There are about 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia, one of the most popular ones being Mount Papandayan, located 2,665 meters above sea level in Garut, West Java. My boyfriend and I usually go hiking together so we decided to spend our long weekend holiday (three days/two nights) at Mount Papandayan.
On a Thursday night we started our journey from Jakarta to Camp David (Mount Papandayan base camp), which took us about six hours. We rode three different modes of public transportation from bus, angkot (public minivan), to a pickup car!
After registering at the base camp, we started the hike at around 8 a.m. There’s no need for hurrying to go up—the summit will not go anywhere! Kidding aside, after walking for about 20 minutes from Camp David, we reached the crater area. It’s beautiful but we didn’t stay too long because of the smell of sulfur there.
People have said that we’ll know the true heart of a person or make new friends while on the mountain. Well, it’s all true. We met new companions during our journey, turning us into a group of eight. They’re hilarious!
After trekking for about two hours, we arrived at the camp ground named Pondok Salada. Looking for a spot for our tents was a bit challenging because it was full of people who needed a weekend getaway, just like us! I’m glad that we found a nice spot to build our tent and hang the hammock at. Our first night at Papandayan was fun.
The next morning, we started trekking to Hutan Mati (the Dead Forest) and Tegal Alun. The trees in Hutan Mati are blackened as if they’re dead. The forest’s vegetation was burned by lava flow in a past eruption. It creates a stunning panorama! Here is a link explaining why it is called the Dead Forest.
From Hutan Mati, we continued to trek up hills as steep as probably around 70°, holding from one trunk of a tree or strong tree roots to another. Sometimes we rested for few seconds just to sip water, catch our breaths, and enjoy the view.
Finally we arrived at Tegal Alun (2,622 meters above sea level), one of the widest edelweiss meadows in West Java. I wanted to capture everything with my favorite hiking camera, the Pentax Espio Mini loaded with a roll of Fuji Natura 1600. On the way back to our camp, we realized that the path leading to Tegal Alun was the unpopular one and not the other which is called Tanjakan Mamang. Oh, so that’s why it was harder to follow although it was a faster route.
Now I know why Mount Papandayan is popular among beginners and, well, probably every hiker. Climbing it took me less time and energy compared to my previous trekking trips to Mount Rinjani and Mount Ungaran. Papandayan also offers a magnificent panorama. It was worth all the sweat!
Additional information in this article was sourced from Wikipedia and as cited/linked within the article.
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