Turtle Climber

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The Journey began at midnight, a smooth 5 hours rode by bus with Sundanese Campursari Song played by the driver.

We stopped at a Mosque near City’s Statue, an usual stop point for all climbers, whether gone to Guntur* Mountain or Papandayan Mountain. The stop point was not only for pray, but also having breakfast, coffee, wait for next public transportation, and shared information between climbers.

We took a minivan to our guide’s home and start to walk to main post at the foot of the mountain at 10.30 in the morning.

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Along the way, we spoiled by the atmosphere; villagers who greeted you happily, kids who looked at you with their innocent eyes and ice cream on their hands, colorful fields and fishpond side by side until rocky path at the end of the village.

We registered our name at Guntur Mountain Main Post, fill our water supplies and start to climb this tiny Semeru* by noon –there was no waters along the way to the top of the mountain, so we should have enough water until we got back to main post–.

Climb this 7.379 Ft. stratovolcano mountain was quite a challenge. The first challenge was the path to first post, it only took 30-45 minutes but it feels like foreeeveeer… a savannah with 45-degree slope and some part was slippery, for me it’s hell’s climb. It took me a while to have my strength back before move forward to second post.

The slope to second post was more friendly, and there we start found fog, we need a whistle and headlamp to assure that we still at the same path, stop walk when the fog was very thick and move forward faster when the fog dissapeared.

The path to third post was across the dead woods, we found contradictive scenery between flowers at the gate of dead woods and trees without any leaf.. and we found another adventurous challenge from the mix between soil and black sands.

I was asked the local why they call it dead woods, they said it because all the trees were burned, the temperature at the mountain always remarkable during dry season.

Hiked the black sands with 30-degrees slope and carry huge backpack was never easy, I almost lost my temper several times… It is like, one step ahead equals two steps backward. I was grabbed the dead trees to help me maintain my step.

The third post located beween two hills at the end of the woods…the wind was freezy and crazy there, with fog come and go… we can’t stay there for long, so we choose one of the hill and climb it. Another 45 degrees slope with slippery sulfur-soil as the bonus…plus, some heated soil from the ground…image

Not quite a fortune, hard rain was came with rapid thunder and lightning when we arrived at the top, we move as fast as possible to the other side of the hill and going down to the valley, we won’t take any risk by stayed at the top of the hill with no tree at all.

We chose to stay 200 meters from the top and built the tent fast, we’re getting frozen by freezy rain and hard wind. Within minutes we built 4 tents, then we try to get our self dry, made dinner and hot drinks to avoid hypothermia.

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Bonfire and sleep under the milky way was impossible to happen, but we got beautiful hello from the sun in the morning, peek behind clouds shawl, embellished by hills and thick fog.

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As the sun goes up, we were packed and walked back to main post, easier from climbing up but as the Turtle in my team, I always be last person who arrived at the post, even though I start earlier from them…

Compared to me, they are like Cheetah, Kangaroo, Grey Fox, Giraffe, Ostrich, Blue Wildebeest, Deer and Antelope…

They always applause when the Turtle managed to step on the finish line and asked “everything’s good?”…
And the Turtle was happily said “always”.

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*Semeru: The highest mountain at East Java, 12,060 ft high.
*Guntur = Thunder

 

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