Continuing from my last post... this will be the last of our crazy no-sleep adventure and then the paradise salty waters are up next. This might end up being a mini novel, but it was quite the experience for me where I realized I had endurance for the first time in my life!
Trying to get to Kawah Ijen Volcano:
So directly after the Madakaripura Waterfalls, our driver dropped us off at the bus station so that we could make our way in the general direction of Ijen Crater. We learned as we were on the bus that there was no way to get to the base of Ijen without having a driver, and well we didn't have that tour package like everyone else, so we weren't sure what we were going to do. We rode on this bus, really having no clue where or when to get off and had no clue how we were going to get to Ijen, but that we were heading east.
After about 4 hours of on and off uncomfortable sleeping in our damp bathing suits, a new local hopped on the bus and happened to speak good English. He sat right behind us and after we got to talking he happened to be a driver to Ijen and let us know that the next stop was where we needed to get off... for a minute we thought he was scamming us, but in reality it ended up being a direct answer to our prayers, really though, at the time I thought he was heaven sent haha, he was so helpful.
We wanted to hike Ijen at 3AM to see the blue flames coming out of the volcano, so we talked with our new best friend Didet, and he told us to wait at this hotel restaurant for 6 hours and then he would drive us down there, wait for us to hike it and then take us to the ferry to travel over to Bali. So we awkwardly walked in this nice hotel restaurant with all of our belongings, blood shot eyes and stinky bodies and waited around for 6 hours pretending to be eating the same dish the entire time. We were desperately tired, but we didn't want to pay for a room so we waited it out... still going on 2 hrs of sleep in 36 hrs.
Hiking up the Volcano & Down into the Crater:
We finally arrived at 2:30AM and began our hike with our handy dandy head lamps on! It was cold, and I remember being so sleepy and physically exhausted that it felt like the longest hike of my life. Half way up I got super hungry and with my health issues I needed to eat but we had no more food left. I was sweaty but cold and felt so nauseous, we debated to go back but I thought about our journey just to get there and I couldn't give up, thankfully a few French girls came out of no where and had some cookies I could eat. After a good hour hike we reached the top of the volcano crater and were expecting to see huge blue flames and then unfortunately found out it was another 40 minute hike into the crater!!
With a wobbly hike down, the smell of sulphur was tremendously getting stronger. I brought a bed sheet that I was using as a shawl/mouth cover. My throat was already raw from Mt. Bromo, that I was trying my best to not breath any more in. Once we reached the 60+ ft. blue flames it was very hot and fascinating to watch. By then I completely forgot how tired and hungry I was and was really able to enjoy the experience. The sun slowly began to rise and we slowly climbed back out of the crater.
There were endless men working there at the sulphur mines. On a regular basis they would start hiking up at 3AM and gather sulphur all day. Their sulphur loads were around 80kg. and I didn't physically understand how they could breath in sulphur and hike up and down the volcano every day. The worst thing about it all is that they only receive $.50 a load which is such a small amount of money for the hard labor they put in, it really made me grateful for what I had.
All in all, we were grateful we went to Ijen and had a great adventure together yet again, always making memories and growing closer together at each step we take.