Thursday, April 17, 2014

Morning has broken - Mount Penanjakan

Pak Ecok told us that he would knock our doors at 3.15 am but beaming with excitement we were all ready minutes before the knock. In the dark, the only street in Cemoro Lawang was packed with numerous jeeps making their way to the view point on Mt. Penanjakan 2,770m) to witness the first ray of morning lights. We got on the jeep and like a roller coaster our vehicle jolted into the dark narrow lane up the mountain. The 45 minutes ride landed on a slope about 800 meters from the peak of Penanjakan. People, motorcycles and jeeps jammed the narrow dirt lane, all competing to be at the highest point for the best view. Depending on how fit you are, the moderate walk would take you about 15 to 20 minutes. We decided to save our energy for the later Bromo climb, so we quickly hoped onto one of the many rental ojek (motorcycle) for 10,000 Rupiah (1USD). 
Grilled corns 

It was less than five minutes ride and after that there were few steps further up. The steps were filled with people and the enticing aroma of coffee and grilled corns from the many make shift stalls along the way filled the air. We had to resist the temptation as getting the best spot was the priority. My chocolate bar and mineral water would suffice at the moment. Hundreds of people filled the space on Mt. Penanjakan and we squeezed ourselves through the crowd, looking for a spot to get the best view of sunrise. In pitch black, I’ve the least idea, which part of the view point would give the best view. The temperature was less than 15 degrees Celsius I figured out and fortunately, the sky was clear and the weather was extremely fine. I climbed the steel fence to get my head above the crowd but there are others who climbed higher on the brick pillars. We were actually at the edge of the cliff!  
As the first light pierced through the sky at about 5.15 am, the crowd roared into cheers and countless flashes of camera lights twinkled as the spectators attempted to capture the first morning ray. Then, I realized I was actually at the other end of the viewpoint, much closer to the caldera.  Slowly the sky turned ochre, illuminating lights on the massive panoramic view of Mount Bartok, Mount Bromo and Mount Semeru at the far end.   Amazingly spectacular!

The view much closer to me

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