Taking challenge for a good cause – Kechara Indonesia at Mount Semeru
Back in February 2013, a group of committed volunteers of Kechara Indonesia decided to take up a challenge to climb the highest peak in Java island (3,676 mdpl) to show our commitment for our cause and to raise the much needed fund to sustain our various charitable activities that have included the distribution of 400 food packages per week, sponsorship of 32 students from various schools (in addition to 18 who have graduated in the previous years), medical sponsorship, vaccination program, and disaster relief. We were planning to stretch our physical ability to our individual limit as long as it does not endanger our lives.
For taking this challenge, our sponsors have been so kind to support us by making a donation for our cause.
The challenge (16 – 19 May 2013)
16 May 2013
Five of us: myself, YudhonoRawis, HyangAugustiana, SooWoonLoong, and HauShio Wei began our trip by taking a flight to Surabaya. Then, we were picked up to our stay for the night, in a simple housing, Homestay Pak Tasyrip at Ranu Pane village. Our guide dropped by to explain our activities for the next day. With the exception of Shio Wei and Hyang, none of us have ever climbed the mountain before.
17 May 2013
Our day started at 7:00 AM. We started our hike. We walked10.5 KM to the beautiful RanuKumbolo lake where we had our simple lunch near the lake. After taking some rest, we climbed the steep TanjakanCinta. That was where we started to see memoriam of people who died while attempting to climb Semeru. After loosing our breath from climbing TanjakanCinta, our eyes were entertained with a sea of purple (lavender-like) flowers. We were in awe. This area is called Oro-Oro Ombo. After passing through this amazing scenery, we found ourselves inside a huge pine tree forest (CemoroKandang). We rested from time to time because the forest is uphill and it was exhausting. It rained a little too. After we successfully passing through the pine tree forest, we found ourselves in Jambangan. It is called Jambangan because this area is like a flower vase full of flowers. And finally at 4:00 PM, we reached our camping site, Kalimati. Overall, we have walked (mostly uphill) 19.5 KM by then and was exhausted. We ate our dinner and slept in our tents.
18 May 2013
Our guide woke us up at 12:00 AM to prepare for our journey for the day. We ate our simple breakfast. Four of us took pain killers because our legs were hurt from the climb the day before prior to continuing our journey. Each of the lady was assigned an individual guide. While the guys follow through. We started our journey at 1:00 AM. We crossed a rather steep forest toward Arcopodo which is a vegetation border where we have to walk in the sand. When crossing the forest, there was a dust rain. I took rest from time to time and let the rest of the team moved forward. I noticed that in several corners of the forest, there were memorials for those who passed away when attempting to climb the mountain. My guide told me that most people died either because of being hit by stones or could not stand the thin air. Finally, I reached the vegetation border at 3,000 mdpl. That is when the challenge moved up several levels because we had to walk uphill in the slippery sand. In front of me was a narrow passage in the middle of steep cliff. I was afraid of height, so I just told my guide that I trusted him and I would not die. So I closed my eyes and held on to him. Five steps seemed like 2 steps because my feet continued to slip downward.
After I passed through the narrow passage, I loss all strength in my legs and stopped to gather my strength before moving on. Not far from that site, I saw a stone where I saw Soo sitting near a small bond fire prepared by one of our guides). He told me that he has passed the corporate sponsor flag to Yudho and Shio Wei and he decided not to continue because his stamina has dropped.
I bid him good bye and continued the journey in the sand. When I reached 3,050 mdpl, my head began to spin and I felt like vomiting. I saw a rock and lean on it. I decided to join Soo in the fire because otherwise, I would have caused greater trouble for the guide and the team.
Hyang, Yudho, and Shio Wei continued on walking in the sand. At about 3,400 mdpl, Shio Wei’s and Hyang’s guides dragged them. Yudho was alone and continued to walk uphill. His hiking stick fell to the abyss. Then, he stepped on the wrong spot and quickly slipped downward about 5-7 meter because it was slippery. Luckily passer by helped him by giving him water and honey. Then, he continued on (He lossed four toe nails from this hike).
Hyang, with the helped of her guide reached the summit at 3,676 mdpl. She cried when reaching the summit. At the summit, Hyang spread our various corporate sponsor flags as promised. When she spread the flag, suddenly the mountain vomited some smoke (known as gembul). Fortunately, it was not dangerous.
Yudho almost reached the summit at 3,500 mdpl when he was ordered to go down by the guide who helped Shio Wei because suddenly poisonous gas came out from the mountain.
During our journey downward, the sun has risen and suddenly it became obvious to me what kind of route I went through in the dark – there were cliff and abyss everywhere. I, like the rest, were wondering how on earth, we could have passed through this track. Some of us slipped several times, but luckily, we reached our campsite at Kalimati safely. The last batch arrived at 11:00 AM. We were given our lunch. At 2:00 PM, we were told that we have to continue our journey downhill the same 19.5 KM that we passed through the day before. By the time, it was raining hard and the manageable track that we walked through yesterday suddenly became slippery. We stopped at RanuKumbolo lake to catch our breath and drank hot tea before moving on. However, it became dark really fast and we relied on torch lights. Some of us fell several times. But we moved on regardless. We reached Ranu Pane village at around 7:00 – 8:00 PM. We opted to stay at Homestay Pak Tasyrip. The next day we continued our journey to Surabaya and reached Jakarta at about 10:30 PM.
Overall, I think it was a very valuable experience for all of us and we were happy to take this challenge for a good cause.
2,040 kali dilihat, 1 kali dilihat hari ini