Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Journey To The Clouds (Part. 2)

A Walk to Remember

“Thousand miles journey must begin with a single step”

-An adventurer

January 17, 2008

The first step:

It was Thursday. The weather in my hometown was clear and fine. The wide blue sky stretched along the horizon. It was near perfect since I had prayed for this weather two weeks before in every single day. The same as always, I went to the airport on my own carrying my 60 liter carrier. As a matter of fact, after six years I didn’t carry it, suddenly it seems too big for me :p.

My plane took off at 9.45am. The flight was nice except the last twenty minutes. I was sleeping on my seat when the plane experienced a light turbulence. The stewardess then announced we went for bad weather forward. Well, I was so worry that time. I found myself holding my breath and gripping the armrest tightly. Thanks God it didn’t take a long time.

I called Debi as soon as I arrived at Juanda Airport Surabaya. He couldn’t fetch me because of his works but he already arranged everything for me. From the airport, I continue my trip to Malang by a travel car Debi rented for me. I spent my first day visiting some old friends. They welcomed me warmly like a long-long-lost-friend. We talked so much about our past and I enjoyed every word we shared. After that short reunion, I headed to my senior’s house where I stayed during a week visitation.

January 18, 2008

The second step:

The next day I repacked my carrier leaving all the hiking stuff inside it. I had planned to hike on the third day. Debi ‘kidnapped’ me in the middle of the night. It was the craziest part of this trip. He made me lift that 60 liter carrier in sleepy eyes and taking me for two hours driving to his house in Pasuruan. If only he wasn’t my best friend, I would never do it. If there’s somebody who will never change, he must be Debi!

In his car, we talked so much about the times we were together in the university until finally he grumbled, “You know what? University is like a labyrinth for me. Once I enter the maze, I will never find the way out. So please stop questioning me when I will graduate from the uni.”


January 19, 2008

The third step:

The real journey really came on the third day. I headed to my old campus. As I got there, Debi and my hiker friends had already waited for me with a classic Land Rover behind them. Woohoo, it was so damn cool!!

There were twelve of us altogether in a Land Rover (what?). It was lucky that we have our slim body so there was no big problem for us. We rode for an hour leaving the city of Malang to Tumpang regency. Beautiful green scenery knocked our eyeballs along the way. It was like a giant painting on the earth canvas. There was no time for us to take our sight out of the window. That’s why I always longing for this journey back!

We stopped for a short rest at Poncokusumo-Tumpang and continuing our four hours long trip to Ranu Pane Village on the foot of Mount Semeru. We drove through the 2 meters wide paving block path. On the left and right side of us were deep gorges. It is dangerous driving here unless having a good driving skill. Years ago, I strongly chose villagers’ truck to take me to the village. I thought it was more safety since the villagers know every inch of the path so well.

As our Land Rover climbed to Ranu Pane Village, the temperature started to drop colder. It could be a special problem for me who spends life most in a tropical city whose temperature range between 32 – 36 Celcius degree. For my lucky, it was not my first time hiking on Semeru region. I reached 3676 meters above sea level Mahameru summit in 1996 so I didn’t get any difficulty to acclimatize with the drop of temperature.

By the evening, we entered the area of Ranu Pane. In front of us was a giant Mahameru sandy summit. It looked gorgeous in thin foggy veil and golden sunset. I regretted that we didn’t have any chance to take pictures of the amazing moment (my friend said I could shoot it the next morning on our way back home, but actually as we went down, the thick fog covered whole village in completely white. I am so sorry, readers …). It was the first annoying thing I found in my trip.

The second, because of some reason such as weather and landslides, the mountain officer didn’t permit us to hike until Ranu Kumbolo in 2800 meters height. All we could do then was taking a five minutes walk passing Ranu Pane to Ranu Regulo. Oh, for your information, the word ‘ranu’ means ‘lake’ in English. We camped a night at Ranu Regulo. I did my evening and night pray at the small quay near the lake under the bright starry night sky. Thank you, Allah, for giving me one more chance to back here.

January 20, 2008

The fourth step:

I woke up early in the morning. The temperature was still freezing everyone inside our tent. After doing my morning pray, I slipped into the warmth of sleeping bag waiting for sunrise. When the soft light of the sun appeared from the eastern hill, I zipped my windbreaker and left the tent to the quay. Sitting at the quay I saw a blanket of thin fog floating on the lake. It was beautiful and mysterious at the same time. Far across the quay, there was a Tengger man fishing alone.

Tengger tribe is native inhabitant of Ranu Pane, just like Sherpa in Nepal. They make their life by farming. They are physically characterized by their short body, white skin and reddish cheeks. Most of them live their life in a pure simplicity. I was still sitting at the quay when four Tengger boys passed by the path. I guessed they were about 8 or nine years old. The smallest boy brought a small axe while the others carried a heavy bunch of firewood on their little shoulders.

As they passed our campsite, they stopped to look around. I didn’t know what kind of feeling it was but I took a pity at them. Their ragged clothes and boots remind me of the ones I wore thirty years ago. I called them and asked them to have breakfast with us. The smile of happiness on their cute face really touched me when they walked shyly to me. Well, I am a teacher. Children have been the biggest part of my life. But these little Tengger boys inspired me more. That time – while the little boys were having their breaksfast – I wished one day I can be a teacher here, in Ranu Pane village.

Next, at about 9.30am, we packed our stuff and prepared to leave Ranu Regulo. The next destination was waiting for us. (To be continued)

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