Monday, August 31, 2009

Mt. Bromo

Mel, Me, Nancy and Paul
Stairs leading up to the crater
Enjoying the sunrise
Me, Mel and Nancy with Bromo in the background

Last weekend Melis and I, along with our friends Paul and Nancy went to Mt. Bromo.  A bus picked us up from Jogjia around 8:30am on Friday and we endured an 11 hour bus ride to Bromo.  We stayed at Cafe Lava, which is a great little hotel that is right next door to the park entrance.  It has incredible views and fairly good food.  When we arrived we checked in and ate dinner, I enjoyed sate ayam and a Bintang.  Shortly after eating we all went to bed.  

The next morning at 3:30 am we got our wake up call from the hotel staff.  We got dressed and grabbed our packed bags.  We took an hour long jeep ride to a vista point over looking the steaming and very much still active Mt. Bromo.  We arrived at 5am, there were a lot of tourists there so I quickly set up my tripod in the front row in order to get a good view while the sun began to rise.  The view was one of the most spectacular mountainous views I have ever seen.  Bromo is in the middle of a caldera which traps in the morning fog.  Bromo and a few other mountains were jetting out of the fog while the sun began to light up the sky.  Breathtaking!

After an hour we took the jeep back down to the base of Bromo where we hiked up to the crater.  It was an easy 30 minute hike up the path/stairs to the top of the crater where steam was actively seeping out.  After enjoying the views from the top of the crater we returned to Cafe Lava and had a nice breakfast.  The rest of the day we relaxed in the small, hilly town of Bromo.  I was very surprised at how quite and peaceful it was there.  We took motos (see video below) to another hotel Yoschi's and had hot chocolate.  Motos are great, it's a great way to see the countryside.  That night we ate at a the Bromo hotel restaurant, where the food was fairly good but nothing special.  The rest of the night we relaxed and chatted it up over some tea and cookies.

The next morning I got up at 5am and went to a look out point near my hotel.  It was nice to shoot the view from a different angle.  This time I could see both above and below the fog.  The fog was cutting through the mountains like it was trying to divide it in half.  It was quite peaceful and I chatted it up with a few locals who were also taking in the view.  After breakfast, we started our long, long journey home.  I know it's hard to believe this but the 11 hour bus ride was well worth the wonderful weekend in Bromo.

I will soon have more photos posted on my Indo photo blog.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Krakal and Sundak Beach

The swimming hole.  You can barely see Melis and Melanie

Melis, Nancy and Melanie

Locals catching some food

Last weekend Melissa, Melanie, Paul, Nancy and I went to Krakal/Sundak Beach, which is about a 2 hour drive from Yogyakarta.   We visited a few beaches up and down the nice stretch of empty real estate.  The beaches were very clean and the ocean was very choppy with double overhead waves. We saw only a handful of visitors and a few locals.  We basically had the place all to ourselves. When we arrived at 12  we relaxed on the beach, reading, talking and chill'n in the water.  Around 2 we walked down to the only place we found open and had some nasi goreng.  There, we met a guy that gave us a tour of the local beaches.  We wound up swimming in a beautiful swimming hole that was surrounded by bright green vegetation.  Due to the low tide there were many tide pools forming where some locals collected various sea life.  After a few hours we headed back to meet up with our taxi.  On the way we came across an amazing deserted resort up high on a cliff, over looking the beaches we visited.  The views from this place could beat most any beach front property.  We found a guy that was looking after the place to inquire how much it would cost to spend the night there.  Apparently they only open up the resort when a huge party reserves it.  It is not open for first come first serve customers. bummer!  The price was way too expensive anyway.  After that we headed back to the taxi and returned home.  Next time I think Melis and I will attempt to ride our moped there.  Melissa's Indonesian skills are good enough to get us directions if we get lost:-)

Here is a link to an interesting story behind Sundak Beach

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mt. Lawu

The closest thing I could find to a map
In the beginning

Jimmy and Melanie
Merapi steaming
Melanie pondering life
At camp drinking tea
Star trails over Mt. Lawu
Melis and Me at the summit
Me at the summit

Mountain shadow and Melis
Melis and me at camp, behind us is where we slept
This hut/area was made out of bottles and cans

This weekend Melanie, Jimmy, Melis and I set out to climb Mt. Lawu (10,712ft). Mt. Lawu is a spiritual mountain for Indonesians, many go to meditate at the summit. We left Jogja around 8am on Saturday.  We took a taxi to the train station, train to the town of Solo, taxi to a bus station, bus to Tawamanggu, then a local taxi/bus to the trailhead. In all it took us about 4 hours to get there. Once at the trailhead we ate some nasi goreng and noodles at a local eatery. 

With Jimmy leading the way, we started hiking around 1.  The climb was spread out into 5 check points, with the 5th being the summit. This helped keep our pace and provided a good resting spot.  The trail was well worn and easy to follow, it was not as steep as Merapi, however it was longer.  We reached cloud level as the sun was beginning to set.  This made for spectacular views, we even saw Merapi poking through the clouds.  Five and a half hours later with our head lamps on, we reached our camp which is about 600 feet from the summit. 

Camp is a little hut with a metal sheeted roof.  A few locals live up here and provide a place to stay for climbers.  We had tea and nasi goring for dinner and enjoyed a nice fire.  Around 8 we all huddled on the floor to get some sleep.  It was EXTREMELY cold at night and we had no sleeping bags or pads.  We didn’t even have adequate clothing.  Locals said it was around 32 degrees out at night.  Fortunately, a local gave us a tarp to put over us.  It was so cold that all four us bundled up to share each other’s body heat.  Even our heads were under the tarp.  After tossing and turning until 5am we got up and hiked the 15 minute climb to the summit to watch the sunrise.  It was beautiful!  The mountain was creating a pyramid shadow. 

We hiked back down to camp where we ate eggs and noodles.  Around 8 we packed up and hiked down.  We made it back down in about 4 hours.  From there we ate at a local eatery and started our journey home.

Time to give props:

Jimmy – Thanks so much for taking us on this trip.  Jimmy guided us through Indo’s public transportation and on the hike! Oh, and he hiked it in sandals!

Melis- Way to go babes!  Hiking her first 10,000 peak and doing it in style (spandex pants and argyle socks).  The looks locals were giving her were priceless.

Melanie- Continuing to add to her adventure resume of Everest base camp and Machu Picchu.



Elevation at trailhead: 6,400 feet

Summit: 10,712 feet

Time to summit:  5 hours and 45 minutes

Return time: 4 hours

**Sorry there have been no videos lately.  My point and shoot camera died:-(