As soon as I booked to travel solo to Bali, I began looking for some amazing adventures to have! The top of my list was hiking! I am such an active person that I knew I wanted to explore the country on foot.
I was reading and researching and kept coming across two mountains. Mt Batur and Mt Agung. Batur was widely more popular BUT … Agung was TALLER and a more difficult climb. I bet you can guess how long it took me to decide on Agung? HA! If you are going to climb a Volcano in the middle of the night to watch a sunrise … You go BIG or go home! There were even two options for Agung. The rim of the crater which was the most popular and easier because of the trek and the duration OR the summit. Once again. If I am climbing a Volcano in BALI I am going ALL.THE.WAY. to the top or not at all. Done and Done. I messaged the owner and it was set.
When I got to Bali I was traveling alone. I LOVE solo traveling!!! I can write a whole post about this later but to suffice, you don’t come home the same person when you travel alone. I randomly met a girl from Australia the first day in Bali and when we ran into each other a second time in a different place that same day we decided it was fate and that we would become friends. So naturally, I asked her on our first outing if she wanted to climb a Volcano in the middle of the night and watch the sunrise with me in a few days … Oh and it was like an 11 hour hike and it was hard as hell but it would be FREAKING awesome so she should do it with me. I knew she was a friend for life when she said YES! Why not!?! My type of girl!
We got picked up at 10:30pm. I had slept for about 3-4 hours before but when you lay down to go to bed at 5pm your body kind of sits there like … What the hell are you doing trying to sleep already? So I was in and out of sleep and knew adrenaline would carry me. We snuggled in for the hour and a half ride to the base of Mt Agung. It was pitch black outside so I couldn’t see where we were going but since it was night the usual Bali madness of traffic and driving was non-existent.
We arrived at the base camp and paid our money. Our guide gave us a pole, gloves and head lamps. I had a backpack of water and a TON of gummy bears and M&Ms stashed away. We got combined with another couple from California and their guide and as quick as we got there, we were ushered up the mountain.
The beginning 30 minutes was the absolute hardest! It was STRAIGHT UP from the beginning and about 3000 stairs. Or at least it felt that way. And since it was completely dark you didn’t know when those stairs would end. I was out of breath immediately and kept thinking in my head … I have done an Ironman so shut up and CLIMB! I have done an Ironman so I can get up this volcano. I have done a damn IRONMAN so quit whining in your head and just keep climbing. Plus you can’t look like a pansy already!!!!!
So we climbed in silence.
There was not one moment there was a flat.
We climbed approximately 5000 feet up in 4 miles.
After the stairs we started in the jungle. The path started to disappear and we were ducking under branches and plants. I was sweating like crazy almost immediately but thankful I had on my leggings. We finally took a break after about 40 minutes and it was much needed. Just to catch my breath and get our heart rates down. After a few minutes, we were off yet again.
Up Up Up …
The terrain changed to rocks and boulders. We caught up with another group of climbers so ended up in a group of about 10. We were making great time they kept telling us.
Initially I thought I wouldn’t need the gloves and pole but when we were rock climbing on hands and knees I realized how much of a necessity they were. I felt like Smeagle from Lord of the Rings climbing up the mountain!!! The only difference is that it was still pitch black so we couldn’t see the drops and ledges we were “avoiding”. We climbed up ropes and it was massively more technical than I anticipated.
When we got towards the top we needed to take a few breaks. We had made such good time and it was freezing toward the top and at the summit so we huddled together in crevasses and ate Oreos and gummy bears to fuel and keep warm avoiding the wind.
I have never seen such a beautiful night sky as I did on that mountain. You could see the Milky Way, Mars, Saturn, the moon, a million stars and constellations. It was truly breathtaking and spectacular. I’ll never forget the green of the Milky Way as long as I live.
Just keep climbing
Just keep climbing
Hands and knees. Which felt good using my upper body in order to give my legs a tiny and momentary break.
And then finally….
We were on the last stretch. We made our way up just a bit more and we reached the summit.
Looking out over the ocean we could see the dim light on the horizon of the sun beginning to light up the morning sky. Our little group of 4 huddled together and drank our coffee and ate our breakfast. It was honestly the BEST cup of coffee we all had ever had! Haha!
It was chilly on the summit. But the view was so inspiring we could hardly feel the cold. I watch the light grow brighter and brighter. And then finally … the bright red speck on the horizon appeared. The sun was beginning to break through and create a new day.
There are no words when you are on top of the world … in a foreign land … watching the most glorious element create a new day … new light … new life.
You just breath.
Let the LIGHT fill your soul and heart.
You let it change you.
We watched. We laughed. We took a million pictures.
When you climb a volcano with people in the middle of the night, you are bonded forever. Even if they are strangers. Nature and LIVING life brings people together. Experiences can shared universally. A love of LIVING is truly just part of humanity.
The sun made its way into the sky and we packed our gear for the trek down.
Which looked drastically different.
Mostly because we could actually SEE what we had just climbed and we were in shock! The ledges and boulders and how UNSAFE it seemed … haha! It is amazing how fear leaves when you can’t see the edge. Fear doesn’t have a chance to exist if your senses are dulled. Sight is powerful.
The decent proved immediately to be more difficult. It was jarring on the legs and I didn’t have the proper shoes so I was sliding everywhere. We had been up the entire night and the day before on only a few hours of sleep. We were tired and dirty yet our hearts were full. The views of Bali were spectacular on the way down as we could see the entire island.
Climbing down was the true test of endurance. By the last hour we were exhausted and frankly I was sick of falling and slipping everywhere. Note to self…next time I climb a volcano … wear HIKING BOOTS! HAHA!
At one point I slipped and fell onto a sharp stick. I truly believed I had impelled myself right under my armpit and asked my friend to look before I moved. By the grace of GOD, the stick stabbed me but slid down my skin instead of getting stuck in me. I was a bloody mess but I wasn’t impelled so I was ok with the situation … !!! I will have a nice scar … I kind of hope the rest of my life!!! … I want to look at it every day and say … Remember that one time I climbed to the highest point in Bali (a Volcano!) in the middle of the night to watch the Sunrise on the Summit??? Yeah…that scar tells a pretty kick ass story to me!!! And reminds me to grab each day and LIVE the shit out of it!!!
As we trekked down and hit the jungle terrain once again we saw monkey all around us. It was beautiful. We were tired but I took a few moments every time I felt the pain to just say to myself … You are trekking through a jungle surrounded by monkeys in Bali … How fucking RAD is that! It helped dull the pain and keep my head in a good place!
When we finally got to those stairs that I dreaded on the way up, I had never seen anything so glorious in my life!
To the ground. To base. I had done it! Over 11 hours later we returned to the car. We had just conquered the Volcano! If I wasn’t so exhausted I may have felt a little more Tarzan like but as soon as my butt hit that car I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
The drive home seemed long … When I finally got back to my villa I knew I was a different person than had walked in.
I was empowered.
I was full of the LIGHT of the SUN.
I was more ME than I had ever been before.
and most importantly I was STARVING!
I scarfed down some banana pancakes and fresh fruit they prepared for me and crashed in my bed. For hours!
When I got up, I rode my bike to the beach and got a 3 hour massage and it was absolutely blissful.
was completely rejuvenated and altered.
I don’t believe you can experience LIFE like this and not have a change of heart.
About your pure grit and strength.
To CONQUER all. To BE all. To LOVE all.
Life is for LIVING!
Experiences are more valuable than “things”.
Fill your life with so many rich experiences and journeys that when you return home you can share your newfound light and love with your family, community and the world.