Mount Agung

Last night we got picked up at midnight and headed northeast from Ubud towards the highest mountain in Bali, Mount Agung, which towers 3.031 meters above sea level, is an active volcano (the last eruption was in 1964), and is regarded as one of the most sacred spots by the Balinese Hindu. The drive from Ubud was about two hours, and we collected a French couple on the way there, so we were a group of four plus a guide who started off from Pasar Agung Temple at around 2:15 am, meaning it was pitch black and we had to use flashlights to see where we were going. 

The temple is at an elevation of 1.700 meters, so the incline was constant and quite steep right from the start. We started out in a dense jungle and eventually worked our way up to a barren rocky landscape. The temperature also changed noticeably during the hike, from dripping sweat at the beginning to being straight out chilly as we got up close to 3.000 meters (a cold wind also played a part in lowering the temperature). It was without a doubt a pretty tough hike, and moving up the face of a mountain in darkness with parts so steep you have to climb on both arms and feet, means you have to be pretty damn careful. Luckily it was a pretty clear night, so the moonlight assisted our flashlights. It took us close to four hours to reach the top, in time to catch an amazing sunrise. We could even see Mount Rinjani on the island of Lombok in the far distance. Not everyone is that fortunate, as Mount Rinjani (as well as Mount Agung) is often covered in clouds. So we picked a good night to do the hike. I must say though, I was expecting that the moment of sunrise would be a moment of peace, quiet and pure enjoyment, but some of the other guides (there were several groups going up) decided that the sunrise would be a good time to sing “Gangnam style”. Not the best timing… Besides that, it was pretty magical, and the view was spectacular. We could also see down the volcanic crater, while drinking coffee and otherwise trying to stay warm for the half an hour we were up there. 

Going back down took almost as long as going up, due to the steepness, and a lot of loose gravel and rocks, which were really treacherous. Naturally, we were starting to feel it in our legs, and the lack of sleep didn’t help either. But we made it back down in one piece, and could high five each other with big smiles on our faces. Got back in Ubud exactly twelve hours after departure, dead tired and slept the whole afternoon. 

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