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  • Writer's pictureDeb Smithers

Mount Batur, Bali. Indonesia

Reaching the top by 50!

So now I have arrived in Indonesia for the beginning of my adventures and to celebrate that milestone age of 50? The big five zero! So, I have decided the plan for this day is to climb Mount Batur located in North Bali. Something I have always thought of doing so what better time than now as I am always up for a challenge, something new and exciting. Mount Batur is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas northwest of Mount Agung Bali. The southeast side of the larger caldera contains a caldera lake. The inner caldera is 7.5 kilometers wide. Many take the climb for the challenge and to reach the top by sunrise for the amazing views. Of course, what you would be wishing for would be perfect conditions without rain and cloud cover to fully experience this incredible view.

The morning of the adventure, after listening to the rain fall steadily the evening before I tried to keep confident. I was ready with my anorak coat, my Akubra, and how very Australian I was looking. I was picked up at 3.30 am and my driver assured me that the conditions for the hike will be perfect. After traveling for approximately 1 hour in the dark we reached the base of Mount Batur where the hike would commence. After meeting my hiking guide and a basic rundown of the trip ahead we were off. Sure enough in the first 15 minutes, that voice that often appears in my head began to scream..." What the heck am I doing this for? ". " The beginning of the hike is always difficult due to the altitude, but just go with it and control your breathing, you will adjust,' he says. Along the way giving an informative history of the mountain was in fact a good distraction from the difficulty of the long steep ascent. The hike up is steep and rocky. In the dark of the night, you can see far in the distance the torches of the hikers ahead going up the mountain and they appear so high up and so far away.

I persevere and as with many times in my life previously I am grateful for this incredible determination I have instilled in me to not give up once I have applied myself to something and it makes me feel a little stronger in fact to see the two 21-year-old German girls that have taken the hike with me gasping for air and wanting to turn back. I felt like I was not doing as poorly as I had first thought. My guide was patient, but I also had been informed at the beginning that we needed to reach the top just before sunrise to really experience the beauty from the top so that determination was in great form. As the morning light began to break through, I could really then appreciate this amazing mountain and the beauty of the landscape and surroundings.

The view was incredible and the closer I got to the top it became breathtaking. We reached the top just before sunrise and indeed it was the most perfect conditions I could have hoped for. The best way to describe what I was seeing was like being in what you imagined as a child heaven looks like. Above the clouds. Like a blanket spread over the mountain tops. It was dreamy. The guide prepared us a hot drink, bread, and boiled eggs cooked over the volcanic rock. The air was cool and a lovely relief after the long hike up. I sat on the top and watched with amazement the sunrise come to life and the brilliant colors forming through the clouds. It could not have been a better morning. I felt extremely lucky after such rain the evening before. We spent a couple of hours enjoying the sunrise, the views, and the monkeys waiting for any food they could have, or steal should be the better word. Brazen little things they are! I was thrilled to see that just at that moment as we were packing to head off and as if the hike so far just couldn't get any better, the famous active volcano Mount Agung in the distance let out one giant puff of smoke. To me, that was a definite highlight of the morning.

We began to make our descent down the mountain to head to Toya Bungkah hot springs. The therapeutic waters and at a balmy 38 degrees, it was the ultimate way to relax after hiking through the spectacular countryside of northern Bali. As I soaked in the waters, what better way to top off the birthday adventure than with an extremely well-earned strawberry cocktail in hand. What a wonderful way to turn 50, and of course that feeling of having completed the trek to the stunning Mount Batur.

  • Cost - $65 US

  • Fitness level - beginner to moderate

  • Elevation - 1717m

  • Ages 8+

  • Duration 9 - 10 hours

  • Hike distance - 11km

  • Included - Pickup and drop off, Breakfast, torches, entry to hot springs and English-speaking guide

Without new experiences, something inside us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.

Frank Herbert


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