|It's only four kilometers...straight up|
|The closer we got, the taller it grew|
Once we were well on our way up to the crater rim, we could watch the clouds roll up the mountain at our heels and finally submerse us. I remember reflecting on how there must be levels of silence just as there are various levels of noise because the silence of these clouds offered a deep peace.
At some point, when the trail became, as Tim said, "an endless stepper machine on the hardest setting," we could hear shouts of motivation from somewhere in the clouds above us. Soon, we met up with a gaggle of university forestry students who were taking a rest. They cheered us on until we joined them for a brief chat. We couldn't sit long because the temperature was dropping, but we were grateful for their energy. The students invited us to join them at 1am to start climbing to the summit, but we decided to stick to our guide's plan to leave at a much more reasonable 3am.
|This is what the climb looked like in daylight. I did not have the luxury of daylight.|
To the east was the spectacular sunrise, and the the west we could watch as Rinjani cast its shadow across its own crater lake and the neighboring island of Bali.
Back at the crater rim camp, I joined Tim for a large breakfast of banana pancakes while looking out over the rim. We were soon joined by one, then two, then an invasion of monkeys who were very interested in our breakfast. We may have annoyed our porters when we were too distracted by taking pictures of the monkeys to stop one of them from stealing our cup full of sugar for our tea. The little bandit ran down the hill with his prize, fighting off anyone who tried to share his bounty. We were amused, but we could tell our porters were not when they had to chase the monkey down the hill to retrieve the cup. Oops.
|A smiling Tim...so happy to be down the mountain|