How often do you get to wake up to a surreal atmosphere? It is as if the problems of yesterday vanishes through the morning mist. I nearly forget how starving we were the night before as we have been deprived of food after the 4 hours trekking. When I reach for my sandals, the chill wind blows sending the chill down the spine. It is almost 5a.m when I see the miracle that is Ranu Kumbolo. I have missed the sunrise but I don’t want to miss the moment after sunrise when the skies are still orangey.
Some hikers are already up; I could hear excitement of being at Ranu Kumbolo through happy voices, radio blasting and neverending laughters. My tent mates are still sleeping. I reach for my sandals and walk to Bun’s tent for he keeps my camera to safety. I shake the tent, he growls when I ask if he wants to come with me to shoot the sunrise. He passes the camera and continues sleeping. Later on, he blames me for not waking him up for sunrise.
Fakhri shoots with a Nikon D800 complete with a tripod. I envy the fact that he has a tripod with him. Ah and ND Grad Filter. Our tripod broke apart in Batu. No doubt, his picture will look good. As our camp site is near the savannah area heading to Tanjakan Cinta, I start shooting the area until I get bored.
Then, I walk back to our camping site. Most of my group members are already awake. All gear up with cameras. We are enthralled with the beauty of Ranu Kumbolo. I mean who would if a beautiful lack smacked in between mountain range is before you on one misty morning!
This is how our camp site looked at Ranu Kumbolo. Those yellow tents belong to our group.
Bun is up too! I go get him and we start our tour around Ranu Kumbolo. We are now at 2400 metre above sea level with a minimum temperature stands between -5 and -20. No wonder, I still shiver in my sleeping bag which has a comfort zone of 5 degree celcius. Knowing that this is only at 2400 mdpl, I wonder what awaits us at 3,767mdpl at Mahameru peak. Look at the person wrapped in blue sleeping bag, he is a typical Tenggerese porter.
What makes Ranu Kumbolo more beautiful this morning is the colourful tents spiked on the ground. It adds on the ambience.
I have been informed that some of the campers at Ranu Kumbolo are not meant to hike up until Mahameru. They just want to spend time at Ranu Kumbolo and then head back to Ranu Pani. It is good to meet the nature once in awhile.
DISCLAIMER: You may wish to stop reading here as I will now touch on a rather sensitive issue of answering nature call.
By any means, this is the call we have to answer every morning after waking up and many other time – sometimes unpredictably. If not, our life feels incomplete. You may digress on my observation. But seriously, can you wake up one morning and hold your pee until god knows when? Can you?
Given this instance where there are no toilets to accommodate your convenience nor are there any giant rocks where you could go into hiding and do your business in peace, how do you answer this call of nature? This is an open savannah surrounded by hill. It is of no help when there are 500 other hikers who have to answer the same call too! Any avid hikers or travelers would know how baby wipes work miracle in times of need.
Baby wipes come in handy. But the problem is there’s no available ground anymore to do business. Most of the hidden spots are taken and marked with. So when it’s time, it’s time. Sometimes in life, you don’t have choice but to make do with whatever you are left with. That is the case when you have to answer the nature call at Ranu Kumbolo.
Imagine there is a hiker who climbs the steep hill in order to make business at the back of the hill. He stops half way anyway and naughty hikers from the camp site shouts back that we could see him still at that distance. And we clap our hands when he finishes his business.
As for me, I walk as far off I could and make business near a marked spot. I stop breathing for few minutes and close my eyes for the unnecessary view.
Not long after, I find a notice of how to do your business.