ALMOST THERE, MT GEDE

Mount Gede, oh Mount Gede. How shall i begin? It was 10 months ago, i was headed to Jakarta to get away from Singapore. Its the cheapest option that fits my extremely poor budget. It wouldn't be smart of me to run from city to another city so i thought to myself, "Let's hike." I got on google search and to find the nearest mountain would be Mount Gede in Bogor. Actually there was a few other mountains that i was quite torn in choosing so this was a random pick.

It was another solo attempt indefinitely but i was too broke to get there so i decided to call up any acquaintance that had love to join me so we could split the cost. Intan, an ex co-worker when i was a teenager, came up & then there was a certain Sulaiman, as young as my little brother, who was already in Jakarta and planning to hike there and that's how Team Gede was born. Well, luck was on my side - i feel the force was strongly with me.
There was one problem though, to enter Mount Gede, we need a permit with a guide as well. After tons of research, i found a way to peak Mount Gede with the help of a local guide from the Airbnb accommodation that i stayed in. The accommodation was dirt cheap, 10 bucks split 3 ways, i was so grateful for having new friends on board. 

My guide? His name is Tom. What does he says he claims he is? A member of the Botanic Gardens of Indonesia and his father is an ex  Director of Botanic Gardens of Indonesia  & National Park of Indonesia. His accommodation reflects well from what he claims. I was stunned that his house is like a jungle - trees inside the bungalow and lots of botanical research books, photos and paraphernalia of plants etc strewn on the floors and pasted on the walls. It felt like i just barged into a detectives house of plants. Other than that, photos of travelers that used to stay in his house was also pasted together on the wall with the mess going on. Pretty nostalgic place - he sure knows his stuff. We stayed for a night and head out before dawn to Mount Gede.

  It was a trip full of stopovers to change vehicles. Once we arrived at the base of Mount Gede, we went to fill up our stomach before the hike begins. I tried my first Nasi Uduk which is known to be a popular breakfast meal in Indonesia. We then started distributing the weights of our bags equally and warm up for the long day ahead. 
 Everything was about to go disastrous from this point on.....
When we started our hike, there was a porter that followed us up till the first base camp (pictured below). That makes a total of 5 people hiking up together. Over here, we are suppose to show our permit to enter the mountains and this was when all the misunderstanding happen. Tom assume i wanted to hike up till Cibereum Waterfalls and spend the night there therefore our permit was a half journey permit and we will not be able to hike up to the peak.
All of us started discussing the possibility of hiking up the peak without the full permit & a proper guide as tourist needed a guide. So let's rewind a little bit....in my conversation with him before this ordeal, he said he can be my guide to bring us all the way up to the peak with full confidence. Unfortunately, he meant up till the waterfalls....further on, we need a proper guide. I take it from my part that we had a miscommunication while i clearly said i wanted to go to the peak. 

We were given a choice to pay slightly more to bring the porter up to the next base camp to pitch but we didn't want to spend more than we accounted for. We were stranded for half an hour or so because our porter had to take a bigger tent for us and we were worried that the both of them had left us here. Thankfully, they came back and we continued our beautiful journey.

We then reach the waterfall site and pick a spot to pitch our tent. We dump our stuff in the tent except for our passport and money and take a risk to continue our way up. It started drizzling, we rested and then kept going until we reach a hot waterfall crossing. It was an interesting experience. We had to hold on to ropes and take turns to climb the big wet rocks at the edge of the mountain with the heat from the waterfall.It was pretty crowded with the locals coming down from Surya Kencana base camp. The name of the main camp before you summit. 
We had to stop here, the last little climb to Surya Kencana due to the bad weather and getting dark. It was measured at 2400m at the hot waterfall and with a heavy heart, we started to descend. Our day was not ruin - we still felt good and the next day we went to have a bath at the waterfall! Its a beautiful sight! I am in awe. It has been a truly great experienced and i would do it again in a heartbeat. 

I muttered under my breathe,"Almost there, Mt Gede. Almost there........" 
With that, we left Mt Gede for another city. Safe travels.

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