The Misty and Mysterious Lake Taman Hidup

…continued from: “The Walk to Yang Highland Three Mystical Peaks”

According to the legend and some hikers’ confessions, if you make noise or scream at Lake Taman Hidup (literal translation: Living Garden), heavy mist would soon cover the lake. It’s the sign that Princess Rengganis, the guardian of Yang Highland, is upset. Almost every landmark in the highland is covered by stories, some are legends, some are just made-up stories to scare your friends shitless at the campsite.

09:47 Late breakfast, we pack our stuffs after meal then heading back to the valley. At the end of the trail, I start searching for the shortcut to Lake Taman Hidup and find it too difficult because there’s no visible mark on the trail, wiped out by the masive fire weeks ago.

We wait for a few minutes, then another group arrives and helps us finding the right path. One of them said that they also had difficulties finding the trail last night walking from Lake Taman Hidup, “The path disappeared, we almost didn’t find the trail because it was dark.”

We’re half running, descending on a 45 degree terrain with thick bush left and right, towering up to 2-metre high. ½ hour later, there’s a small opening. We rest there for awhile waiting for others, 30 minutes later when there’s still no sign of them, I ask a guy who just arrives and he says that they’re lagging far behind.

Toni as a team leader decides that we must proceed and wait the others at the next checkpoint. Beside, waiting for 30 minutes makes our body susceptible to cold, we must keep moving to keep the heat and maintain body temperature.

11:24 Arrive at the junction that connects the shortcut from the summits, the trail from Cisentor, and the trail to Taman Hidup.

12:00 Rest at Cemoro Limo, located at the hill after the junction. We sit and wait for others. After this, it’s all the way down. We descend into lower altitude through thick rainforest, half running again for more than 1.5 hours but there’s no sign that the trail would end. Some of the guys begin to wonder that we get lost. But when I look into my GPS, I know that we’re safe.

Cemoro Limo
Cemoro Limo #2

13:57 Lake Taman Hidup. Finally. It’s damp here, some bugs flying freely around. The campsite, which is located 100 metres from the lake has strange smell, probably because Lake Taman hidup is practically surrounded by a swamp.

In the afternoon the mist starts coming down, covering the lake and campsite, reducing visibility to less than 20 metres.

We start cooking dinner right before dark and finish in a few hours. Boby cooks water salad he brought from Cikasur into delicious vegetables. We’re having three-course dinner instead of one-course meal like usual.

I sleep with full belly and go straight into the dreamland without sleeping bag because at Lake Taman Hidup, the temperature is warm and damp. You can sleep without clothes, except if you share a tent and your tent mates have a problem seeing your naked 4-days-without-having-a-bath body.

Lake Taman Hidup, covered in mist

Day #5

05:30 Wake up. Walking to the lake, but the mist still there. Lake Taman Hidup has a strange, mysterious aura when it’s covered by mist. I wait around the lake until the sun appears and the white mist starts fading.

Photographing the lake for an hour then back to the tent. The others are preparing breakfast: spaghetti and sausage.

09:30 Finished packing, heading to the lake for our last wefie.

Toni, photographing the lake


Back to Civilization

09:50 Start walking to Bermi village on a serpentine trail. We walk on the v-shaped trail caused by motorcycle’s tires like the one in Baderan village on day #1. It’s exhausting.

1.5 hours later, I arrive at damar forest and the rain starts falling. The forest consists of damar tree planted in a perfect formation. I begin to amaze how vast the forest is after ½ hour walking thorugh it. Seems endless.

11:53 Meet Toni and Steven who already arrived 15 minutes ago in the shack at the end of damar forest. I can see the beginning  of the villagers’ plantation. “Civilization at last!”

We sit down and eating snacks while waiting for other members who are lagging behind. 45 minutes later, they appear and we walk together to Bermi village.

13:29 Arrive at Bermi Village entrance gate. The journey of a long and winding trail of Mount Argopuro is officially ended.

So far this is my most memorable hiking experience ever. The savannas are stunning, the view is exceptional, the trail is calm and quiet, and for 5 days I finally find my inner peace.

Dear Yang Highland, I will come back. Someday.

Preparing breakfast of champions
Waiting for the others
The final checkpoint: Bermi village entrance gate
track overview
Track overview

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