Conquering King Kong Hill

3 am hikes must be addicting, because the next morning after Ijen, Rafe and I found ourselves doing yet another one. This time, we set out to see the sunrise atop Mt. Bromo and its taller sister, Mt. Semeru. 

We had been told by locals and a few travel buds to go solo, sans guide. After buying some wool hats for 10,000 rupiah, we were ready to rock and roll. 
We began the climb in the pitch black, my iPhone flashlight our only source of light. The night sky was full of stars, a stark contrast to the relatively quaint home stays and occasional warung that we walked past. 

The sound of our boots on the hardened mud denoted the fact that we were, for once, off the obvious tourist track. The constant, heavy flow of tourists on each hike and in each locale was starting to wear on me. I welcomed the solitude. 
We had opted to climb King Kong Hill instead of Bromo for a few reasons: it was a more challenging hike, and it steered us clear of the obvious tourist route that all the Jeeps full of tour groups would be taking. 

Eventually, we stumbled across some other tourists that had the same idea as us. A dozen or so of them stopped at the first view point, and we were the first to pioneer on through the thick vegetation. 
We continued on, finally reaching the second viewpoint, where we settled in to watch the sunrise. The cold and dry air was a welcome change to the humid, beach climate we’d grown accustomed to in the last week. I was full of happiness, Indonesia reminding me yet again of home. Sunrise hikes, chia seeds and kombucha and kale…what more could a native Coloradan want?!
The sunrise was spectacular, as were the views. There are no words that can do it justice, so a few pictures will have to suffice. It was by far, my favorite hike I’ve done in Indonesia. 

A fellow traveler had given us a tip to avoid the entrance fee to Bromo, a whopping 220,000 rupiah. Instead, we hopped on a local man’s motorbike and cruised on the way down. He took us on a joy ride trough the sea of sand, to the base of the actual crater, and even let me drive for a long while through the sand. 
The entire excursion was all done and dusted by 9 am, where we scarfed down some breakfast at Cafe Lava, and found ourselves embarking on the 12 hour bus-ferry-bus-taxi way back to Bali. This time, we headed to Sanur Beach to relax, rid ourselves of some pesky bed bugs, and buy a phone to replace the one Rafe had accidentally broken. Ah, travel. 


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