Every travel selfie tells a story. This is mine.
You see that smug look on my face in the photo above? That’s the look of someone who just climbed a live volcano. You wouldn’t know it, but a moment earlier I wasn’t looking quite as Instagrammable (#nofilter).
When you travel, you look for moments you’ll remember for the rest of your life. I had one recently in Bali, climbing one of the Indonesian holiday island’s two active volcanoes. It was a bucket list activity I absolutely loved…even if it became more like pass-the-bucket at the top.
Let me paint the picture for you: Mount Batur is 1717m above sea level. Its terrain was rocky, steep and pretty full-on, even for my fit travel troupe, which included a red-belt kickboxer and yoga instructor/pole dancing extraordinaire (I am neither, but fit enough).
The Mount Batur sunrise trek is one of Bali's most popular tourist activities, all of us in some weird state of denial that it's an ACTIVE volcano. It last erupted in 2000. Not much damage done, but as recently as 2009 there have been shallow volcanic earthquakes, which is kind of worrying. The last major eruption was 1963, which destroyed local villages and killed approximately 1000 people. Shouldn't that be enough to put us off?
Not in the slightest. UNESCO declared Batur Global Geopark a place of cultural and environmental importance, thanks to its beautiful double calderas (the collapsed craters at the summit), its lake and hot springs, and its sustainable agricultural businesses run by the local villages.
You can see the attraction now. So, we started hiking at 2.40am, with only the light of a mostly clear sky of stars, a big moon and our handheld torches (which we gripped for dear life).