Whilst at the hostel in Lombok, my friend Elle asked if anyone was up for doing a 3 day trek to the crater rim of Mount Rinjani. Without batting an eye, I said yes. Those who know me know that I’m always up for a solid hike with beautiful views.
The itinerary for this trip:
Day 1: Travel from Kuta, Lombok to Senaru, Lombok. Spend 1 night in a homestay in the village of Senaru.
Day 2: Hike 7 hours up to the crater rim of Mount Rinjani (Pelewangan Crater Rim). Set up camp and catch the sunset over Mount Rinjani and the crater lake.
Day 3: Catch sunrise and then begin the 5 hour trek back down to Senaru village.
Folks used to be able to hike down to the lake to swim/fish and also trek all the way to the summit of Mount Rinjani, but unfortunately those paths have been too damaged due to earthquakes in the area.
Before I get to the actual hike - a quick word on the village of Senaru. Earthquakes are frequent in Lombok (the latest one on March 18, just 3 days before I arrived), and the village of Senaru has been absolutely decimated. Walking through the village, you can see the remnants of restaurants and homestays that used to flood the streets. While family’s homes and businesses have been destroyed, every single person that I passed on the street still greeted me with a smile. Even without proper housing or running water, they are still so optimistic about life. It was a humbling experience and I’m glad I was able to see the village and talk to some of the locals - it definitely allowed me to take a step back and appreciate the basics of life and not to take anything for granted.
The next day we began our trek roughly around 7:30am. The hike was broken up into several phases which took about 1-1.5 hours each. Fortunately the first 4-5 were all in the shade for the most part. One of the craziest things during the hike was seeing an area where there was a major landslide. Considering an earthquake just happened a few days ago, I was a bit nervy when I came at this stretch.
When we made it about 75% up the mountain, we had to camp out under shelter for a few hours due to heavy rain. We waited for nearly 3 hours, and at one point our guide suggested that we just set up camp at this section and finish the hike early in the morning. Luckily, the rain finally stopped and we had about 1.5 hours to get to the top. This was by far the steepest and most dangerous stretch of the hike, and I have absolutely no idea how we would have managed to do that at 4:00am in pitch black the next day. We completed the hike around 6:00pm and had just enough time to settle our things and watch the sunset. There was an amazing 360-view of Mount Rinjani, the crater lake, and the Gili Islands. The 10.5 hour journey was 100% worth it, and I can say with confidence that being up there for sunset was one of the most rewarding and peaceful moments I’ve experienced in a long time.
The next morning we were up early again to catch the sunrise before heading back down to Senaru. The hike downwards was shorter (5-6 hours), but basically because we were forced to almost jog down the mountain. The final 1.5 hours was completed in absolute downpour - and although most people would complain, I actually found it to be a refreshing and peaceful way to end such an amazing journey. I’m grateful to have had such an experience and met some amazing people along the way. Keep an eye out for more images on my photos page for more updates (the wifi in Bali is too slow to upload all of them). Additionally, I have lots of footage of the hike up, so will post a link to the YouTube comp when complete!