At first I thought it was so dangerous, because of the eruption of Mount Raung which in same stratovolcanoes group in Banyuwangi Regency. That eruption was made me stress due to the on-off-airport. I almost stuck here and didn't have holiday if I can't fly to my hometown. Not only that, the flight was so scared, wind blew so hard and it worried me. After years of traveling by plane, that was the first time I want to cry and can't see the window on board.
Days before, we checked the weather report from Indonesia's BMKG (weather department) via their official media, and also searched many informations about the route etc. We wanted to make sure that everything good even some of us have went there before. Beside wide turquoise-colored acid crater lake, it has a blue fire which already mentioned by National Geographic. This is the reason we chose midnight tracking from Paltuding posts.
We departed from Surabaya around 08.30 am after a little real drama happened, and had traditional breakfast in Sidoarjo around 09.30 am. Then we passed many cities before we stopped by for having lunch in a beach that located somewhere in north-east of East Java province. The beach named Pasir Putih (white-sandy-beach).
Then we continued to Banyuwangi cities. Well actually there are two options for reaching Paltuding. The first one is via Situbondo then Bondowoso. But according to the information we got, the main road was in terrible condition. But the government prepare another road with satisfied condition which we were opted (via Kecamatan Licin). After passed the Ketapang port in Banyuwangi we drove straight into an intersection then we turned right as written in sign board. There was so many sign board, and google maps was still working. We stopped by at a gas station for resting, praying and taking a bath. Then we continued our trip. At first we passed many villages, until everything just dark, the only light is our car's lightning. And when we looked at our car's rear glass, it was so dark and so scared. The road was not really wide, uphill, and tortuous. I prayed all the way.
Well, at first I was not really interest with that famous blue fire and didn't have any idea why we have to take midnight tracking. The one and only reason that came across my mind was because we chasing the sun rise. So after dinner, we had a little sleep inside our car before they opened the track.
About 01.00 am we started walking from Paltuding with many international and domestic tourists, even we met some kids too! My friends were putting attention on me, they really worry but I said that I've prepared my self and I was okay. They said the tracks is 3 km long but I didn't think that it was in horizontal way, but in vertical yes!! I assume that the angle of the track is around 25-30 degree. And we had to walk in midnight where the only lightning is from our own flashlight. The higher we walk, the lower temperature we got. In the halfway, I started up to silent. I wanted to cry. I was thinking where on earth I am, how can I go home and I really need SAR. I hold my friend's arm and kept moving uphill. Well, they thought that the person should get concerned the most is me, but in fact was not. There were still another who more tired than me.
At 03.30 am, we arrived at Ijen Crater. Everything was so dark, flashlight everywhere. And if we wanted to see that famous blue fire closely, we need to walk down around 1 hours and put special gas mask because of sulfur toxic. Then I said big no. The temperature was around 7 degree Celcius or even lower. And if we want to see the sunrise clearly we had to walk uphill around 45 minutes, and I was thinking that I couldn't. All I want was going home and screaming MAYDAY loudly. My friend, Abah, who was the leader of this trip asked the condition each of us. And some were sleeping. I tried so but it was so hard. I still wide awake and sat on sulfur rocks, and my body started to shiver. I really scared that I would got hipotermia, really I still want to live for years forward. I kept praying, Abah telling me many stories, but I didn't know, I couldn't use my mind and all I replied was the word "ya". I saw a bonfire, then I walked close to. My body still shivering.
Then around 05.00 am, behind the cliffs, I saw the thing that I waited...
Intan, Feriska-my friend's girlfriend, and my self standing on sulfur rocks.
Around 07.30 am we started to walk downhill to Paltuding. And of course after took enough photos.
This sign board was at Pondok Bunder (2214 mdpl), halfway to Paltuding.
This is my mount-adventure. And still consider to have another or not. A short advice for whoever wants to climb, just do some exercise such as running or jogging a week before as adaptation for your body.