The timberland is still and quiet. Hiking beam Wayan Ariana lights an scent stick, fume flapping adult into a night sky, as he kneels to contend a wordless ask during a Hindu shrine.
“The charity is to ask accede to accept a trek on a volcano today,” he tells me afterwards, as we resume a travel adult a murky track towards a limit of Mount Agung. “Balinese people trust this is a holy mountain. There are spirits during a top. Magic abnormal spirits. Good spirits. They give we luck.”
If that’s a case, we’ll be seeking for their accede to be adult on Bali’s peaks some-more than once today. While many people come to Bali to distortion on a famous beaches, sip cocktails and generally take it easy, there are also distant reduction obvious hiking trails around and adult a plateau and volcanoes of this immature island on a Pacific Ocean’s bomb Ring of Fire.
Hiking adult any one of a island’s peaks should be adequate for many rational-minded travellers, though a new Three Peaks Challenge sets a daunting charge of climbing Bali’s 3 tip summits – Mount Agung (3,031 metres) and Mount Batur (1,717 metres), and Mount Abang (2,151 metres), that is technically a mountain, though partial of a Batur caldera – in a space of 24 hours. It’s a universe divided from a customary Balinese beach holiday.
I accommodate Wayan during Pasar Agung Temple in a easterly of a island, 1,200 metres above sea level, and start a plea shortly after midnight, picking adult a track heading adult Mt Agung. There’s no time to mangle legs in gently, a pathway immediately climbing steeply by a cold forest, conduct torches lighting a way. Over a subsequent 6 hours, it frequency lets up. The limit of a still active volcano is a tip indicate on a island.
“This is a toughest volcano on a island. The steepest,” Wayan informs me, definition we’re removing a hardest arise out of a approach first.
The sky’s full of stars. Through a roof of a forest, we see an orange crescent moon, that rises along with us as we stand ascending in a early hours of a morning. Grasshoppers and other insects yield a soundtrack from a trees.
It feels bizarre to be out here, hiking, while a infancy of people on a island are tucked adult in bed. We stop during a corner to demeanour out conflicting a island, a lights of a capital, Denpasar, distant next us. Bursts of lightning flash, lighting adult a clouds.
Higher adult Agung, a timberland fades out and breeze whips around us. The track becomes steeper, a stand some-more difficult. We use hands and feet to ride ourselves adult a track of sharp volcanic stone and over large boulders until, around 5am, we take a few final sleepy stairs to a summit, a tip indicate on Bali.
I counterpart over a corner of a void into a black abyss. “The final tear was in 1963,” Wayun tells me. “No possibility of an tear tonight.”
With a glow illuminated and cups of prohibited tea in hand, we lay to watch a object rise. “All of Bali,” Wayan gestures, as Bali’s coastline, rice paddies and immature hills are solemnly bathed in light. One arise down, dual to go.
After a tough, infrequently fraudulent descent, we expostulate from Pasar Agung Temple conflicting Bali, by villages and past a large Batur Lake, picking adult fresh-legged beam Mangky Suryadi en route.
We start a day’s second hike, adult Mt Abang, from around 1,500 metres. we feel confident for a while, hiking a easy pathway high above Batur lake and a fish farms along a shore.
Mangky stops to bake scent and urge during a initial of several shrines. “High places in Bali are holy,” he explains. “In a Hindu religion, we use them for ask and meditations. We cruise a plateau and volcanoes to be closer to nirvana, a boundless state of existence. To stand adult a volcanoes and plateau is a approach to accept blessings.”
Abang is an even worse stand than Agung. The deceptively easy start shortly gives approach to a relentlessly tough and high stand adult a pathway cleared out by new rains. We pass by a humid timberland of trees, whose trunks are coated with straggly moss, a pointer of good atmosphere peculiarity adult here, afterwards lift ourselves adult a unsound track regulating suspended branches and tree roots.
The summit, reached in a early afternoon, couldn’t come shortly enough. Thick banks of white cloud retard a view, irritating after a work we’ve put in, though I’m happy to have finished another peak. Mist crawls over a crumbled walls of 300-year-old Tuluk Biu Temple, a tip church on a island. “This is one of a holiest places in Bali,” Mangky tells me, after kneeling to offer another prayer.
My quad muscles carrying taken some punishment and my legs incited to jelly, we expostulate conflicting to Mt Batur, a day’s final climb. We’re creation good time. Mangky borrows a motorbike to take us by internal farms around a slopes to a starting point.
Mt Batur was a many new of Bali’s volcanoes to erupt, with a tiny tear in 2000. The volcano’s bustling in a mornings, with travellers environment out early to watch a object arise from a top. At a conflicting finish of a day, we have a place roughly to ourselves.
Cloud drifts over a limit of a progressing torpedo climb, Abang, conflicting Batur lake, as we make a approach adult a pacific path. The final stand is by distant a easiest of a 3 hikes, though Agung and Abang have used adult roughly all my energy. My legs feel leaden.
“I have honour for you,” Mangky encourages me. “For many people, one trek in a day is enough.”
The final widen is roughly humorously tough, as if someone is personification a pretence on us: a high walk by thick low sand.
I’m wakeful of dogs utterance into a night, as we strech a 1,717-metre summit, my third and final arise of a day. we settle down happily on one of a benches to splash some-more prohibited tea and wait as a object sets and a sky turns pink.
Darkness falls on Bali as we travel behind down, completing a plea in a small over 16 hours, tired and filthy. With trade for a large internal Hindu rite clogging a roads, it takes a while to strech a hotel. But I’m in no rush, resting happily in a car, meaningful that tomorrow there will be beaches and cocktails, and not a singular volcano to climb.
The author trafficked with Experience Travel Group (experiencetravelgroup.com), that offers tailor-made Bali Three Peaks packages including accommodation, ride and guides.
How to get there
Hong Kong Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Garuda Indonesia work approach flights between Hong Kong and Denpasar