Most Awesome New Year. Ever!

Okay, so typically, when people are having a new year party they either hang out with their friends or lovers, go to malls, cafes, or maybe having barbeque, etc. Well at least that’s what I did on my previous new years. However, this year was different. Yes, at the first day of 2011, me and my friend went hiking to mount Tangkuban Perahu. In the middle of the night. Rumor has it that this event was originally planned by panjigabus. However, said person apparently didn’t come when we went hiking, so he’s part of the +1 group now. I’ll tell this story in three parts, which I will over-glorify by calling them like this: the comfort zone, the trial, and the achievement.

The comfort zone

Ahh, the comfort zone. This is the beginning of our journey on new year. I have to tell this part because every journey begins with a single step (or at least that’s what’s written on someone’s e-mail signature). This whole trip begins at around 8 PM, at warung nasi goreng SR. After finishing our dinner, the eight of us: me, Imam, Dicky, Aban, Amril, Lestian, Syafiq, and Chrisna went to execute our new year plan. The whole outline of the plan went like this:

  1. Go to Arkan’s (a.k.a. Papah) house, which is located at Lembang via Dago.
  2. Rest until new year.
  3. Go to Tangkuban Perahu, and watch the sun rise.
  4. Go back home.

So, for 8 people we used 4 motorcycles. But, it turns out that delaying our departure until 8 pm is not a good decision. The reason became apparent soon: traffic jam. Oh well, at least we’re using motorcycles, so we can squeeze in between the cars during the traffic jam. Good thing we didn’t bring a car. However, the second problem arise: flat tire. Yep, it happened to Imam’s motorcycle, so we have to pit stop for around 15 minutes to change his tire.

Pictured above: Imam and the tambal ban guy

Well, the good news is that since it happened at the start of our trip, it’s rather easy to find a tambal ban (does tambal ban has any equivalent in english?) nearby.

The next part is the part where we have to go to Lembang via some road in Dago. And I’m telling you, this ain’t easy. To understand how hard it is, the convenient way to get from our campus to Lembang is via Setiabudi. However, due to the new year eve celebration being held around lembang and Setiabudi, the traffic jam made it impossible to go through that way while keeping your sanity in check. Well, as for the Dago-Lembang route, here’s an illustration. Imagine some area with steep slope, maybe around 45 degree plus damaged roads, and no street light. Then picture me actually getting separated from the other and got lost for a while. And to top it all, it’s bad enough to actually made one of the bolt for my bike’s license plate go missing.

After arriving at Lembang, we contacted Arkan, got picked up, and went to his house. Apparently, this is paradise😀. Arkan’s house is so comfy and there are soo many food there, that I think this is what it feels like when your faith is being tested. Oh well, here are some pics if you don’t believe me

That’s papah on the left, we’re in the bike garage

This one is the living room at papah’s quarter. When we first got here, there were plenty of snacks

Sate! Yum

And some corn cobs..

…and a bucket of ice cream. I dare you to say no to ice cream

These people are going to be in trouble when they go hiking

We ate so much that thie night could be dubbed as hari tamak sedunia. It’s so comfy that we almost didn’t want to leave Arkan’s house. But still we decided to stay strong, and with heavy hearts left this place for our journey towards Tangkuban Perahu. After having some moment of paradise at Arkan’s house, we decided to go hiking near 12:00 AM so that we can reach the crater just in time. We left our motorcycles at Arkan’s house since the road as pretty much jammed and it’s impossible to bring our motorcycles there. Yep, we spent our time during the change of year on the road to Tangkuban Perahu’s entrance.

So, we arrived at the entrance at around 00.30 . FYI, we’re not taking the scenic route for tourists, but we took the hiking trek instead.

The trial

And so, we entered.

Yeah, this picture was taken when we entered

First trouble for me after 45 minutes of hiking: apparently, since I kind of lazed off during my vacation, I hadn’t done enough sport that I didn’t have enough stamina to actually catch up with the others. As a result, we needed to take a break for a while because my head felt like it was spinning around – and I actually thought of giving up. Good thing everyone cheered me on and I eventually persisted. And also thanks to a coffee shop in the middle of the road for the caffeine. Eventually, we went on with me on the front so that our pace is adjusted to mine. I’m the bottleneck of this group -__-.

Well, for the next part there really is nothing much to say. It’s a 3-4 hours hike to the peak, with the path we take eventually changing from an open pathway to some obscure path in the middle of a jungle going up. That’s right, it’s almost pitch dark in the middle of a jungle with the pathway becoming so faded that we almost got lost. In fact, we actually got lost a bit due to a fork in the road and we didn’t know which way to take. Relying on GPS isn’t an option because there is no data coverage (should’ve downloaded the map before going in). If you didn’t bring a flashlight with you when entering this part in the middle of the night, you’re done for.

Pretty much looks like this. Without the camera flash, it’s pitch dark

And when we eventually reached the peak, turns out that there’s a statio for capturing lightning bolts. Probably one of the research facility of a professor in electrical power engineering, although I’m not sure.

We’re at the peak

Buut, turns out that the peak isn’t our final destination. After reaching the peak, we still need to go down to reach the crater. And the road down isn’t easy either, it’s awfully steep and requires you to take careful steps. If the road upwards requires strength and stamina, then the road downwards requires dexterity. And I fell down a lot due to some stupid branches sticking out of nowhere. Ohhh and after almost an hour of tumbling down and sliding, we reached the crater.

The achievement

YES! We’ve reached the crater. It’s quite a feeling, knowing that you’ve passed a hardship to reach your destination. Yes, it’s the feeling of fulfillment.

There’s a crater behind me, but it’s apparently too dark to see. Believe me.

The wind was cold and blowing like crazy and my joints were aching and felt like they would freeze off. And my friends actually left me and went to the musholla first -___-. Anywho, we got some great pics taken at the crater near sunrise.

Nice, huh😀

Oh and since the wind was so strong, we tried to do a boyband like march where we walked side by side and have the wind blows so that our jackets flutter around. Lestian has the video, so I’ll ask him about it later.

After some fun photograph session, we went back to Arkan’s house using the angkot near there, had breakfast along the way, and slept all the way through until lunch.

Breakfast at some toasted bread seller along the way

Rest time!

Oh and guess what? Papah’s actually gave us another meal at lunch! Wow you’re the best!😀

After lunch, I went back to my kost, took a bath – a really clean one – and went to sleep. Thanks to all of my friends for this trip😀. Thanks to Imam, Dicky, Aban, Chrisna, Lestian, and Amril for this trip and for helping me along the way, cheering me on when I though I couldn’t go on anymore. Thanks to Arkan and his parents for providing us with food and accomodation, and even transportation. Thanks to Annisa Fitri for the sms along the way. It lifted my spirit back up :*. And especially, thanks to Allah swt. For giving me this two legs and arms so that I can hike, and for creating Tangkuban Perahu with its magnificent sunrise.

Moral of the story: Even when you think you can’t go on anymore, push through. Persistence is what kept the human race going throughout history. And secondly, the most important: Your friends are your treasure who will help you reach your dreams J. As one of my professor said: “Your GPA is used only up to your graduation. But your friends, they are your lifelong treasure.” If it’s not for my friends, I would’ve given up at the first steep slope. Thank you guys!

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