back at our hotel around 9:00 PM. I did try to lay down for a few minutes before our driver came to pick us up; so I think I did get a solid 30 minutes of sleep or so before I had to get up, pack my gear and head to the front of the resort for our driver to pick us up.
Evelyn on the other hand, just decided to power through and stayed awake until our driver arrived. Katie and Jandy were awesome, they walked down to see us off and Jandy discreetly took pictures of the driver while Katie discreetly got pictures of the license plate number in case we never came back #greatfriends :)! We got in the car about 11:00 PM and headed to the volcano which was 2/2.5 hours away. Evelyn got about an hour of sleep in and it was my turn to power through, because I couldn’t lay down in the car without feeling sick .
Unbeknownst to me, our guide that we have had this trip planned with for months, contacted Evelyn at 10:30 PM and said he had a ceremony he had to attend at the temple so his friend Made would be escorting us instead. It made me a little nervous at first, until we met Made and I could ask him how many times he had summited the volcano; to which he responded 300. Now, every blog I read said their guide had told them they had summited the volcano 300 times. CRAZY that they all have made this hike the exact same number of times isn’t it ;).
We arrived at our starting point, registered our names in a book in case we didn’t come back within a reasonable amount of time so that the local authorities could come looking for us, donned our headlamps and took off.
We were both a little nervous that we weren’t going to have enough layers of clothing because we got out of the car to begin the hike and it was so much cooler than it had been the rest of our time there. But our clothing choices were nothing short of PERFECT!
We began by climbing 300 stairs to get to the Pura Besakih temple, where our guide so reverently paused to light incense and send up a prayer. We continued on our trek in darkness and thank goodness it was as dark as it was, because coming down you can really see how treacherous the terrain is. Even in the beginning part of the hike, which is much like any normal hike through a forest, there are very steep drop offs and the trail is not very wide.
We actually began the hike around 1:20 AM and reached the summit JUST as sunrise was occurring; between 5:45 and 6:00 AM!
I stopped to get a few pictures of the sun beginning to come up before we reached the summit.
The last hour of the hike is just shy of straight up rock climbing. I sent pictures to Garrett to which he asked if we had harnesses and ropes (HA!). There are many places that our guide had to tell us where exactly to place our hands and feet, because one wrong step and you’re gone. Mt. Agung is considered the most sacred place in all of Bali and I jokingly was telling Evelyn it totally makes sense because the last 20-30 minutes I was sending up more prayers than I had probably sent up in the past 6 months.
But talk about an adrenaline rush once you’ve reached the top! The view is breathtaking. There were 8 of us (not including guides) at the top. A couple from Norway, a man from Serbia, a man from New York, and his girlfriend from Australia. It was so cool to share this experience with people from all over the world. apparently the Australian/American couple had another couple with them as well, who unfortunately had to bow out, about halfway through the hike.
There was also a shrine at the top, where once again our guide paused to pray and burn incense, before he made us the best instant coffee I’ve had in my life and offered us some other Balinese goodies. Honestly, I was on such a high the last thing on my mind was food. Unfortunately we didn’t spring for a helicopter to bring us back down 😉 so we eventually had to start our descent.
Evelyn captured a few great pictures of how steep the terrain was, but pictures and words will never begin to do it justice.
The descent took us about 5 hours. Poor Evelyn’s hiking boots gave her fits at the end and she hiked/slid down the mountain the last 45 minutes or so in my Birkenstocks. Our guide was so great to help us through the rough times though. He held her hand on the way down so she didn’t slide off into oblivion and there were a few points on the way up that he stopped to hold my hand as a realized that I have a stronger fear of heights than I ever realized ;).
We ended our hike around 11:45 AM and went straight back to quickly shower and have our other driver whisk us away for a two hour massage (which ended up being the best decision we made because neither one of us was sore in the slightest the next day!) #winning!!!
Overall one of the best experiences I’ve EVER had, and I would do it again in a heartbeat! It was great training for our Mt. Fuji trek next summer :). I’m so antsy to compare the two hikes. We’ve decided we think it will be apples and oranges. Fuji is 600 meters higher than this volcano, and the top is much colder, as well as lots of switchback trails, but hopefully no rock climbing ;).
❤ The Butlers