[simage=1804,200,n,left,]We decided to escape from our German and Dutch friends who were smugly still enjoying the World Cup, with both their teams playing quarter final games. Actaully, we managed to watch Brazil lose to the Netherlands before leaving on our trip, leaving the Dutch celebrating in the pub. We decided to return to PP Linkungan Hidup (PPLH), a sort of eco-centre near to Surabaya, and try to bag Gunung Penanggungan.
Gunung Penanggungan is a relatively small volcano (1,650 m), but one that is dotted with Hindu temples and really accessible from Surabaya. We left Bogor early in the morning for Jakarta Airport, and arrived in Surabaya to meet up with the PPLH driver who was waiting to pick us up. By 1 pm we were eating a nice organic lunch including tempe and tahu, and drinking good juices and Javanese coffee. PPLH has a good restaurant, nice simple accommodation (with solar heated water for the showers), a medicinal plant garden, and seems to do good business from its meeting room. It’s got a nice vibe and does reasonably well in some environmental education – worth a visit.
There was some confusion over the best time to hike, since we had not planned to hike for sunrise, or even to get up before sunrise! PPLH organised our guide, and we agreed to start at 3 am so we would be at the summit early, before the heat and the clouds arrive. It worked well – neither of us were feeling too energetic, but we started the hike at 450 m elevation and made it to the summit in about 3.5 hours. We had good view of close neighbours Gunung Welirang and Arjuna, both over 3,000 m and Welirang is really quite active. We could also see Semuru (Java’s highest peak) to the southeast. The summit is quite pleasant with an old grassy crater, where we encountered approximately 30 children who had climbed a different steeper route to the summit (yes, many “Hello Misters” were exchanged).
The decent is a bit trickier than expected, since the steepest part is quite rocky and loose and so there’s lots of sliding and having to concentrate on where you’re putting your feet. A few tumbles were taken. On the way back down there’s a chance to take a closer look at some of the temples, most of which are small, but actually very well maintained. As we re-entered the forest near the starting point there were some great old trees, but mostly the forest is very degraded and taken over by agriculture as high up the mountain as possible. The trail is really quite free of litter though, and our guide was great, and picked up any plastic bottles that as usual people throw to the floor everywhere in Indonesia.
After a much needed mandi (shower) we had another fine lunch before being dropped off at the airport to come home. It really was a short weekend getaway, but otherwise it would have been another weekend of late night football and catching up on office work. Gill has now climbed 11 volcanoes/mountains, and Andy 14. Will we reach 20 Ribus this year….?