Rising from bed prior to dawn is something I do sparingly. I prefer to leave that for others who relish the early morning light and seem to thrive on the knowledge that they are awake and about before most everyone else.
For me, being up and about at the same time most everyone else is up and about is good enough.
The reasons I may entertain the idea of an early morning awakening and the inevitable stumble into a wall had better not only be incredibly good but should also be classified in the “if you don’t see it now you may never see it” category of life experiences.
Unfortunately for me, the wee hours, early morning, dawn, rise and shine (oy!) all happen during the time I am normally sleeping and quite possible dreaming of things that, just maybe, could happen later that day.
Also, unfortunately for me, this is the time in which the golden glow of sunrise appears over the horizon of the night sky; that pitch black seam turning brighter and bluer with the passage of time.
Many years ago I heard of a full proof body alarm clock system. It has almost always worked for me so I continue to use it. If you want to wake at 3 am you bang your head on the pillow 3 times; 2 am, 2 times etc.
Some may be familiar with this less than perfect system.
This morning though I had to wake at 1:30 am and seeing that a half bang was not in my body alarm clock arsenal I decided to back it up with the alarm on my cell phone plus a wake-up call from the hotels front desk; all timed to go off within a couple of minutes of each other. Incredibly the body alarm system failed (note, has to be full hour increments), and the cell phone failed (note, setting it to pm will not have the desired result).
Success was had by the hotel wake-up call and within minutes I was ready to face the day.
A friend was also willing to make the departure deadline so Geoff and I set out. A vision of spectacular beauty awaited us at the end of our three-hour journey.
Mt Bromo is located in the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park and is one of the most picturesque spots in Eastern Java. The peaks of these mountains jut out of the ash covered moonscape however it is Mt. Semeru that holds command over the other two mountains. Mt. Batok in the forefront is the perfect depiction of a tapered cone; the quintessential volcano shape.
Yet it is Mt. Bromo that people come to see.
The top of Mt. Bromo was blown off many years ago and now all that is left is the crater…a very active reminder of possibilities and it constantly belches up steam and sulfurous white smoke.
All three of these mountains sit inside the massive Tengger caldera. The ridge of which illustrates the incredible size (10 km in diameter) of the mountain that once stood here.
Currently Mt. Bromo is blowing larger and more frequent bursts so the best vantage point, rather than risking the effects of close range sulfur intake, is atop Mt. Penanjakan. The photos you see here were all taken from this viewpoint.
Even though the tropics means dealing with the heat as a routine part of the day, the views from this great mountain vista come with a cost to comfort. It’s cold up there and like all things unexpected the cold has created a small cottage industry of shearling coat rentals.
For a small negotiable fee, the wool and hide of a sheep can be rented. Wrapping this around my body I once again felt normal. A t-shirt and thin cotton pants, even with the best of walking shoes, just isn’t going to cut it. The experience should not be diluted by shivering and looking desperately for warmth where there isn’t any.
The sun rises slowly and the sky blends from black to a deep navy blue to a brilliant early morning blanket of cloudlessness. All the while casting new and more creative shadows on the ridges of the mountains.
Every 20 minutes or so Mt. Bromo would announce itself with a loud gurgling rumble.
Then a puff of white dust cast high into the air refracting the morning rays; creating another more interesting photo opportunity than the one previous. This exchange of light, sound, smoke, and amazement continues all morning until the sun is sufficiently high that increased clarity of photo opportunities seems unlikely. It is then that people begin to disperse and return to the 4 wheel drive jeeps that got them to this vantage point.
Once down the hazardous part of the journey I returned my rented coat and was enticed into the many coffee warungs setup to help retain warmth before boarding the van for a return trip to Malang.
I was sitting by the pool in contemplation when the clock struck 10 am.
For more photos of Indonesia click here