We set-off from the hotel at 4am for the Mount Inerie (pronounced as “inner ear”) trek. It was a 20 min car ride from the resort to the trailhead at Watumeze village (~1100m). The first 30 min of the trek was along flat terrain with ample tree cover, after which we emerged out of the tree line and saw Inerie’s Peak smiling at us under the starring sky. There was very little trees; most of the vegetation were either grass or shrubs. It was a steep up-slope climb all the way to the crater rim (2,115m). The afar mountains and meadows slowly revealed their features as daylight crept down from the horizon. We saw the beautiful conical volcano – Mount Ebulobo – in the distance. It looked extremely steep to us and were relieved that we didn’t go for Mount Ebulobo only to be corrected by our guide that Inerie was even steeper than Ebulobo.
It took us about 3 hrs to reach the 1st peak. From the 1st peak, the trail to the 2nd peak (summit) looked incredibly steep and precarious. The final push to the summit took about 45 min. We were basically trekking along the crater rim to the summit but interestingly the trail didn’t seem as steep as it looked like. The crater which looked like a deep abyss loomed menacingly large in front of us along the narrow trail. The summit was a small flat ground with a flag pole and an Indonesia flag on it. We trekked back to the 1st peak and from there we took another route – a fast lane – down the mountain. It was a long scree-covered slopes leading from the top to the mid point of the mountain. The slope with the small rocks, peddles and sand was very slippery and we had to literally skid down the exposed slope and adjusting the angle of our feet to slow down the slide. It was quite fun initially but after sometime we got really tired and the hot sun and with all the debris inside our shoes. After the fast lane, we continued via the same route which we used to climb up the mountain. It took us almost 3 hours to get back to the trail head from the summit. Rest of the day was spent on bed resting our resting our sore muscles:)
We took a public transport to Moni the last destination of our trip. We set off around 8am and reached Moni around 2pm. The bus did not dropped us directly at Kelimut Lodge Eco Lodge so we had to haul our luggage down the road to the lodge. After checking in the lodge and a quick late lunch, we arranged for a driver to bring us to Kelimutu National Park. Kelimutu is a volcano complex containing three striking crater lakes of varying colors. Tiwu Ata Bupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue and is the westernmost of the three lakes. The other two lakes, Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) are separated by a shared crater wall and are usually green or red respectively.
Proper payment and railing were installed by the national park around the viewing platform. The scenery was still top-notch though it lost some of its rugged feel with the man-made structures around it. The park was very quiet with a few souls as most tourists visit the park in the early morning instead of afternoon to catch the beautiful sunrise. We could not make it for the sunrise view as we had to catch our flight back to Bali in the afternoon. Due to road widening project, the road leading out of Kelimutu to the airport would be blocked daily from early morning till late afternoon.