I said goodbye to Elsie in Ubud on May 30th and headed off on my own to the mountains for some R&R from our adventures. (my R&R is trekking…i find it very relaxing to get lost in dense unknown jungles. I’ve found that’s a unique personal preference! )
Went back to Bukit Kembar Eco Guesthouse straddling the lakes and was welcomed by Papa and Mama Jeroo and the extended family. I had found some trails on the navigation app, Maps.Me, on my phone and headed off to see where they would take me.
I had to find a tiny trail of the main road because the other trailhead was manned by local guides asking for $10 to trek …and they wouldn’t have let me go alone, not in a million years. So, I walked away from them and took the first narrow path I saw leading into the green jungle and down towards the lake. The air was heavy and still but the jungle itself was alive and chirping, buzzing, humming and screeching. I went straight down the side of the mountain on a tiny mud path slipping and catching myself before I fell 100ft or more straight down.
I loved it. I was prepared with water, food, maps, sense of adventure, and willingness to get lost and be wherever I was. I could barely see the sky at times it was covered in a layer of green. Sunlight peeked through the foliage casting broad beams across my path. It was just me and the mountains, jungle, and lakes. I didn’t see anyone that first trek. I also had no idea where I was. I got pretty turned around, my sense of direction in this environment was a bit rusty but still there (luckily). It was awesome. I was out there quoting Robert Frost when my path split (two roads diverged in a yellow wood…), John Muir to articulate the sense of health and wholesomeness nature provides and enables (time (spent in nature) will not be taken from the sum of life but rather added to it), and some Dr. Suess to keep things light (it’s wider out there in the wide open air!).
Trekking on my own was rejuvenating, centering, and exciting. I did think Eric would’ve been a good trekking buddy to throw up my hands with in dramatic fashion and claim to have no idea where we are going and then promptly march in some direction confidently (sound like a Heitz? Yeah I inherited that trait completely. Gets me some good times and into some hot water and totally lost occasionally. Ha!)
That first day I made it to a temple on the Eastern Lake (on the map) which was completely deserted except for a bunch of viciously loud dogs. It took me about 4 hours because I did stop and check maps every 15 min or so just to make sure I was going the direction I wanted to go in (I chose which lake I wanted to see)
because there were many paths that were not on my application and a lot of times my little GPS locator dot just showed up in the green area (forest) on no trail at all! HA! What fun.
I hiked back up the canyon and at the top, as I emerged, I ran into a guide and a group of Auzzies and French about to embark down the cliff and to the west lake. The guides and I chatted in Indonesian and they were stunned that I was off on my own and trekking no less but they grinned afterwards and just told me to be careful. Very friendly. I came up on a different trail but one that was easier to find than the last one so I used this one the next day.
I bought veggies and papaya and had fresh papaya and brown rice and veggies overlooking the northern side of the mountains.
The family was doing laundry and construction down near the rooms where I was staying and they chatted with me and helped me knock a passionfruit off the tree next to their temple with a huge bamboo rod. They offered me black rice pudding the next day, a balinese specialty, as well as taro cooked to perfection. When I went up for breakfast to the restaurant I greeted all 7 of the family was asked what I was doing was offered all sorts of things and the youngest daughter of six would make me a cup of very sweet balinese coffee. Breakfast was an egg, a banana crepe/pancake and a few cups of balinese coffee. Lunch was fresh papaya, crackers, and balinese peanut butter (so fucking sweet Jiffy doesn’t hold a candle). Dinner was usually chicken sate, fried rice or noodles, sauteed veggies, and chilis. Good livin.
The next day I decided to trek around the west lake.
I stumbled across another temple halfway around the lake where i snapped a few pics.
I made it all the way to the famous temple on the opposite side 3/4 of the way around.I couldn’t go any further because the trail hit the main road and I had no desire to walk 5 kilometers on the highway of the mountains to get back to my guesthouse. This trail was clearly more used. I found out why pretty quickly. Three or four groups of guided tours met me on the trail. This was the trail that the advertised trekking around the lake used. Oh well. It was quiet after I got away from them. But it was fun to practice indonesian to the guides and see the astonished faces of the tourists. I had a walking stick I had picked up the other day to ward off the dogs at the other temple but it turned out to be a great hiking partner so I kept it.
I would trek 4-5 hours in the morning,
have some fresh papaya for lunch and then zoom the beautiful mountain roads of my F1 150cc Honda scooter (same one I used for my last two week scooter trip in Bali). The roads were good, the views were incredible. The wind in my hair and the chill being thwarted by my rain jacket as I zoomed. The feeling of flying is both thrilling and addicting.
I was sad to leave my Balinese family but I’m confident I’ll be back. They gave me 2 bags of the coffee they make there at the guesthouse and hugged me many times before sending me on my way with many “hati hati olive”, careful careful olivia. They called me olive.
Thanks Bukit Kembar and Mama and Papa Jeroo. I’ll be back to share your table and trek around your beautiful lakes and mountains.
me in my room and my view:)
Off to Hanoi I go!