5/12/18: Mt. Rinjani Trek, Day 1

Anne and I woke up at 6, put on our trekking outfits, and made sure our backpacks had everything we needed.

My packing list for 3 days 2 nights:

  • 2 trekking shirts (1 of which I was already wearing)
  • 1 pajama shirt
  • 2 pairs trekking shorts (1 of which I was already wearing)
  • 1 pair sweatpants
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 2 pairs underwear
  • 1 bikini
  • 1 light sweater
  • 1 beanie
  • 1 heavier coat (given to me by trekking company)
  • 1 pair gloves (given to me by trekking company)
  • 1 headlamp (given to me by trekking company)
  • glasses
  • contact solution
  • toothbrush/toothpaste
  • sunscreen
  • moisturizer
  • toilet paper
  • bug spray
  • flip flops
  • sneakers
  • Cap
  • Walking stick

My suggestions:

  • Bug spray not really necessary because there weren’t many mosquitos, and you’re going to be covered head to toe in clothing when you sleep
  • Bring 2 plastic bags: one to put your trash in, the other for your dirty clothes
  • Bring more socks!! Mine were completely filthy every single day and I wish I had brought 1 more pair
  • A coat is absolutely necessary. Your trekking company will probably provide you with one if you don’t have one, so just ask.
  • The walking stick was really helpful, so bring one even if you don’t really think you’ll need it (like I did).
  • Don’t bother with body wash/shampoo. There are no showers.
  • 2 shirts and 2 shorts was enough: don’t bring more than that.

P.S.: We booked with Abul Trekking. I recommend booking in-person, rather than online, because you will get a better price and understanding of the trip this way.

We went out to the kitchen area for breakfast. We were given one small pancake and a cup of coffee.


Another girl walked in, and introduced herself as Stephanie. She would be joining our trekking group to climb Mt. Rinjani. We then met Josi, our guide for the trip.

We went outside to our pick-up truck. There was a French couple already on board. The 4 porters, Josi, and I climbed on to the back and we got going. I tried to make conversation with the French couple and asked them if they had been picked up at their hotel earlier, but they didn’t really understand me; I quickly realized their English was not quite good enough for conversation.

We rode for about five minutes before stopping in front of another hotel, where we picked up another French woman named Nancy. I was relieved to see that her English was much better than the other two– I could actually have a conversation with her.



We kept driving about an hour through villages and winding roads to the town of Sembalun. We were dropped off in front of an office where we each had to write down our names, age, nationality, and passport numbers.

Once that was done, we got back in the truck and drove about five minutes to the starting point.

We walked down a small path with the mountain directly in front of us. The base seemed really far away.


I’m gonna climb that!

The first hour or so was relatively flat. The second hour was a bit steeper, but nothing crazy.

The first bit of the trail


First break spot

We got to our lunch break spot around 11. A bunch of porters were already there, cooking up lunch for their groups. I didn’t see our porters anywhere. Our guide disappeared as well, so we had no idea how long it would be until lunch.

As we were sitting there, I saw some trekkers and guides smoking, and I kind of expected at least one person in our group to pull out their cigarettes and do the same. However, none of us did. I was actually pretty surprised that all six of us were non-smokers. It’s quite rare in the backpacking world.


Porters making food


An hour later, our food arrived. It was actually a really good first meal– tempeh AND tofu, plus veggies and rice.


We started off again around 12:30. This next part was much more challenging than the first– the hills were steeper and my calves were really screaming by the end of the 3 hours.


Break time


This trek really isn’t the most social one because we’re going uphill the entire time, and it’s a bit hard to make conversation and get to know one another when you’re constantly panting and out of breath.

The clouds were crazy– the entire mountain was covered in mist/fog/clouds in a matter of seconds, and stayed that way for the rest of the afternoon.



We got to our campsite around 3:30 and sat down, tired and grateful to be done for the day. I took off my shoes and socks and dumped out about a pound of dust and sand. I was completely filthy. We all were. It was actually comical how dirty we were.

Getting to the camp grounds
So misty

The porters arrived a bit after us and set up our tents for us.

The mountain was still pretty much covered in clouds, and we were really hoping they’d clear up by sunset.

Once the tents were ready, Anne and I went inside and relaxed for a bit. We invited Stephanie over to play some card games that Anne had brought.


We started with Qwikks, a (I think?) Dutch card game that is essentially based entirely on luck. We played one round of that, and then switched to regular cards.

We climbed out of our tent around 5:30 to check on the clouds. We got our wish! The sky was beginning to clear just in time for sunset.


We climbed up a small hill to get a better view, and WOW my breath was immediately taken away. On one side of the mountain was a beautiful view of low clouds spread across the valley, making you feel like you were in heaven. On the other side of the mountain was a beautiful view of the crater and lake way down below, with a view of some waterfalls and greenery as well.



Anne, me, Steph


As the sun continued to set, it only got more and more beautiful. I just couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t stop saying “omg” and “this is so beautiful.” I wish there were more words to describe it. It was just that though: beautiful.


Once the sun was behind the mountains, we went back in our tents to have dinner.

The porters brought us curry with rice. It had a boiled egg in it, so I just took it out and ate the rest. It was so cozy and nice to eat in our little tent. I loved it!


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So amazing

We were hoping for some fruit or something for dessert, but nothing more came.

We brushed our teeth and went to bed pretty much immediately after returning our plates and cups. We had about 7 hours until our 2 am-wake up to hike up to the summit.

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