The adventurous trek is that I was slipping and stumbling up a slope of the active volcano. It was only a few hours after midnight and I was hiking in complete darkness under the sky with its star lights, the path illuminated by nothing more than our flashlights. I tripped over a rock and nearly fall on my face before an arm shoots out and pulls me upright. I mumble an embarrassed ‘thank you’ to our Balinese guide, who’s spent the better part of the last kilo meter preventing me from breaking various limbs or falling off the side of the volcano we were climbing in struggle.
In the complete blackness of the night, I can’t tell how far up we were or how much farther we needed to go. In many ways, that uncertainty is a relief. I only had this moment, one foot in front of the other, the sight of darkness, the feeling of sweat on my back under my pack, and the sound of people breathing as we formed a single line up the quite narrow switchbacks.
We were headed to the peak of Mt Batur. The sunrise trek is a popular hike for tourists to Bali, and as soon as I heard about it, I knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stand atop an ancient volcano and watch the sun come up over the sea. On my first morning in Bali, I had signed up for the next available trek with no research into how long it would take to reach the summit, how high we would go, or how difficult it would be.
The peculiar thing is that I am in fact afraid of heights.This would be a really unremarkable fear, aside from I’m additionally fixated on mountain climbing. I point the finger at it on travel. In the place where I grew up of Toronto, I can’t venture on the glass floor of our celebrated around the world CN Tower in light of the fact that the hold of dread is excessively exceptional. Watching out the window of a companion’s skyscraper townhouse gives me vertigo. Be that as it may, stick me in an outside nation, and all of a sudden there’s no such thing as too high — in any event not when there’s a crest there holding up to be climbed.
I’m in no way, shape or form an expert mountain dweller, yet in the event that there is a trail winding its way up any kind of slope/bluff/spring of gushing lava/mountain, I need to be on it, working my sweat-soaked self toward the top. It’s that yearning to continue moving higher that is driven me to climb volcanoes in Iceland, mountains in the Andes, and a Sleeping Giant in Canada. (It’s additionally what’s driven me to have a fixation on all things Mount Everest, despite the fact that I have adequate solid uncertainty in my abilities to go that far.)
Travel friends have reviled me for awakening them at 2am so we could watch the dawn from 1,700 meters or demanding that Machu Picchu does not merit checking whether it doesn’t take four days of moving to achieve it. No prepare for this young lady.
Presently, full divulgence: climbing Mt Batur is truly not that extreme. It’s sufficiently testing to make your muscles shout for a couple of hours — yet then, before it gets to be distinctly excruciating, you’ve achieved the top. What’s more, that is possibly why I’m so dependent on mountain trails. Physicality has never been my strong point, however this unfaltering development of climbing, venture by moderate stride, is a center ground where athletic ability comes next place to sheer yearning and assurance. You don’t need to be Sir Edmund Hillary to discover a spot where it feels like the world is at your feet. You don’t need to dangle from the Dawn Wall to realize that you’re accomplishing something past the customary. You’re quite recently moving and advancing toward the top admirably well, and when the view opens up, it has an inclination that it’s there only for you.
At dawn, the sky turns from dark to inky blue to pink and orange. With the light, we can perceive how far we’ve climbed. I’m perched on a stone edge neglecting the town housetops, tasting espresso and eating a sticky bun. My feet are dangling into the air and the breadth of the valley extends before me. I can see the black out diagram of the island of Lombok out yonder. I’m high, high up with nothing to prevent me from falling and my fear is mysteriously gone.
Over the valley there’s a considerably higher spring of gushing lava: Mount Agung, the most holy mountain and most noteworthy point on the island. Explorers consistently make a comparative dawn trek up Agung, and it takes eight hours to achieve the 3,000-meter summit. Our guide sees my eyes flicking up along the inclines and looking at the pinnacle high over our roost, and inquires as to whether I’d get a kick out of the chance to handle it while I’m here in Bali. He perceives my fixation. He knows: I’m drained and sore yet there are still higher slopes to climb.