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At around 5h I woke up to see the sunrise, but when I opened the tent, I saw nothing but smog. So, I went back to sleep and woke up at 7h, opened my tent and... WOW. I had no idea that was there! This beautiful lake with mountains on the backgroud was a beautiful view to wake up to.

 RA-Rakum on tend

Photo: by Rita Andrade

expected sunrise, but cloudy is come

RA-Rita on Rakum

Photo: by Rita Andrade

on Ranu Kumbolo


We arranged that we would start at around 8/9h, so I got everything prepared and they started cooking. I discovered that we would be joined by the group of 4 guys in the next tent - we would share our 6 people tent with them in the next location. But cooking took too long, they got late packing, so I went walking around.

As I did, I noticed that the ground was filled with garbage - tissues, plastic wrapers, cigarettes, food, plastic bottles... everything. It was desapointing, to say the least. This beautiful scenery being ruined by uncivilized people that decide nature is their garbage bin. After recovering from that chock, I climbed what they call the "Love Hill" - the myth is that if you climb it and look back, the person that you are thinking about will be in your life again. Love Hill=From camp area to up the hill (see the picture). I did exactly that, enjoyed the stuning view of Ranu Kumbolo from up there and came back down.

 RA-Love hill

Love Hill

Photo by: Leisuretime

As I was going down, There were 2 porters coming up that asked me to take a picture with them. One of them got my attention, he had a big smile and very exotic face, so I also asked for a picture from them. They continued their way up, and I went back down. They were still packing and everything, so I sat down waiting.

They told me I could go ahead and start, they would be right behind me. So I put my backpack and went back for the Love Hill. At around 12h30/13h they started. The Love Hill is steep, but in 5/7 minutes you are on top. And after that, you have a steep descent to a big vallee full of dry flowers that go up to 1,6m. It is a very spectacular view!

The path through the vallee is straight forward and in no time you get to post no.5 (Cemoro Kandang). We stopped there to have watermellon - never has it tasted so good for me! The porters cut it right there and it's unbelievably fresh and juicy.

RA-Cemorokandang on WMelon

On Cemoro Kandang

Photo by: Leisuretime


Well rested, I restarted alone as they needed more time. The hike from that point to the next was not an easy one - it's up all the way! And since I have the motto of "to stop is to die" (portuguese saying "parar é morrer") I could not let myself stop until I reached the next check point!

It was very hard, but maintaining a rythm and concentrating on the breathing is the key - even when I had to slow down, because the path was too steep, I did not let myself stop. When you stop, you let your heart rate go down, which makes it harder to bring back up and you get even more tired, and since the altitude was now above 2500m, that becomes an important thing.

So, breathing in with two steps, breathing out with to steps, always with the nose, never with the mouth. When I slowed down, maybe one step in one step out, and when faster, three steps in three steps out, but always trying to keep the breathing at a regular passe.

In about 40 minutes I was in the next stop (post no.6: Jambangan), where I found a group of Indonesians from Malang. I rested there, waited for my host that had left right after I did. While I waited, I observed a kind of bug that is all over that part of Semeru - kind of a flying scarab, golden colour. This bug exists by the thousands there, and it is probably the stupidest bug I have ever seen. It flies around, bumping into everything, always falling down on their back, spending 10 minutes struggling on the floor trying to get back on their feet. I have no idea how they survive as a species. As I got deeper into my reflexion about these silly bugs, my host arrived.


On Jambangan

Photo by: Leisuretime

He rested for a while and then we continued for the next stop where we would make camp and rest - Kalimati (post no 7)- a large savana with a little degrated house in the middle. Getting there was fast and easy, about 15 minutes of effortless walking. When we arrived, I almost wanted to run as it was such an open space surrounded by mountains! But pretty soon my enchantment was over, when I got to the camping place and saw how incredibly dirty it was.

I have no words to describe how angry I was - how is it that these people think they have the right to do this? Nature has no nationality, no one has the right to make it into their own personal garbage bin. There were PILES of gabage. It was disgusting. Recovered from the chock, I waited for the rest.

It was cold, so I got in one of the rooms of the degrated house and I find the porter with the big smile that took a picture with me in Love Hill. He was cooking, so the room was warm. Also there were two Indonesians, cleary from the city. They had great english, and after talking for a while I learnt they were doctors and were from Jakarta.



Photo by: Rita Andrade

Later on, we were joined by their two friends, also doctors. This would be their first mountain climb - brave people to choose Semeru as their first mountain. They were going to climb it at the same time as we were - at 11PM to watch the sunrise at the summit. Immediately I was glad that I would have 4 doctors present while climbing!

I talked about what I thought of the amount of garbage and was pleased to know they agreed with me. Maybe the mentality could change, I thought. I waited for about 1h for the rest of the crew. When they all arrived, they started making the tent so that we could rest before heading up to the summit.

Talking to Dimas about the garbage, he demonstrated also a big anguish about it - he is a defensor of the nature. He told me that actually the mountain would be closed from January to May, I think, to give time for nature to restore itself and so that they could clean it. I was very proud of the person who thought about that and I would hug that person very tightly if I met him/her


RA-Sampah jeans.jpg

Dimas is a defenser of the nature with bring piles of garbage.

Photo by: Leisuretime

Anyway, it took a while for them to put the tent up and then they started cooking. So resting was delayed for some hours, and only at about 18h could we finally have some rest. At 10PM we woke up, got geared up and met up with the rest of the group that was climbing with us.

So, it was me, my host and my guide; the group of 4 guys that were sharing the tent with us; and the group of 4 doctors. Also, we had 2 mountain porters with us - one of them was the selfie on the Love Hill guy. Before going, my guide explained to us some general guide lines of climbing - specially to be careful with the big rocks that might roll down the mountain. Also, all of us prayed together, even with different religions, each one prayed to their God. So, afterwards, we started.  


⇐ DAY ONE                                                                                                                                                                                                    THE SUMMIT⇒