At the trail head- ready to begin the trek up Kerinci, Sumatra

At the trail head- ready to begin the trek up Kerinci, Sumatra

Mount Kerinci (or Gunung Kerinci) is Sumatra’s highest peak, Indonesia’s highest volcano and is still active, with eruptions annually. It’s located in the Kerinci Selabat National Park, which is made up, mostly, of thick jungle and inhabited by the endangered Sumatran tiger and Sumatran rhino. So, with all this in mind, we decided to try to climb the 3,805metres to the crater on the summit to stare into the depths of the volcano. After much deliberation we agreed to take a guide with us for our hike. People have gone missing in the past on the route trekking alone, whether they fell into the crater, got attacked by tigers or just lost their way, nobody knows and so we decided to ‘play it safe’.

Noelle hiking through the dense Sumatran Jungle in Kerinci Seblat National Park

Noelle hiking through the dense Sumatran Jungle in Kerinci Seblat National Park

We had one shot at climbing this volcano and despite bad weather reports we decided to go anyway, it was now or never. From Bukkitinggi, we took a nine-hour jeep to the little town of Kersik Tua where our guide, Een, met us and we jumped on the back of his and his friend’s motorbikes and were whisked away to his family home where we would spend the night before beginning the climb the next morning. Een has climbed the volcano dozens of times and knows the area extremely well and so we were all ears during our briefing before getting an early night. Our aim was to hike to camp three,  pitch a tent and get a few hours sleep before making the final ascent to the summit in time for sunrise, weather permitting of course.

Beautiful flora in the jungle, Kerinci

Beautiful flora in the jungle, Kerinci

Waking early the next morning, we were collected by motorbike and the three of us whizzed through the tea fields surrounding the base of the volcano until we reached the trail head. So far, the weather was playing ball and although it was cloudy, it was dry. As we disappeared into the jungle, the sky was no longer clearly visible due to the high trees and after about thirty minutes of hiking through the dense jungle, we felt the first few drops of rain. We put on our rain gear and on we went, hoping it was just a shower. Een pointed out various flowers and trees along the trail as we pushed further into the jungle.

Noelle climbs up the steep path on the Kerinci trail, Sumatra

Noelle climbs up the steep path on the Kerinci trail, Sumatra

After a few hours it was clear that the rain was not going to let up, it was coming down hard, the path was becoming increasingly slippy and was beginning to get much steeper. In places, the paths were completely washed away and for the next few hours we climbed, skidded, slipped and scrambled along the muddy trail as the rain continued to fall and the winds got stronger. Een had a worried look on his face and we discussed the possibility of turning around and going back. We knew this was our one and only chance to climb here and so we all agreed to continue and just hope the weather would clear. We could hear monkey’s howling somewhere across the valley, we couldn’t see much through the sheets of rain but at least it was a bit more sheltered under the forest canopy than out in the open. There was nobody else around; other than the monkey’s screams, the two of us, Een and a huge, bright orange leech the size of my shoe sucking up the moisture from the ground, we were all alone in the jungle in this terrible storm.

Giant red predatory ground Leech

Giant red predatory ground leech

Hiking through the heavy mud, dodging flooded areas of the path and pulling ourselves up by the exposed tree roots where the path had disappeared, we finally arrived at shelter three. We were happy to be here but now came the difficult task of pitching the tent. Once we had found a suitable location, providing as much shelter as possible, myself and Een got  busy clearing a space for the tent.

Brian and our guide Een clearing an area to camp at Shelter 3, Kerinci

Brian and our guide Een clearing an area to camp at Shelter 3, Kerinci

Together we managed to get the tent up, stretched another piece of canvas across the top, tied extra guide ropes to the trees and bushes and dug some channels to keep the water away from where we would be trying to sleep. With our shelter up, we got in out of the weather, had something to eat and tried to get some rest.

Muddy, Muddy trail to the volcano summit

Muddy, Muddy trail to the volcano summit

With the winds howling outside and the rain still beating down, it didn’t seem likely that we were going to get the mind-blowing sunrise we had dreamt of but we had come this far and we were going to finish what we had come to do. Our plan was to wake at 2am and begin the hike to the summit. None of us slept much, with the winds only getting stronger and the rain heavier outside the light canvas walls of our little tent.

Our shelter for the night at camp three on the side of Mount Kerinci, Indonesias highest volcano

Our shelter for the night at camp three on the side of Mount Kerinci, Indonesias highest volcano

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Brian Barry
Brian is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, travel addict and adventure junkie. Being outdoors, getting off the beaten track and outside his comfort zone is what makes him tick. Brian's the dreamer in the relationship; when he's not travelling, he's dreaming about it! Keeping fit, cooking, music and red wine take up the rest of his time.
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wanderingon37.6K followers☘ Irish Travel Couple - Brian & Noelle 🌍 Nomadic for 10+ years 🏞️ Hiking, Adventure & Inspiration ✈ Independent Travel 📍Edinburgh 👇🏻Travel Tips & Blog
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\"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.\"⁠ — Nelson Mandela⁠ ⁠ \"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.\"⁠ — Martin Luther King Jr.⁠ ⁠ “Never look down on anybody unless you\'re helping him up.”⁠ — Jesse Jackson⁠ ⁠➳⁠ 📷 Views from the first floor of the Hagia Sophia Museum looking towards The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey 🇹🇷⁠ ➳⁠ We understand that being white and therefore, inherently privileged, we can never truly understand this struggle, however, we completely stand with the movement and the idea that all human beings everywhere in the world should be treated equally and have the same chances and opportunities in life.⁠ ⁠➳ Unfortunately, this isn\'t the case and the thought that someone can be treated differently simply because of the colour of their skin absolutely breaks our hearts.💔⁠ ⁠➳ In our privileged position, we need to learn about and educate ourselves about these issues in every way we can and do our best to change the views of those around us.⁠ ⁠➳ To quote another great changemaker, Mahatma Gandhi, you need to “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ⁠ It starts with you, to move in the world with love and respect for all.⁠ ❤️✨✌ #BlackLivesMatter⁠
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“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.” —Dr. Seuss » Brian standing in absolute awe at the El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza!🗿🇲🇽 » Built by the Mayans sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries, Chichen Itza is a huge complex of Mayan ruins located on the northern half of Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula.🗿🇲🇽 The complex is an inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. » Built from limestone, El Castillo stands at a height of 30m including a 6m temple on top. Each of the pyramid\'s four sides has 91 steps up it, making 364 steps total, with the temple topping the pyramid considered an additional step totalling 365, each step representing a day in the calendar.📆 El Castillo is also known as the Temple of Kukulkan as it served as a temple to the Mayan feathered serpent god Kukulkan, or Quetzalcoatl.🐍 » We visited this time last year, however, the spring and autumn equinoxes are the best days to visit to see the “descent of Kukulkan\".🐍 » According to legend, twice a year when the day and night are in balance 🌗, the pyramid is visited by its namesake Kukulkan.🐍 Thanks to the crafty and mathematically brilliant architecture of the Mayans combined with the natural rotation of the Earth on the equinox, an amazing eerie image of a giant snake crawling down the temple is created. Kukulkan returns to earth to provide blessings for a full harvest and good health before bathing in the sacred waters below and continuing on his way to the underworld. » If you can\'t visit on either equinox, don\'t worry! The phenomenon is recreated nightly during the Light and Sounds Show at 7pm in winter and 8pm in summer. » We love doing things independently as much as we can when we travel. As Chichen Itza is located just a couple of hours drive away from Playa del Carmen (and Cancun) we rented a car and drove there ourselves so we didn\'t get to stay for the light show as we had to drive back.🚗 » What\'s your travel style? Are you a DIY person or do you prefer to go on an organised tour? Let us know in the comments below!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #Mexico #ChichenItza #SevenWondersOfTheWorld
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“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” — Kristen Butler » The sun sets over Edinburgh from Calton Hill, one of the seven hills of Edinburgh.🌆 » Set right in the city centre, Calton Hill is unmistakable with its unfinished Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline, giving Edinburgh it\'s nickname, the \"Athens of the North\". » It\'s a popular sunset spot as it\'s easily accessed - it only takes about five minutes to get to the top of the hill from two staircases on either side, or you can drive up and park - and it offers panoramic views down the length of Princes Street and of Edinburgh Castle.🏰 There are also great views of the coloured cliffs of the Salisbury Crags, Arthur\'s Seat, and the slopes of Holyrood Park.⛰️ » On the last night of April, up to 12,000 people take to Calton Hill for the Beltane Fire Festival, an ancient Celtic fertility festival. 🔥 Traditionally, Beltane was the start of the pastoral summer where animals were taken from their winter shelter to the fields and \"Beltane\" is the Gaelic word for May. » In Edinburgh\'s revivalist celebration of Beltane, three hundred or so voluntary performers from the Beltane Fire Festival Society celebrate the ending of the \'dreich\' (Scottish slang for dreary and bleak) Scottish winter and the hoped-for season of warmth and new growth with drumming, fire performance, revelry, and a ritualised procession around Calton Hill. 🔥 As well as the fiery displays, acrobatics, pulsating drums, and body-painted theatrics, the Beltane Fire Festival Society retell an immersive story for the crowd. » The revival of this festival started in 1988 as a free event but is now ticketed. There is also a Samhuinn (Samhain) Fire Festival on Halloween night which traditionally marked the beginning of winter in the Celtic calendar. 🎃 We hope to catch the Samhuinn Fire Festival festival later in the year! » Have been to any interesting cultural festivals? Let us know!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #EdinburghScotland #CaltonHill
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