Thursday, June 5, 2014

Travelogue: NTU ODAC Trek Recce (Mt. Welirang)

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained."

It felt like it was only yesterday that we were in Indonesia. One week ago, I was in Indonesia doing a recce with 7rek committee. Now I'm back in SG suffering from post-trip syndrome... That aside, I shall do a blog post on this recce trip while my memory is still fresh.

Day 1 (Flight to Surabaya x R&R):

We met up at 9am in the morning at Changi ariport T1 for our 11:15am flight. Was really excited for the trip since it was my first time flying without my parents and my second trip with 7rek after the Berkelah Subcom Trip in September last year.

My whole family accompanied me to the airport to send me off. Felt so much loveeee on a Sunday morning!

Anyway, we checked in when everyone arrived at about 9:45am and went in to eat breakfast.

Photo credits to Denise.

After that, we were on our way to board the plane! It was my first time flying by JetStar. The flight wasn't too bad, we were either just talking or sleeping throughout the 2hr flight.

When we arrived at Surabaya airport, Emily, a friend of Cheryl's, was suppose to meet us there to help us get a car to the hotel. But scatter-brained me actually forgot to ask her where do we meet her when we were at the airport and so, I was panicking when I couldn't find her. It was my first time meeting her so I wasn't really sure how she looked like and what her contact number was. End up getting them to munch a little at the airport and thankfully, managed to contact her with the help of Cheryl. And turns out, Emily is Gladys' CJ classmate! Such a small world!

So Emily helped us book cars to the hotel (Hotel SWK 95 which we booked through Agoda for approx. $20/night) and she even drove us girls there in her family car too. Despite the name, the hotel seemed pretty nice for a budget hotel! The rooms were decent too! However Agoda screwed up the booking system and it turns out, there was not enough room available for all of us. So we had to move to another hotel which was of a lower standard compared to the one we booked. So disappointed. But thankfully we had Emily there to help us with the translation. Before the rooms were done, she suggested we go to the mall for dinner and if we like, we can catch a movie. Nina was still feeling unwell, so she decided to stay in the hotel to rest & Zul accompanied her. The rest of us booked a cab to a mall which was about 30-40 min drive from the hotel. We decided to watch X-men there since it only cost $5. Did a bit of window shopping before the movie but didn't get anything cause the price of the clothes there weren't exactly cheaper than SG. Emily couldn't join us for the movie so, before she left, the girls took a photo with her cause the rest of them were nowhere to be found.

After the movie, we decided to have dinner at Sushi Tei! In Indonesia, the price of Sushi Tei is half of what the price is in SG. No hesitation in deciding whether to eat or not. JUST EAT. Actually not only Sushi Tei, it seems like all of their F&B are cheaper compared to SG.

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to prepare to transfer to another hotel... So much hassle. We finally settled down and went to bed at like 1am. And I was totally having a hard time sleeping. Could't get to sleep somehow so I didn't sleep a wink that night.

Day 2 (Ascend to Mt. Welirang Base Camp): 

Surviving on no sleep, eye bags getting worse. Besides the point, we got ready to leave at 7am local time. However, we waited 2 hours for the driver to arrive because of a traffic jam. Hence we were 2 hours behind schedule. Everyone was just bored and just trying to catch some sleep but it was impossible to sleep comfortably on a sofa in such a hot and humid environment.

Photo credits to Zul.

So when the mini bus finally arrived, we made our way towards Mt. Welirang. It was about a 2 hours drive from Surabaya to Welirang. The rest pretty much slept along the way there but me being a light sleeper can't get to sleep as usual. So I was pretty much stoning throughout the ride.

We stopped at a restaurant to have our lunch near Welirang. And here's our first selfies of the trip! hahaha.

 Photo credits to Zul.

  Photo credits to Zul.

 Photo credits to Zul.

After lunch, we travelled for awhile more and reached Welirang's rangers station & we finally began preparing for our climb. It was already about 3pm at that time. We were way behind schedule... meaning we had to climb into the night since it was a 6-7hours trek up to the base camp. At that time, 6-7 hours of trekking didn't really sink in yet. I was still quite excited and chill, thinking "how hard can walking up a mountain be? Not like we're gonna run up." Well, I was about to regret saying that. But first, mandatory photos before the climb (;

Photo credits to Zul.

 Photo credits to Zul.

Photo credits to Zul.

After preparation, we began our 6-7hrs long trek to the base camp. Right from the start, it was already quite steep. Not what I had expected at all...

Reached the first water/rest point after about 30 min of walking.

Photo credits to Zul.

Not before long, we were in the clouds. It felt like we were in Narnia. Hahaha. The weather was cooling and so it wasn't that hot. We trekked for about 3 hours and the sun began to set. At that point in time, I was quite exhausted already, considering this is my first time trekking for so long and trekking at such high altitude.

Since there were 15 people in total, we split into 2 groups because during night treks, we had to keep close to each other for safety. So here's my part of the group with our guide for the trip Dedan! (:

 Photo credits to Zul.

Photo credits to Zul.

Shortly after we continued our ascend, night began to fall. As if trekking in the dark wasn't bad enough, it just had to rain too. At first I wasn't too concern with the rain, since I thought I had my waterproof jacket and trek pants etc. with me. So we just put on our rain gear and continued trekking. But a few minutes into the trek, I was feeling so cold. And I was feeling drenched... Turns out, the rain gears I thought were waterproof, weren't waterproof at all. So I was soaked. At that point in time, I just collapsed mentally. Everything I prayed not to happen, happened in the end. I felt so exhausted, thinking "will I ever make it up there". But there wasn't a choice. I had to continue upwards cause there was nowhere else to go. Began tearing and breaking down. Felt like I was such a burden to the group at that time. It was a terrible terrible feeling. But everyone was so nice. They were offering food and drinks, telling me to take it slowly, one step at a time & just being by my side as I crawled my way up. That was something I will never forget. Found myself hugging Gladys so tightly and I didn't want to let go. It wasn't only for the warmth cause I was feeling cold. But more for the feeling of security. I needed to know that everything will be alright. 

So throughout the remaining few hours of the climb to the base camp, I was constantly thinking if I would be able to make it to the summit for sunrise the next day. I could already feel my body giving way. Caught the flu bug, head pounding, heart beat racing fast. All I did was constantly praying for God to give me the strength to carry on, at least until we reached the base camp. And thankfully, with the help from the rest of my group, we reached the base camp at about 8:45pm, an hour behind the first group. 

When we reached the base camp, I really had that sudden urge give everyone a big big hug, especially everyone from my group. But we all had to quickly change out from our wet clothes and get dry ASAP cause it was freezing cold. So I placed that thought aside for now. Thinking probably I could do that after the trip ends or something. (Well sadly, it never did happen in the end. Regretting quite a bit now that I think about it...)

Besides the point, we changed into our dry clothes and thermal wear, and waited for dinner. Ate dinner at about 9:30pm/10pm. After dinner, we had a short briefing about the night climb. We were to meet at 2am to begin our night climb. So we quickly went back to the tent, pack our daypack for the climb later and went to bed, trying to get as much sleep as possible. However it was hard, considering how cold it was, even after wearing thermal wear and thick wool socks. Still I managed to get an hour or two of sleep cause I was so exhausted after the 6-7hrs of climbing.

Day 3 (Mt. Welirang Summit): 

So we all woke up and met at the dining area at 2am to prepare for our climb to the summit. We had to climb another 3 hours to reach the summit. When I woke up, I suddenly felt nauseous and suddenly puked in the tent. It was my first time vomiting in years. The feeling was horrible ): Could feel my whole throat burning up and the previous night's dinner stuck in my throat. Felt better after vomiting so I just ate a piece of toast they provided. After the light meal, we began our trek to the summit. 

Felt nauseous on the way up to the summit again and puked... This time, all over my hair cause I forgot to tie it up. Gross much. Cleaned up with help from the rest and continued with the climb. 

We saw the sunrise on the way to the summit. It was such a pretty sight. I don't think the photo does it justice, though that's the best shot I could get of it.

 Photo credits to Zul.

Photo credits to Zul.

So well, after literally crawling up the volcano like a snail, I finally made it up to the summit. After all the sweat, tears and puking, I actually made it up there. This might not be that tough for people who trek & train often, but me being me, underestimated this trek and well, I was just glad I could make it up to the summit in one piece.

A mandatory photo on the summit! *Victory dance*

Everyone made it up to the summit but well, some of them disappeared before we had a group shot ): That was really wasted.

Photo credits to Zul.

Photo credits to Zul.

After all the photos, we had to make our way down back to the base camp. Was feeling so lethargic and just wanted to lie down and sleep under the warm sun.

While descending, I vomited once more ._. But after puking, I felt so much better I could fly, literally. After Yutai gave me some pointers on how to make use the Trekking pole while descending, I was running down the terrain, actually having fun playing "stepping stones". Did I mention, I "stole" Choong's trekking pole and turns out, throughout the whole 4 days of trekking, it was truly my life saver. It saved me on numerous occasions and prevented me from falling as well. Thank you Choong for lending me your trekking pole!

The view was really pretty, almost perfect for a photoshoot! Only problem is that, it is not very accessible considering you need to trek for 6-7 hours up a steep volcano. Hahaha.

So we reached base camp and waited for the rest to arrive. Had our lunch before starting our descend. Gladys was running a fever + vomiting and diarrhoea too. So Zul accompanied her to wait for the Jeep to bring them down while the rest of us proceeded with the descend.

I was having fun playing with the trekking pole again, but after about an hour into the descend, my energy level depleted and my knees and toes were hurting from the impact of the steep descend... So I slowed down.

Wenyi suddenly slipped and fell because she stepped on a mossy rock. Thankfully the fall didn't hurt her back but because of that fall, she became extremely careful and slow with her steps. Somehow the descend felt even longer than the ascend. So we trekked into the night again. Third time trekking with our headlamps already. Starting to dislike it...

Finally reached the ranger station at about 7-8pm where the mini-bus was waiting for us. The driver brought us to a clinic for Gladys to see a doctor before heading to a restaurant for us to have dinner. After dinner, we headed towards our Bromo homestay. It was a long and winding ride up the mountain. We were all just resting and catching up on sleep.

Reached the homestay at about 11pm/12am. The girls took turns to bathe and quickly headed to bed. We had to meet at 2:30am to make our way to Penanjakan View point to see the sunrise. So that concludes our day 3 of trek recce in Indonesia & we conquered the first peak of our recce, Mt. Welirang!

Read more on my trip to Mt. Bromo and Mt. Merbabu as well!

No comments :

Post a Comment