Watching the sunOne more post about Bromo as I’m catching up with editing my pictures. On our second morning in the area we got up incredibly early to make the trek up Penanjakan Hill to watch sunrise. The first lookout we came across on the hike provided a stunning view of the entire landscape and gave us our first real glimpse of Semeru, rising tall in the background. We had read that the second viewpoint, higher up the hill, was where all of the tour groups went for sunrise and was usually crowded, so we decided to stop and enjoy the relative quiet of the first lookout. As we settled into our spots we noticed an enterprising woman selling drinks and snacks, so we bought some coffee and tea to help keep us warm in the cool, predawn weather.

Sun and fogDense fog hanging over Cemoro Lawang before the sun rises.

The early wake up and hour hike became worth it as the sun gradually bathed the mountains gold in its light. We watched the dense layer of fog slowly retreat from the village and disappear into the valley below. As the sun made its way higher into the sky the other spectators trickled down the hill bit by bit, including the drink lady, until we were alone. Since we weren’t on any type of schedule we were able to stay and bask in the marvelous view that we had to ourselves. We were even treated to Semeru puffing out a cloud of ash, that unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture on the camera. After getting our fill and hearing the call of our comfortable bed back in the hotel we wound our way down the hill and through the village.

Fog of sunriseFog on the hillsFog rolling in2Cresting sunStairs to BromoYou can see the staircase leading up to the rim of Bromo and just a hint of the guardrails lining the edge that we encountered on our hike to the top.

Volcanoes

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Travel, Photography, Indonesia

Waiting on the Sun at Bromo

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BW Dragon Backbone Rice Terraces

Throwback to a nice relaxing weekend spent hiking through the flooded rice terraces in Guangxi, China. The terraces are named the Dragon’s Backbone because the sun reflecting off the water in the terraces leading up the mountain resemble a dragon’s scales.

China, Favorite Photo Friday, Photography

Favorite Photo Friday: Dragon’s Backbone

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Fanning the flames

An impromptu street stall opened up near our hostel in Ceremo Lawang. The smoke of his satay grill and the fog that had settled on the village gave everything an ethereal feel.

Favorite Photo Friday, Indonesia, Photography

Favorite Photo Friday: Fanning the Flames

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Predawn BromoDawning at BromoDawn at BromoFull daylight at Bromo

I was really tempted to just hit snooze and put off getting up for sunrise until the next day, but I forced myself out of bed and up the short hill to one of the vantage points overlooking Mt. Bromo. Waking up early paid off by being able to witness this incredible  transformation as the sun slowly lit up the caldera before me.

Indonesia, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

WPC: Transformation

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Stairs

To avoid the massive crowds at sunrise we waited until just before lunch to head out on our hike to Bromo. As we made our way out of the village, the sun came out from behind the clouds and beat down on the otherworldly landscape that is called the Sea of Sand surrounding the volcanoes.

Sea sandWay up the volcano

After picking our way through a multitude of crevices in the Sea of Sand we started our ascent up to the very rim of the incredibly active Bromo. Throughout our walk we could hear the rumble of the volcano– its sound like an airplane engine powering up for takeoff.  But as you reach the base of the stairs the sound takes on a life of its own, overwhelming you, filling your head with its incessant roar. Hearing that sound and looking up at the cloud of sulphur smoke rising up from the crater I found myself asking if this was really such a good idea. I reminded myself that this is why we traveled all this way, so up the sand and soot covered stairs we climbed.

On another planetWant a ride

At the top, peering down into the crater, I stood in awe of the sheer power of this place. Its energy filling me with an adrenaline high. I easily snapped over a 100 pictures during our short time at the top. With my heart in my throat, I even braved sitting on the ‘railing.’

Route around the rimGuardrailSitting on the ridgeSulphur plumes

After descending the mountain we paid a brief visit the the closed Hindu temple as horse riders called out to us offering to take us back to the village. We declined and once again crossed the barren landscape towards the relative cool and shade of our hostel and a well deserved nap!

Hindu templeTemple gatesRiders

Indonesia, Photography, Travel

Climbing to the Rim of Bromo

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Farmer2

A farmer carrying a bushel of greens through fields in Cemoro Lawang, Indonesia.

Favorite Photo Friday, Indonesia, Photography

Favorite Photo Friday: Walking through fields

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BridgePreviously I wrote about all the wonderful architecture in Taiping. However, we were pleasantly surprised by all the nice green spaces and plentiful wildlife in the area as well. The Lake Garden is a beautiful park located in the heart of Taiping with numerous paths weaving through it. On the ring road surrounding the park old trees tower over the road forming a light, airy tunnel sheltering passersby.

While strolling through the park, we encountered several animals roaming about. There were massive monitor lizards sunning themselves and strolling along the grounds. The shear size of them made me feel like I was back in Florida with alligators lounging about the water. In the trees, we could hear plenty of varied bird calls, but I was only able to track down a beautiful kingfisher long enough to capture it with my camera.

LizardWalking lizardKingfisher

Another unique natural setting near Taiping is the Matang Mangrove Forest. It’s located a few miles outside of Taiping, in the town of Kuala Sepetang. You do have to pay an entrance fee for this park, but it’s a wonderful walk with quite a bit of wildlife. At first it might not seem like there is anything to be seen but the trees. However, if you truly take your time, stand still, and really focus your senses on the forest you will start to notice all the movement around you. Just by standing still on the boardwalk we were able to notice the small crabs scurrying around. The small mudskippers making their trails through the mud, as well as the small colorful birds flitting between the branches.

MonkeymudfishWoodpecker2

While we definitely enjoyed the food and architecture during our time in Taiping, the abundance of nature and wildlife made it truly unique and may draw us back in the future.

Malaysia, Travel

Enjoying Nature in Taiping

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