Everyone knows that I hate hiking. I like the idea of it and am excited about the hike at first, but start to get tired 30 minutes into it. Most of the time, I can’t make it up any further as I am too winded. It’s a miracle that I made it to the top of Mount Batur as it was the most brutal hike I have ever encountered. With the help of my fellow retreaters and my hiking tour guide, I was able to make this incredible hike.
At first, I wasn’t even thinking about doing this hike, but when our yoga teacher, Emily, mentioned doing yoga on top of the mountain, I thought that would be a unique experience, so I decided to join.
The day started at 3am. We all met in the resort lobby and headed to the buses that took us to the start of Mount Batur. We arrived at 4:30am and met our tour guides. There were 3 of them taking care of 12 of us and we were each handed a flashlight as we had to hike in the dark.
The first 30 minutes of the hike was pretty easy with not much incline. I was thinking to myself, “This is going to be a breeze! Glad I decided to do this". Then the hike started getting steeper and my heart started pounding harder and I was running out of breath. I didn't think it would get much worse than that, but when we got to the halfway point, I got a glimpse of what I was hiking up to and now was thinking, “Holy crap. What did I get myself into? There’s no way I can do this.”
I was starting to fall back and couldn’t keep up with the group, but luckily, I had an awesome tour guide, Nyoman, who stayed behind with me. He was so sweet and encouraged me every step of the way. He already had a backpack himself, but offered to carry my backpack for me when he saw that I was starting to lose hope of conquering this mountain. With Nyoman’s encouragement and help, I was able to continue with the hike.
The hike got a lot worse after the halfway point. Since the mountain is an active volcano, there are large chunks of rocks everywhere and you have to lift your legs over these huge rocks, which isn’t an easy thing when you’ve already hiked for an hour. I fell several times as I stepped onto loose rocks and lost my footing, but I kept going.
An hour and a half into it, we were getting close to the top. We passed by several stop points where hikers settled to view the sunrise, but our group kept on going to the summit. I highly considered stopping at these points too, but I couldn’t let Nyoman down. Not that he would judge me, but he was so helpful getting me through this AND carrying double the weight he normally carries, so I pushed through.
The last 30 minutes of the hike was a little scary since you had to hike through loose dirt and there were people slipping left and right. When we finally reached the summit, the view was insanely gorgeous. We were literally on top of the clouds and the sun was just starting to peak above the mountains. I wanted to cry because it was such a beautiful moment and I made such a huge accomplishment for myself. I would have never challenged myself to do this without the ladies and Nyoman. I am forever thankful for them challenging me and helping me through this journey.
We weren’t able to do yoga like we had planned as it was pretty crowded and also very cold, but I think we were all okay with that. We were all so proud of ourselves for getting to the top of Mount Batur. After we took in all the views, we started heading back down. The way back down was much easier, thank goodness!
The scenery was gorgeous on the way back down. Since we weren’t able to see our surroundings on the way up, we were amazed at how beautiful everything was around us. We stopped several times to take pictures, talk to fellow hikers and do some yoga poses.
After we made it back, we stopped by Batur Natural Hot Springs. A true oasis and just what we needed after that brutal hike. The hot springs had an amazing view overlooking Lake Batur. There were also fun decorations of elephants everywhere with some of them sprouting warm water from their trunks.
As soon as we dipped into the warm water, we were in heaven. It felt so good on our tired and sore muscles. We ordered drinks and food by the poolside and just relaxed and had some girl talk the rest of the time. Everything was perfect and we felt incredibly lucky to be in this moment.
We loved our time at Batur Natural Hot Springs, but one thing to note is that the food and drinks were a bit expensive; especially compared to what we were paying near our resort. Everything seemed to be double the price here.
All in all, it was an amazing day and I am so grateful to my new friends and tour guide that inspired me to do this hike. I would have never done this without their encouragement and I am so glad I was able to experience the beauty and that feeling of accomplishment at the top of Mount Batur.