Unexpected Adventure – Merapi Mount
What backpackers do when there are no available rooms in Yogyakarta? They go out for a spontaneous night climbing on one of the most active volcanoes on Java – Merapi Mount. Read how it all started: Unexpected Adventure – Prambanan Temple.
Blonde: Hi, are you looking for a room?
Me: Yes, I’m trying to find a room for over three hours without any success.
Blonde: Sorry, this one is full also. We do not have a place to sleep either (she pointed at the boy and girl who approached us), but we are going to climb the Merapi Mount at night. Wanna join us?
Me: Sure, why not.
And that’s how I ended up climbing one of the most active volcanoes on Java at night, instead of visiting the night market and relaxing on the beach. Of course I didn’t have any warm clothes or raincoat with me, so I asked the receptionist at the hostel, if he could lend me a jacket. He couldn’t, but he said we can rent warm clothes at the bottom of the volcano. We went to eat dinner and when we finished I started looking for a place where I could buy some raincoat – it was going to rain at night. One hour later we were already in the minibus, trying to take a nap during our three-hour journey to the bottom of Merapi Mount.
When we finally got to our destination, there were seven of us, seven foreigners who were going to climb Merapi Mount. We rented jackets, gloves and flashlights, drank hot tea, and followed our guides to conquer the volcano. Few minutes later there was unpleasant surprise awaiting for us – entrance to the trail cost 5000 for locals and 150.000 for foreigners! I tried to convince them that I am local person, but I failed.
The weather was not in our favor, it started to rain about 20 minutes after we entered the trail, so without stopping the march we put on our raincoats and kept walking. The first kilometer took us about an hour of walk, while the entire trail has about 6 km. At this first checkpoint we could rest a little bit and eat. Second kilometer of the trail also took us about an hour – 4km more to go. Getting to the third checkpoint took us about 1.5 hours. That checkpoint was located right below the peak of the volcano. It was the place where many people end their hiking trip, as it is quite dangerous to climb to the peak. We had local guides with us, who climb to the peak few times a week, so we’ve decided to reach the peak of the volcano.
This last part of our climbing was the most difficult one. At the beginning there was a lot of sand and small stones and every time we moved three steps forward, we were sliding back two steps. Next part of the approach was filled with lager stones, but it was quite dangerous. You had to put your steps carefully, not to slip on the stone, cause that would cause it to fall on companions who follow you. Several times smaller and bigger stones were falling down, but luckily noone was hurt. During that last part of our climbing, the sunrise started, so we tried to rush to the top, to make an amazing photo of sunrise from the peak of the volcano. When I reached the peak, a huge disappointment awaited me – it was foggy and cloudy all around us, so I wasn’t able to see the spectacular sunrise. Even without the spectacular sunrise, the climbing was totally worth it.
At the top we had a picnic and rest. Then we began the most difficult part – trek down the volcano. It was much more dangerous and scary, one of the girls was so scared that she was literally crying with her every step they took. Fortunately, there were no surprises during our trek down. To be honest going back to the third checkpoint was quite fun for me. When I reached the part with sand and small rocks I just slided down, as if I were skiing – there was a lot of laughter when I passed other hikers. During that slide my shoes filled with kilograms of sand, but it was fun.
The trek down, was much more difficult than climbing up, so we managed to reach the foot of the volcano around 10 o’clock. We ate pancakes filled with banana and chocolate in the house of our guides. When we filled our bellies, we jumped into the minibus and started the drive back to Yogyakarta. When we got there, I took the train to Klaten, where I live.