…continued from “Cikasur: The Superstar of Yang Highland”
10 years ago, Vincent, an experienced hiker tried to navigate Yang Highland’s ancient route by himself. Equipped with a colonial-era book “The Hyang Plateau” and a GPS, Vincent walked alone through the highland for the first time.
He never came back.
The search-and-rescue of Vincent, was probably one of the longest and largest SAR operations in Indonesia. His disappearance remains elusive and his fate is still a mystery.
The event soon strengthened the highland mystical status and instantly became one of the many (spooky) tales many hikers told around the campfire at night.
Yang Highland has many peaks, but only three of them are famous and accessible: Argopuro, Rengganis, and Yang. It only takes roughly half day-walk from Cikasur to the peaks through some stops.
7:15 Prepare for leaving, I put all gears into my backpack and wait for everybody to finish, we have toasts for breakfast. The temperature starts to rise quickly. The sunshine is very bright that Cikasur is rendered almost exclusively in golden palette. But suddenly, the cloud covers large part of Cikasur, the scene changes to sad gloomy grey.
9:00 We march to Cisentor, the junction that connects the trail from Baderan and Bermi Village. Cisentor is also a campsite for those who want to summit the peaks. After the summit, they walk back to Cisentor and take the path to Taman Hidup Lake, the last stop of mount Argopuro trail. But for those who know, there’s a shortcut from the summit to the lake. It’s shorter and faster.
10:00 One hour of intense walking through the thick forest with 2-metre bush on the trailside, I eventually see an opening: another savanna. It seems that this highland never running out of savanna to please your eyes.
It’s 1/2 –hour walk through the savanna. Pretty vast huh? Then another forest. Remnants of dead plants almost everywhere from the forest fire aftermath. The trees are collapsed, the grass are burnt, the trail changes from green to brown and black. It’s like a post apocalyptic scene in a cheap b-rated Hollywood cinema.
A few hills later, we eventually descend into lower altitude. The trail changes again from brown and black to delight green, thankfully the fire didn’t reach the campsite at Cisentor.
11:07 Arrive at Cisentor, I rest near the river for awhile before heading to the shelter. There are several vacant tents and backpacks in the shelter, it seems that their owners went to the summit and not going back yet. We put a large flysheet and cook our lunch under it.
13:02 After the lunch, mist starts covering Cisentor with light rain, the temperature drops 1-3 degrees. Boby and Steven, two of our most physically fit members, are both wearing cotton t-shirts, Boby changes his jeans to shorts and Steven still wearing jeans while the rest of us begin to wear waterproof jackets. They’re nuts, but strong.
We walk to Sabana Lonceng, a campsite near the peaks. The plan is to spend the night there, hit the summits the day after, then take the shortcut to Taman Hidup Lake rather than camping at Cisentor and takes a farther detour to the lake.
14:18 Arrive at Rawa Embik. We rest for a few minutes and replenish our water supply because this is the last water source and Sabana Lonceng has no water.
15:41 Thick mist welcomes our arrival at Sabana Lonceng, the temperature is 13-15ºC. We unpack all our gears and start setting up tents because according to my protrek watch, the barometric pressure is falling, the sign of rain.
Right after I finished setting up my tent, the rain falls and I crawl into the tent to change clothes and warming up myself. One hour later, the rain stops and three of my friends who still in a great shape continue the walk to Argopuro peak watching sunset. It only takes ½ hour for them to reach the peak. They come back after dark, joining the rest to cook dinner.
2 hours before midnight, after dinner, I have the most quality sleep in this journey, it’s cold outside but inside the tent is warm and very peaceful. I fall asleep in no time.
Day#4. 04:30 Wake up call, preparing snacks before hit the summits
05:18 Start walking to Rengganis peak, which only takes 30 minutes from the camp. There’s an ancient burial site nearby with great view. We spent nearly an hour at this place, photographing in every pose known to mankind.
07:20 Argopuro peak. The highest point of Yang highland. The peak is unlike most of mountain peaks I’ve ever seen. Argopuro is low profile, surrounded by the trees, making it inconspicuous, but it’s also the most decorated place among the three peaks. The place is full of signs and ornaments from various people and organizations.
7:56 Arrive at Yang Peak, located nearby Argopuro. Unlike its sibling, it has relatively clear view of the surroundings. There are some ruins and scattered stones from an ancient statue. Yang peak also called Puncak Arca (statue peak).
8:33 Back to the camp walking through the valley that separates Rengganis and Argopuro. I think this valley has the best savanna after Cikasur. Unfortunately most of the grass has turned black because of the fire. Some dead and some start to heal. It’s the circle of life.
We have come this far, walk the three summits, but it’s only half the journey. It’s roughly 21 km walk to Bermi Village. We still have many kilometres to cover.
To be continued…(again)