Saturday, June 7, 2014

Travelogue: NTU ODAC Trek Recce (Mt. Merbabu)

Day 5 (Mt. Merbabu):

After preparing and changing into our trekking gears in Suroto's house, we set off for Mt. Merbabu at about 12am. We had 6 guides with us on this trek, which actually turned out to be a good thing since we got split into 3 groups (or was it 4) in the end. Originally, we were suppose to climb Mt. Merapi, but due to the recent volcanic activity on Merapi, we changed to Mt. Merbabu instead.

We walked on proper footpaths up till the starting point of the climb. From the starting point onwards, we walked on soft ground. Not sure if it's soil or volcanic ash. Mt. Merbabu is also a volcano but it's a dormant volcano, unlike Merapi, which is still very active.

So, our 5-6 hour ascend began. The terrain was steep too. But unlike Mt. Welirang, it was literally like climbing stairs. Thankfully I had Choong's trusty trekking pole once more, and it became my extended hand, helping me up those steep "stairs".

Stuck with the group though most of the trekking, though my tummy gave me trouble again. Seemed like high altitude is really not my thing cause I was feeling light-headed as we trekked higher. 

Anyway, pushed myself up slowly but well, after 4 plus hours of trekking, I was just too exhausted to carry on... It was getting way too uncomfortable. #girlproblems . The guide who was with us had to pull me up to Pos 3, literally. Hahaha. When he said that there were 7 Pos in total to reach the summit and that the climb from Pos 3-4 (or isit 4-5) is the steepest, I didn't want to move anymore. So, since the sun was about to rise in a few minutes time, we decided to stop at Pos 3 to watch sunrise. The guide seemed happy that we didn't want to continue anymore. Hahaha. 

So he set up a small camp fire and woah the fire was soooo warm! & we waited for sunrise.

The view was spectacular even though we were only at Pos 3.

 Throughout most of the trek, you'll get to see these white Edelweiss flower. It is quite a pretty sight (: These flowers can be found in most mountains in Indonesia at high altitude.

That's Pos 3, where the tents are. And I'm guessing Pos 4 is at the top of that peak...

We climbed a small peak to get a view of Mt. Merapi.

And that's Merapi behind us!

 Photo credits to Zul.

Photo credits to Zul.

So after about an hour or so after spamming photos and taking the "360 panorama selfie video shot" (still waiting for Choong to upload the videos) , we began our descend from Pos 3.

 Photo credits to Choong.

Photo credits to Choong.

Originally ATC Step Up chill team - Zujawech, to chill team climbing Mt. Merbabu. Hahaha. Gladys was suppose to be in our team for Step Up before she swapped with Wenyi.

The view was breathtaking while we were making our descend back down. Couldn't help but just spam photos here, there, everywhere.

Photo credits to Choong.

 Photo credits to Zul.

 Photo credits to Zul.

Photo credits to Zul.

And on the way down, Gladys kept asking the guide what kind of vegetables were those in the plantations. Then she asked if can pluck them. & he just went into one plantation field and pluck a bunch of carrots for her. OMG. Hahaha. Gladys and her carrots. So she went to wash and ate them. Freshly harvested carrots.

We even stopped by a convenience store to get drinks.

At the convenience store, we were suppose to take a motorcycle ride back to Suroto's house. But I didn't want to, cause well, I don't think it's safe especially on such a winding road. Told the rest to take the ride while I walk back, but they said they'd walk with me. The guide was quite pissed when we didn't want to take the ride :/ But anyhow, we just took our drinks and walked.

Actually we didn't know where the house was. We were brought to the starting point at 12am and we couldn't really remember where we came from. We thought it will be easy to figure our way there initially. But it turns out, when we reached a crossroad, we had to make a choice to go down, or to go straight. 3/4 of us decided that down was the correct way, based on gut feeling, so we just walked down a slope, passing by more houses. However, when we reached the bottom of the slope, Zul stopped and asked someone if there were more houses further down the road but the person said no... DAMN. We had only 2 choices left: 1. To walk back up the steep slope. 2. Continue walking further down, try to get out of the town & find signal on the phone to call for help from the rest.

While we were deciding, suddenly there was this lorry which was approaching us. Zul quickly flagged down the lorry and asked the driver if he could drive us up the slope, since he was heading upwards too. The kind driver actually agreed! OMG. We were sooooo thrilled and quickly boarded the lorry.

So the driver drove us all the way up the steep slope and guess who was at the top of the slope waiting for us? The guide! Omg. He was so worried when we he couldn't find us that he travelled to and fro the homestay and the convenience store. We thanked the driver for his kindness and got off the truck. Laughed like mad when we saw the guide but feeling so ashamed at the same time. So for the rest of the road back down to Suroto's house, we had another guide to follow us throughout. He was riding his motorcycle while we strolled down. I bet he was thinking that if he left us for another second, we might just disappear again. Hahaha. So after walking for about roughly 30-45min, we finally reached the house.

Rested and started packing our stuffs while waiting for the rest to come back. They even served us piping hot home-made banana pancakes which were really yummy!

The rest came back at around 12pm and they all looked quite shagged and sun burnt! They rested for awhile and packed up before we headed to the hostel (Edu Hostel) in Yogyakarta town. It was about a 2hr drive to the hostel so we slept on the way.

Edu hostel was really nice! They even have this rooftop area which has a dipping pool. We had the private 4-bed private dorm which had 2 separate showers! Just perfect for the 5 girls since we were sharing a room.

The roof top is a really nice place to chill at night, but too bad it closes at 10/11pm.

So after resting for awhile, we headed to the nearby night market for dinner and some shopping. It was really crowded then. It felt like I was in Chinatown during CNY period. Didn't get anything there though. Was feeling really tired that day so after walking for awhile, decided to head back to the hostel to rest with Wenyi, Nina and Yutai. But we forgot that the key was with Denise. Ended up going to the 2nd floor "chill area" of the hostel where they have guitars, soccer tables, bean bags etc. and slept there while waiting for Denise to come back.

Went to bed at around 11pm when Denise was back from her shopping and slept like a pig. This was the longest and most comfortable rest I've had on the trip so far. What an adventure we've had that day despite not making it up to the summit (':

Read more on my trip to Mt. Welirang and  Mt. Bromo ! (:

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