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Friday, August 5, 2022

Prau: The First Climb

There were four of us going for the Prau trip. We used as our guide. Gusti, AW and I were to meet Jimmy in Patak Banteng.

The departure, with Gusti and AW.

The trip started with wrong bus tickets booked by me. We were supposed to depart from the nearer terminal (Kalideres) but I ended up buying the further one. It was fortunate that we could make it on time. We had an overnight ride and we reached Mendolo terminal in Wonosobo around 5 AM. I never expected that the weather was cold (around 16 degrees Celsius)!

Jimmy had reached Patak Banteng earlier. We met around 7 AM. Put our stuff at's office. Since we had few hours before departure, we Grab-ed and visited the famous spots around the city: Telaga Pengilon and Kawah Sikidang.

Visiting Kawah Sikidang.

We gathered back at office and was briefed. After praying for the smooth trip, the journey began. It was around 11:50 AM. Prau height is 2590 meters above sea level. As it was a guided tour, we only brought certain essentials; backpack, trekking pole, jacket, gloves, headlamp, mattress, sleeping bag, raincoat, etc. The guides were responsible mainly for the tent and the food. Nevertheless, I believe each of us carried around 20-25 KG of weight. 

We had at least 6 breaks before reaching the top. AW looked exhausted during the first hour but managed to get himself back on his feet. Gusti was amazing. He had the most hiking experiences, so seasoned that he started the hike with a cigarette. He was talkative but never ran out of breath. Jimmy played it safe, slow and steady with his umbrella-cum-walking stick.

AW exhausted!

Along the way, we met fellow climbers that headed back and they said the day before was bad, as there was big thunderstorm and some didn't make it to the top. I guess we were lucky that our journey was smooth. There was one part when we thought it was going to be a downpour and we put on the raincoat, but it was just a brief drizzling.

During breaks, we played cards, took photos and chatted with the guides. Cards was fun, the winner was Gusti and Jimmy at the end. About the guides, they could move very fast and were able to carry stuff equal or more than their bodyweight. For photos, they were mostly taken using our phones though some were taken using my DSLR. Talking about phone, the signal was minimal and surprisingly, it felt good taking a break from the device. 

Taking a break.

We reached our base around 3:50 PM. It was a four-hour hike. Once we reached, the fatigue was gone. I had thought earlier that the mountain would be littered with trashes. but it was extremely clean. The tent was ready for us. We put down our stuff and started enjoying the weather and the view. The sky was still clear. We then set up mattresses outside the tent. We had biscuits, Indomie and Jimmy brought Soju, too. The Indomie tasted a lot better when eaten on the mountain. When the sky got darker, we put on some head lamp. It was totally dark at 6 PM and the wind was chilly. We had soto for dinner. After few rounds of cards game, we headed to the tent. It was around 9 PM and getting colder. Jimmy kept us warm by setting up fire powered by ethanol. By the way, there was no rest room, so you got to walk further from your tent to do your business.

The meal is served!

Now, the sleeping part was not easy. It was cold and the thin mattress definitely didn't help. I had backache and I probably  slept less than two hours that night.

It was 4:45 AM when we woke up and prepared for sunrise. The view was superb with a perfect silhouette. We walked from one camp site to another to hunt for a better view. The sky got brighter very fast. by then, we had taken hundreds of photos.

And when the morning came...

As the sun rose, the weather was more bearable. We  headed back to our camp, had our breakfast and packed for departure. We took a different route when we descended the mountain. It was a route less travelled as we did not see many climbers along the way. 

Heading down was faster and not as tiring as climbing up, but it was more challenging for me. Subconsciously, I was worried for my knees and still traumatised (I fell on my butt during the last trekking last year). I slipped three times, but no serious fall this time. The view on the way down was different. We passed through some potatoes farm and we also passed by a spring (the water was in a big bucket, flowing directly from the mountain). It was refreshing. 

We conquered Prau!

It took us around 2.5 hours to head back to the starting point and that was it. If you asked whether I would go for another hiking trip, the answer is yes, but definitely with thicker mattress! 

Our tips for the 1st timers: hiking might or might not be your stuff, so test it by joining the tour. Google the destination, know your stamina and prepare for it. And by joining the tour, you don't need to buy all the things required. Most of them can be rented; gloves, trekking pole, jacket, mattress, headlamp, torch, sleeping bag. You should buy comfortable shoes, though. Get some friends to go with you, it helps a lot. Take your time, you are not racing. Relax and and enjoy the trip!

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