The morning after Jeff’s birthday, we awoke at 2:00 am to get ready for our pre-sunrise trek up Mount Batur, an active volcano about an hour’s drive from Ubud. Our guide picked us up from the hotel right on time at 2:30 am, and we made our way to the base camp, where we had a cup of Balinese coffee and got our flashlights ready for the pitch-dark climb. The trek started out fairly flat through the forest at the base of the mountain, but quickly turned steep as we got higher into the rocky cliffs. We were very glad to be the only two climbers with our guide, as we definitely needed some help navigating up the steep and sandy volcanic rocks. It was a long and difficult climb, and towards the end it was best just to take one step at a time and not think about how much further we had to go! We arrived at the peak of Mount Batur just as the sun was peeking through the clouds near Mount Agung, which lies to the east.
Luckily, the view from the top turned out to be extremely worth our hard work, and we celebrated with a Sprite from a vendor who climbs Mount Batur every morning to sell his backpack full of sodas at the top.
While we marveled at the view from every direction, our guide prepared us a scrumptious breakfast, including eggs cooked in volcanic steam, sweet buns, and a delicious fruit we’d never seen before called mangosteen. They’re the purple fruits next to the bananas.
As the sun rose over the mountains and through the clouds we could see all of Bali bathed in golden light.
We also saw a few more crab eating macaques at the peak.
The descent back to the bottom was faster and less tiring but rather hard on the knees. It was a relief to make it back to flat ground.
The rest of the day was spent in a state of disoriented relaxation, having scaled and descended a mountain before noon. An exhausting, incredibly beautiful day.