Mt Blanc ascentBlog

Magic Moments

In the right place at the right time

If any of us ever needed proof that travel and adventure can combine to provide a powerful concoction, then look no further than the following extract from the travel diary of trainee doctor Simon Davey. An experienced traveller, he visited Indonesia in the summer of 2004. Many of us who travel and enjoy the outdoors regularly will know the feeling: to be in just the right place at just the right time...

"We witnessed a moment in time two nights ago that will simply never be seen again. The combination of the timing of the full moon, the sunset and the cloud formations cannot be the same again. It's almost impossible to convey what we saw, but I'll try.

We'd spent all day walking up the side of Gunung Rinjani - a very arduous 7-hour trek - to emerge out of the clouds with dazzlingly clear views of Mt Agung on Bali. A short time later the clouds cleared and the Gili Isles appeared below us: three dots off the North west coast of Lombok.

We battled on up to the crater lake at 2800m and a perfect conical volcanic dome, green lake water and the summit view opened up in front of us - just incredible. Night came in very fast and in a benevolent coincidence of timing, the full moon rose above the summit as the sun went to bed on the other side. Due to our height, the colours became more and more intense - reds to purples, yellows and everything in between. An ethereal mist appeared below us, above the crater lake, lit by the moon and we all agreed that Mordor did exist and it was down there. Some devilishly nasty beings must have been brewing their potions of evil and hate down in the hidden depths.

As if to confirm our view, the steady but very small lava trickles started to increase most alarmingly. This was followed by an eruption. The whole of one part of the crater rim caught fire and the most stunning display of nature that I have ever witnessed began to take shape. The lava trickles increased from about two runs to 15 or 20, trees and grass spontaneously caught fire and all the while on the other side there was this eerie silence and ghostly mist. The explosions carried on for about 40 minutes and no one said anything - there was this palpable silence between us and exchanged looks that understood we were all witnessing something that we'd never see again. The mountain hadn't erupted since 1991.

In the morning the sunrise was spectacular (how could it be anything but at that altitude with clear skies and views for over 50 miles to Bali and the seas beyond) but somehow it seemed rather unimpressive after the previous night's show. As we came off the rim and walked in a contented silence, I was overcome with a sense that life is just an amazing thing.

To arrange treks and adventures in Indonesia, contact us for more information