This weekend I accomplished a new feat, and I’m pretty proud of it. I climbed a mountain – the second one I have reached the top of thus far in my life, and the summit is the highest elevation I’ve ever been to. In short, it was a big day. The mountain is called Merbabu, and is pretty much right in town. The trailhead is only a 30 or 40 minute drive from where I live. This was a special trip for the Yalters, as we are only in town for 6 weeks, and so need to accomplish all of the big things around town in a short amount of time. Next, some of us will be climbing Merapi, Indonesia’s most active volcano, just on the other side of Merbabu from here. (Unfortunately it is not scheduled to erupt while I’m here – prob. Not for another 2-3 years).

I just can’t believe what a beautiful place I get to live in. I can see Merbabu from just about everywhere in town, including the building I live in. In fact, the morning after the hike as I was walking to the back of the building to take a bath, I looked up at Merbabu and just about fainted. The top had never looked so far away. What a great hike :) For the record, it is 10,340ft tall, which is 160ft higher than Camp Muir, the highest point I had been to up till now.

So basically, the story is that Dan and Jeanne are the country reps for MCC Indonesia, and their son Paul, who is in high school, has climbed a lot of mountains in the area. This was his 20th time to climb Merbabu. He led six of us up there – Conrad, Febby, Boston, Major, Seto, and myself. We started off at 7pm and hiked till about 10:30 and then had fried rice, which we’d brought with us, and sat around a camp fire drinking hot chocolate (yum). We were ahead of schedule so we had a few hours to try and sleep. It was COLD. We had a two person tent (which I briefly proved can hold 4 people), two sleeping bags and a tarp. Again, it was cold. I ended up sleeping outside on the tarp with several layers of clothes on, and found that with the tarp folded over me, I could sleep without shivering.

At 3am, we got up and kept hiking. Merbabu has two peaks, and we reached the first and smaller one at around 5am and watched the sunrise and had breakfast. There was a building there where we could get out of the wind a bit, and make some hot cocoa. At around 6:00, Seto, Major, Paul, and I headed to the higher peak and spent some time in awe of the view before heading back down. We were home by about 12:30pm and with all the dust on the trail, it was probably the dirtiest I have ever been. All in all, a wonderful trip.

There were times when it was just quiet and peaceful, and I could take a moment to breathe and look down at the city lights of Salatiga below us. I can’t believe I get to live in such a beautiful place. I feel so blessed.


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