The final hike to the summit was desperately hard. The trail became loose gravel, rising at a steep angle, and the effects of the high altitude soon became apparent as I gasped for breath.
Dawn was already starting to touch the sand and rocks while i was struggling climbing the almost vertical sand hill. With giving all my strength, i finally manage to stand on top of the ground of Anjani goddess. It has the most beautiful views of Rinjani.
On the west side, you can see Mount Agung which is located in Bali, while on the east side you can can see Mount Tambora which is located in Sumbawa. The mist disappear as the sun rising. They look graceful that morning.
“After this, we’ll be there,” said my companion, pointing downward. From that point, Segara Anak Lake, that streches six kilometer is visible. Also Mount Barujari with its typical cone-shaped ancient mountain and the beauty of the Segara anak Lake are inevitable.
I immediately move and cannot wait to enjoy the view from more up close.
To reach Segara Anak Lake from Plawangan Sembalun, i was told to descend the steep rocky valley. And i tell you, it was slippery. I slipped few times.
My body felt so tired after our stop at the top of Rinjani at 3726 meters above mean sea level, and now I still have to go down to 2000 meters. But the hard work was paid off when i saw a giant lake in distance.
“Like in the Jurrasic park movie,” i muttered. My leg got even more motivated. It’s true what people said. The view of the mountain can beat any fatigue!
After a long way down the ridge, i was greeted by the sound of Segara Anak’s water, rustling quietly. The wind blew from the valleys around the lake as if it is protecting the lake from the outside world.
Segara Anak Lake (“”Child of the Sea”” in Sasak language) is sacred to the Lombok’s people. For the ethnically Balinese Hindus the Lake are the Home of the Gods, and for the Sasaks too, some of who still cling to pre-Islamic beliefs, the waters are home to powerful spirits.
At the edge of the lake, there are crude alters, a scattered with Balinese sesajen offerings, and during the annual Pakelem festival pilgrims make their way up from the villages to cast offerings into the lake.
It is not easy to reach the lake since there is no flat track straight to it. Inevitably we have to climb the Plawangan peak, and then head down to the lake.
“Please have some pineapple, sir,” A porter offered me a slice of pineapple when i sat down, exhausted on the edge of the lake. Maybe he could see it from my place face as I sat there, leaning on my 80 litter backpack. I accepted the kinds of the porter with pleasure.
While eating the pineapple, i could see some people were happy because they caught a huge fish, while in distance Barujari Mountain i standing smugly. “Ahh, this country is very beautiful,” I murmured.
“If you are tired, try to soak in hot spring water, you will feel refreshed instantly,” said my friend. After setting up our camp, I immediately head towards the south lake. Only about a hundred meters from the camp I found a natural Rinjani hot spring.
Several people were enjoying the warm natural pond. Funnily enough, a few wild monkeys were watching us from above and they waited until our guard lay down so they could steal the food! I heard that there are some people who have lost their eggs or chocolate. What a clever monkey!
One more reward of the Segara Anak is the Milk Cave. It got this name because the inside of the cave is milky white. Stalagmites in the cave roof drop hot water, so hot vapors come out of the cave mouth. It’a a stunning natural sauna. The hot water and Milk cave makes my sleep very soundly at night.
The best moment to be in Segara Anak is at sunset. As if a painting, orange tinges form transverse lines on the walls of valley around the lake. Some walls are partially exposed to a golden light, some remain dark. It is a light show that really makes an impression on the heart. Segara anak is the heaven of Rinjani. There are no words that can describe the beauty and camera do not seem to capture its beauty the way it truly is.
I just closed my eyes, inhale, and take this beauty to my heart.