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Ranu Kumbolo Trip Part IV The Toughest Night in My Life

Hey guys!
I'm sorry for the longest time ever to update the part four of my hiking journey to Ranu Kumbolo. I was actually quite moved to write again about this journey because someone (Hardiyanto Rizki) commented on my Instagram and asked for the update and he said he has been waiting forever, lol. I honestly felt guilty about it and now, here it is! The part four! Hope you enjoy it.

If I'm not mistaken, we arrived at the camping area around 3 PM. I just couldn't wait to land my butt over those (dry) grasses. There were quite a lot of campers already built their tent, so we looked for a nice place to rest and then we started to build our tent. I actually didn't help much with the tent, but I really did help as much as I could, haha.. After the tent is ready, some of us (including me) were resting inside the tent, some were cooking for dinner, and some just chilling around, enjoying the view

At that time, I actually started to feel the coldness of Ranu Kumbolo. I really didn't expect that it would be that cold, but I was not worried, because I thought I have enough layers to conquer the weather until the next day, besides, hiding inside the sleeping bag also helped. It made me feel like a cocoon, haha..

Not too long after the short nap, my friend woke me up and told me that the meal was ready. So I woke up, and got out of the tent, and O My God, it was SO COLD already!! I went back inside and put on some more layers, which actually my last layers. I was starting to be a bit worried, but then I saw my skinny friend, she's only wearing two thin pieces of clothing and she was totally fine, for God sake, is it me or is it her who's not normal? hahaha..

Thank God for these amazing cook, I mostly enjoy what they cooked for us. yummy!

At this stage, I kept seeing a big cloud coming back and forth through the lake and our camping area. When it came, it's suddenly became super foggy, cold and a bit rainy, but when it gone, it went back to bright and sunny, not so cold, but still cold, haha.. It was actually kinda weird, but we were the ones who has to adapt, so yeah...

Speaking of adapting, after eating our meal, some of us took a pee in that nasty chamber that we thought were toilets. Turned out, it was just a filthy stinky room with a big hole filled with everyone's shit. (beware, if you're lucky enough you'll get to see the real shit over there). Ugh, so horrible.. I prefer peeing on the bush, really.

I guess at 5PM, all of us went inside the tent, and rest inside the sleeping bag. We were expecting that we would wake up at 11 PM and started to hunt the Milky Way pictures (argh, so excited!!), after that we could go back sleeping again until the next day. But NO! The "fun" has just began.

(this part has no pictures, because... you'll understand after reading it)

Around 6PM, I woke up, and freezing. Like literally shaking and trembling! I saw my two friends were still sleeping heavenly. I heard that it was raining lightly outside, maybe that's probably why it got colder. But to me, it was really cold. I tried to look for more coverage for my body, but I had nothing left. I got back to my sleeping bag and tried not to think about it and hoped the night would ended soon.


I couldn't sleep and I had a feeling that the night would get even worse. And yes it really did. The rain got heavier and heavier, and I really felt that I couldn't hold on for any longer. As I was shaking and trembling inside my sleeping bag, I felt that the rain was coming inside the tent, like literally we had rain inside the tent!! I tried to wake my friends and told them that I was freezing, and asked them wtf with the tent?? They seemed a little worried, but they felt like it was probably not just us who encounter such problem, so they told me to try went back sleeping again.

I was super uncomfortable, and that was when everything started to go at the wrong direction. As I froze, my eyes got a little bit blurry, and I started to get paranoid. A lot of bad thoughts was running through my mind. Telling me that I shouldn't be there at the first place and what would I do if I were in Surabaya, I started to think about my family and stuff. Thinking about how many people that died over hypothermia on the mountain, and my name might be added on the victim list very soon. I really felt that I might just died there, I couldn't stand the cold anymore.

Then the worst part coming

Just within minutes after my 'halu' moment, we got another surprise. Our tent was not just leaking from the top, but it was also leaking from the bottom. So we had a quite heavy rain inside our tent, and we also had a quite bad flood coming from the higher surface as well. At that time, I just couldn't be calmed down anymore. I told one of my friend who is a guy to take action for it. We tried to shout from inside our tent, asking if our neighbor were still awake and also had the same problem with us. Thankfully, one of them replied and told us that their tent was fine. Turned out, it was just us whose tent was leaking. 

Three of us, were cold (especially me) and half wet. And the only guy inside our tent finally man up and checked to the other tent if we could move there. So he wore his poncho, and went out of our tent, in the dark, among the heavy rain, and the super cold weather to save our lives. I felt quite bad for him, since he has the skinniest body of all the guys, yet he carried one of the heaviest bag, he had breathing problem, and now he had to freeze in the rain. But he was our hero of the night!

The funny thing was, he brought this "fresh care", he gave it to me when I told him I was super cold so that I would feel warmer, I put it only to the palm of my hands to warm it down, then he poured it all over his body before he went out of the tent. I first thought it would be my life saver, but then I realize, it just give us a warm sensation for a second and then it gave us that sudden breeze feelings afterwards, LOL. It's funny how I can laugh about it now, but seriously it wasn't even something to be laughed at back there.

So long story short, we moved to the other tent, three of us wet, and we had to take off our first layer so that we won't get sick. It was a really sandwich situation inside. Six of us in a tent that's only fit for three, we had to sleep on our side, and some of us couldn't straighten our legs. Thank God I got more additional layers from a friend and because there were too many people in the tent, it made me feel warmer. My life was (uncomfortably) saved.

At first we were all awake and hoping that the rain would stop soon, we chatted, and played card games, we tried to get comfortable as possible as we could just to kill time. An hour had passed, but the rain remains the same. My friend peeked out of the tent, the cycle was no difference. It was the same cloud that had been coming and going back and forth through the lake that brought the rain. I was so overwhelmed and tired at that point, I gave up, I told them I'm going back to sleep, and little did I know, I fell asleep very shortly.

Around 3 AM, I woke up and I heard many noises outside. No, not from the rain, apparently it has stopped (YAY!). It was the people's voices saying, "it's out.. it's out..". By that, they meant.. THE MILKY WAY! I woke my friends up and we rushed to step out of our tent and looked up, Holy Moly YES IT WAS OUT!

I couldn't describe how beautiful it was, I never seen anything like this before. Surely, these crappy pictures won't do its justice, it was 100000x prettier in real life, TRUST ME. We set up our own gear to capture the Milky Way, but sadly, it was not as easy as I thought. You had to set the camera right, and there must be no single light striking there, since we had to set the shutter speed into bulb, so any movement or light would be a major distraction to the picture.

Besides of the light distraction made by the people there (it was so dark, so anyone that wants to walk around had to use their flashlight, which caused a distraction to the picture), we didn't have much time either, because to get one click, we had to wait for at least 30 seconds, and if it failed, we had to take another shot and waited for another 30 seconds. And if the settings of the camera was not right, we had to change it again and try again and wait again. No kidding, it took so much effort. And without us knowing, it was already 4 AM. The sky wasn't as dark, it turned blue and the milky way slightly started to disappearing. 

I didn't get the perfect Milky Way pictures for sure. But at least I already witness them with my own eyes, and  the funny thing was, all the struggle with the cold suddenly disappeared. I didn't say it wasn't cold anymore, it still did. But the beauty of the Milky Way (and the struggle to capture it) apparently has distracted me and my immune to be more focus on that rather than to the cold.

Around 4 AM-ish, people start to shift their camera, from the fading Milky Way, to the lake of Ranu Kumbolo, as we were expecting the sun would rise so beautifully there. And............ Let's talk about that part on my next post!

Perhaps I've told you before about this but let me warn you again this time about what I've learned from that crazy night of mine at Ranu Kumbolo :
1. Check your tent, is it already waterproof, rainproof and leak proof.
2. Please bring anything that would make you warm instantly! Long john, hitec, heat packs (if there's any), ointment (obviously not Safe Care, it's not safe for you up there).
3. Flashlight would be handy
4. If you don't like to pee in those bush, or in the nasty hole, you can bring adult diaper, but it would be quite complicated to take off too, and adult diaper is expensive.
5. Learn about how to take Milky Way shot before you hike, don't waste your time trying on the spot.

Okay guys that's it for the story about part four of Ranu Kumbolo series : the toughest night in my life , I hope this post helps you! And I will post three more posts about the trip :
- Ranu Kumbolo Trip Part V : Finally Morning
- Ranu Kumbolo Trip Part VI : Tanjakan Cinta
- Ranu Kumbolo Trip Part VII : Way Back Home

Please also read my previous posts about Ranu Kumbolo
Ranu Kumbolo Trip Part I : Preparation & Tips

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