It was nearly midnight when we reached Senaru. Tonight we stay at our porter’s home. Suma and his little brother will come with us exploring Mount Rinjani for the next four days. Bale-bale in a Beruga – a traditional gazebo in Lombok people houses – in the front yard is our place to rest tonight. A short break, and should be utilized as well as possible, because in the morning we had to be ready to set off on foot up the hill through the Torean trail path..
Mount Rinjani which we explore on this trip is part of Mount Rinjani National Park (Taman Nasional Gunung Rinjani – TNGR), located in the northern part of the island of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara province. There are several routes to enter TNGR territory which has an area of 41,330 hectares. The common routes that hikers / trekkers usually take are Sembalun or Senaru. Other than those two, there are two alternative routes that can be taken: Torean and Santong. Sembalun trail is very open. If you want to take this route during the day we have to get ready to walk under the burning sunlight going up and down the ridge. Senaru trail is mostly through the middle of a protected forest, so it is safe from sun exposure. But it’s quite far, because you will have to go up until Plawangan Senaru, trek down to Danau Segara Anak, and from there continue to Plawangan Sembalun. Santong trail is the farthest among all of the existing service. Torean route is mostly under the forest and the trail is not as steep compared to Sembalun & Senaru. And this is our chosen route..
The first hour trekking from the Torean village on the Northern side of Rinjani, we walk along and in between corn fields, coffee plants and cacao trees. After that, the trail path starts to sneak underneath the shade and grove of trees. Still considerably gentle, not too steep, except at some points there are fairly steep incline. We trek quite quickly yet still relaxed, with no prolonged steep incline or scorching sun punishing us. And of course because the whole of foodstuffs, tents, and cooking equipment are all carried by our porters 😀 After a short break at the first checkpoint post, we continue and only stop again for our lunch break..
After lunch, the trail path starts to vary. Tall trees are getting rare. Grasslands begin to frequently appear. Tiptoeing at steep slopes and mountainsides are becoming increasingly frequent. At some points we have to carefully climb or pass through downslopes that are quite difficult, forcing us to be extra cautious when passing through it. We cross rivers three times along the route. One of which is quite wide and with strong stream, we have to cross it with caution if we do not want to slip and fall. Wet clothes & camera gears is not what I need for the remaining of the trip.
And our porters cross the river with ease. While carrying yoke.
Along the way we also meet groups of other climbers who are on the way down. Most of them climbed via Sembalun or Senaru route, and now take Torean route on the way down. Chat for a while, asking each other about how far toward our respective goals. We are to get to Peropok, a camp location with hot springs, while they are to get to Torean village. After exchanging information and wish for luck for each other, we continue our trip toward Peropok..
Peropok located in a small valley in Torean trail path, just before we reach the intersection between the trail path heading to Plawangan Sembalun and the one heading to Lake Segara Anak. Located at an altitude of 1,884m above sea level, there is hot springs which is like a small paradise for hikers who want to rest their legs & relax a bit. Local residents who also often pass this route have made a few small ponds that you can use to soak and freshen up your tired body after walking all day. We certainly do not want to miss the opportunity, and plunge immediately after the tents are set up and our stuff have been sorted out. The warm sulfuric water does a good job flexing our muscles after a 15km and 9 hours walk today.
The problem is when you want to go out of the pool. Freezing!
Part of the population in Lombok island embrace Hindu as their religion. Lake Segara Anak is considered as one of the sacred places, and Hindunese living around Rinjani regularly visit the lake to pray and present offerings. Peropok becomes a transit place for them to rest as well as clean and prepare themselves up before continuing their trip to Lake Segara Anak on the next day..