INGULFED

In Shanghai

Archive for hiking

Twenty Tweleven

High points.
Overlooking the UAE-Oman Border and the Hajar mountains.
Jabel Hafeet, UAE

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Baturnalia

Attention! The following post may be shit.

We arrived in the blue dark of night at the foot of the volcano. At 3:30, a few dozen tourists were already milling about the parking lot, while guides smoked and peeled the plastic wrappers of little chocolate cakes at a convenience stand made of bamboo. We set off in layers of sweatshirts up a trail marked with a sign: “Attention! For all climbers are warned to keep the secret and the holiness of mountain Batur”.

After a short stretch of dirt, the track tips up and turns into chunks of black and gray lava. Near the bottom, too far from the path to reach with our flashlights, is the presence of an old temple with tiered, thatched roofs nestled into the mountainside. It got steep — with every meter gained was a foot lost to the volcanic gravel, and as the night moved closer to dawn, double-sweatering started to seem like a bad idea. Up above: wisps of the Milky Way and the patterns of unknown stars of the southern hemisphere. Far away: tiny yellow lights from the villages on the caldera rim.

After an hour and half, sometimes scrambling up natural steps hands first, some hikers call it a day and crowd around to wait for sunset at the first available cafe. There are little restaurants, warung, sprinkled near the top and around the crater. The three of us, my dad Jerry and I, and our Balinese friend and driver Jerry (named after the husband of the woman who aided in his delivery — my mother) were on a longer climb. Half an hour further up a steep channel straight through the clouds, our guide Komang lead us to the summit.

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