Mount Cikurai is definitely the hardest and the highest mountain I have ever visited!!
I haven’t done a lot of mountain hiking but this one is one is the most difficult one I have ever done. 2821 mdpl means 2821 metres above the sea level. According to wikipedia, Mount Cikurai is not as high as Mount Gede ( 2958 mdpl) but I as I remember the hike on Mount Gede (which I have visited 2 times when I was still in college) didn’t start from the mountain’s foot (we call the area below the mountain as mountain’s foot). Mount Cikurai is on Garut, right across Mount Papandayan.
I am currently on holiday for 3 weeks. I was, at first, planning to go to Dieng but the plan didn’t work well so I decided to go to Mount Cikurai. I was already warmed by my cowork that the track in Cikurai is incredibly hard but I was in the mood to another mountain hike so it didn’t matter to me how hard it is. My roommate who never did mountain hiking decided to join me…Let me warn you all, beginners should never try Cikurai before other mountains!!!
This time, the trip was organized by Ants Adventure, the total hikers that joined this trip was 38 hikers. The plan was to leave at 8 pm on Friday (June 21) but we left a bit late because some participants were caught in traffic. We left around 10 and arrived in Garut somewhere around 4 am. Three pick-up cars were ready to take us to the mountain. We arrived at the Transmitters post (you’ll see the picture later) around 7 am, had some breakfast and started the hike around 8 am.
While having breakfast I got a chance to look at the view. It was stunning! (and I love my new phone because it has panoramic mode)
We passed through beautiful tea garden. The surrounding was great but the trek was already tiring even at that point…but the worst still to come.
Right after we passed through the tea garden, my roommate sat on the ground and started vomiting. Fortunately I was around so we all gathered around her and wondered whether she could go through or not. She some of her stuff to another male hiker so that her carrier could be much lighter. She felt better as we went on walking. Our new friend, Syaiful Rahman took this amazing picture while we were tending my roommate. You can see the transmitter from this picture.
There’s a phrase in Indonesia, something good always comes from something bad. After that unfortunate event, we (my roommate and I) ended up hiking with another hikers (who are also from the same trip group) and hiking with them was really fun….we were hikers who enjoyed every bitter part of the journey with smile and laughter. We made jokes about everything. The more difficult the track we had to passed the more we laughed about it. I sort of call our group of eight hikers as happy group. My new friends are Linda, Ita, Ijah, Erik, Yono and Ipul (Syaiful).
As I have written above, Cikurai is the hardest mountain I ever hiked…you will soon see why.
The trek from Tea garden had no plain ground at all, it was all steep ground…but it was still much better than the trek that awaited us inside the forest.
The trek inside the Forrest was so steep. We had to cling to every branches and roots we could find. Sometimes, it was so high that we needed help from the boys to hold our hand and pull us up but most of the time we felt like Tarzan, hanging on every roots to support us. The roots had created a row of nice stairs. It was interesting and reminded me of Mount Putri (I visited Mount Putri more than 10 years ago). Sometimes we found huge rock to climb. There was no water on the peak of Mount Cikurai, we had to carry more water than usual. The extra water made our carriers a lot heavier.
These were the nice little root stairs
The not so nice root stairs. I don’t know whether the picture really tell you how difficult it was or not but I can at least tell you that that was almost 90 degrees, we had to hold on to the upper root to lift our body.
We couldn’t walk side by side most of the time because the trek was narrow.
Sometimes, we came across rocks with no root. These were the small rocks, I didn’t have time to take pictures of the big rocks because I was busy concentrating how to pass through it.
Our group made an arrangement to walk for 15 minutes and had a rest for 5 to 10 minutes because it was impossible to walk all the time. Sometimes (well, most of the times) we asked the time keeper whether the fifteen minute walk already due because we wanted to have a rest so bad. We tried to be consistent, but we failed once in a while.
There were 7 posts before we reached the peak and our camp was after post 7 We always felt happy every time we passed one post because it meant that post 7 was getting closer. From post 4 to post 6, each post had short distance…somehow that cheered us up…BUT from post 6 to post 7 was incredibly long and hard.
30 minutes before reaching post 7, the thing we feared the most finally arrived. It was raining and it was not just a drizzle. We immediately put on our rain coat. The trek we used was actually the water track down from the mountain. We had to walk against the water through such difficult road. There was one place where the ground was above my head and on my side was a tree branch which was also too high. It might be a bit easier to pass if not because of the rain. I needed help from the boys, one pulled me up while the other pushed me up.
We started around 8 am and finally reached our camp somewhere around 3.30 pm. It was a hard 7,5 hour hike.
We were all so cold because our clothes were all wet and the tents were not ready yet. We huddled in one wet tent waiting for another one to be ready. My roommate and I were not in the same tent as Ita, Linda and Ijah’s. It was a lot better once we had time to change our wet clothes with the dry one. I went to sleep immediately because we had to wake up early to catch the sunrise from the peak.
Day two will be posted soon 😉