Mount Kerinci, Sumatra Indonesia

Day 4

We woke up at 230am and started climbing again at 3am after a light snack of biscuits and tea. For me the most challenging thing about climbing mountain is not the seemingly endless steps, cold wind or slippery terrain but to adjust your sleeping clock by having to sleep early and wake up super early for  the push to the summit.

The first half of the summit trail was along a gully-liked path surrounded by vegetation of thick shrubs on both sides. The “gullies” were narrow but not deep. We had to walk along the raised edges of the “gullies”, supported by the branches of the shrubs to pull ourselves up the slope.

After climbing for about 1.5 hrs or so, we emerged out of the tree (or shrub) line into the open terrain and were greeted by hundreds of village lights beneath us and thousands of twinkling stars above. Beyond the treeline, there were no shrubs, only rocks and boulders for us to hold on to for support. Many a times we had to crawl on all fours to lower our center of gravity so that we would not blown away by the super strong wind. When we looked up, we could only see the walls of volcanic rocks and sands but not the summit. In fact the summit was only seen from the last few hundred metres. It was akin to the carrot and stick approach.

The highest point of Mount Kerinci is at its crater rim which is smoky and smelled strongly of sulfur. We took turns to look into the crater by bending our heads slightly over the rim which was quite a dangerous act for there is no safety barrier or fencing along its edge. A wrong move might result in us becoming the next human sacrifice to the volcano. The giant fuming crater (at few hundred metres wide and deep, it could easily swallow a few HDB flats and still remains much unfill) with red buring lava and ashes on its floor looked awesomely intimidating to us. Lake Gunung Tujuh is visible from the summit.

We started our descend down the mountain after spending less than 15 mins at the summit as we didn’t want to stay long at the precariously narrow rim.

At the trailhead is a small hut with a concrete basin of water where we washed our shoes while waiting for our motorcycle drivers to drive us back to the homestay. We took a nap after bathing and a simple lunch of Gado-gado and woke up around 5pm for our last excursion before flying back to Singapore the next day. We went on a ride around the villages and the padi fields and brought us to a local restaurant for dinner.

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