For some people, hiking is a useless tiring activity. They thought there’s no point of spending time passing through a wild jungle with damn cold air along the way just to sleep in a tent, cook and eat some simple and instant foods, and get the summit. I was thinking that way before I try my first hiking experience and I was wrong. Trust me, It is awesome and starts getting me addicted of it. All your tiring journey will be paid off by its beautiful scenery along the way, fresh air, awesome view at the top and satisfying feeling when you get the top. Also, I have no idea why any kinds of food you cook will be extremely delicious. Haha. FYI, I have tasted uncooked beef corned when I was in mount Puntang and It was very very very delicious. Sounds magic, rite? Although I never been enjoying eating some in the town.
Papandayan is my first hiking destination. It is known as the most active volcano and one of the most famous hiking destinations is West Java. It is located in Garut Regency, my hometown, around 103 km away (by google maps) to the southeast of the city of Bandung, West Java, Indonesia. I think, it is a right place for a beginner. It has an easy and friendly trek to be passing through and of course no need special skill. Well, I did not plan to go there until my brother ask me to, He was going with his office colleague. Since that’s a good opportunity and I said yes without too much consideration. After done with Idul adha prayer and some other rituals, I eventually went to Guntur terminal to meet my brother colleague. Let’s Rock!
How to Get there
Since Garut is my hometown, I did not find any difficulties to get there. If you start from Bandung, try to go to Garut main terminal, Guntur Terminal, by bus (Rp.10.000 (1 USD) economy class, no excecutive FYI 😐 ). It takes 2 hours in normal traffic. After that, go to Alun-Alun Cisurupan (a town square) near its grandmosque by angkot which take around one hour. It cost you around Rp 8.000. Good bargain may cost you less. It will be a good idea if you rent an angkot if you go come in a group. From Alun-Alun cisurupan, I rented a pick up carry and started going to the mountain. I recommend you to use this instead of by foot. By Rp 10.000 per person (or 100.000 per car), the carry send you to the second terminal for around 45 minutes (the road was not smooth). Too bad I arrived there in 18.00 afternoon, so I cannot go any further. The officer prohibit us to start trekking the mount since fogging is always go down in afternoon beside the road is susceptible to get slide. so, I decided to built a tent in terminal and wait for daylight.
Terminal 2 is the last point where you can ride your vehicle to. There, people start to walk to get to the top. I woke up early morning, cook some foods and got all my stuff packed. I started climbing the mount. Don’t worry the footstep way is really clear. I went up passing through some typical volcano vegetation with awesome view along the journey. From terminal 2, I just need around 30 minutes trekking with medium speed to get the Papandayan main crater. It is amazing to see how active volcano releasing its toxic gas with certain sound (boiling-water-like) from pretty close place (couple meters only). Too bad I did not bring any masker, the gas was really annoying. I guess it is a high sulfur gas, hurt my nose like crazy. That’s why no one willing to stay there for long time. People just take couple picture then get away from there. Since the mount get erupted in 2003, I did not see any mud pools there, I guess it has been buried since then. However, the scenery still awesome.
The main destination for some hikers is Pondok Selada Camping Ground. It is quite far from the creater’s located. Still, the step-way is really obvious with clear sign provided, so impossible to get lost there. Hehe 😉 . I continued walking until Pondok Selada, it takes just 2 hours in total. Good for a beginner, isn’t it? Still, I see quite a lot good spot to take picture along the way. I saw, there are a lot of elder people, kids and some people who are not get used to hiking who are take a part in it. I was there on quite high season, Sumpah Pemuda Celebration, when certain people enjoy to celebrate it in extreme place such as the summit.
After arrived at Pondok Selada, I build a tent, cook some food and go somewhere to take picture. Since it was a high season, a lot of people came there so it was quite crowded. People was singing and playing guitars, playing games, etc. It is so interesting. For me, it is enjoyable to get away from the hectic of Jakarta and Bandung staying in a really quiet place with really fresh air with damn beautiful view. Ohhhhh,,,,nice! And yes, any kinds of food tasted so delicious.
Some people not only end up in Pondok Selada, they went up to see how incredible the sunrise view from the top. We need to put so much effort for this. I need to weak up on 03.00 AM in morning when the air is in the lowest temperature, I guess it around 5 degrees of Celcius. Brrrrrrrr. I grabbed my head lamp, thick jacket, several socks and camera. Some of us just stay in the tent continuing their sleeping beauty. Hehe . Some people said, if you wish to capture good sunrise view, you need to go to Puncak Satu which I need to go down from Pondok Selada and take another way from simpang to another hill. Hmm,,,Since I cannot figure it out, I choose to climb instead and try to find a higher spot where I can clearly shoot the view. Apparently there are no such a place 😦 ….I keep climbing although I miss the sunrise. Oh, mannn,,,the trek is start getting harder, I guess it is around 70 degrees or something. The air is getting colder too. Hard to breath and easy to get tired. Fortunately, that’s not really long, I stranded in a wide savanna in the top called Tegal Alun,,,,omaigat,,,it is just too beautiful 😯 😯 . It is actually an edelweiss meadow. Too bad, it is not blossom at the time. if it was in June-August, when the tree used to blossoming, the savanna could be more beautiful.
I continued walking through the edelweiss tree, following some foot steps. Seems the place is quite familiar. It leads me to another side of the summit. There, I can see the view of Mount Puntang, Pondok Selada and the crater at one shoot. Wow! From there, I no need to go back to Tegal Alun to get the camping ground. Just go down and it is way closer 🙂
Fiuhhh,,,,tiring but enjoyable. As this is my first hiking experience, I learn a lot on how to survive in the journey, how to build a tent, what kinds of food and equipment which necessarily to bring, how to manage our durability, what kind of outfit do I need to wear, how to efficiently pack stuff in carrier bag, etc,,etc,,etc. It is enjoyable you know. Since then, I want to climb some other challenging mount like: Rinjani, Semeru, Gede-Pangrango, Merapi, Lawu, Slamet, and Kerinci. Insyaallah….Amin. If you plan to climb other challenging mount says Mount Rinjani or Mount Semeru, trying the less-height mount yet awesome may be a good idea. then, I will suggest to climb mount Papandayan. it is around 244 Km’s from Indonesia Capital, Jakarta, and around 100 km’s from the nearest big city. 🙂