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Mt. Papandayan, a favorite place for trekking and camping.
Mt. Papandayan, friendly but active.
Papandayan is very popular among mountain climbers in my country. The mountain is not very high if we refer to the standard of experienced climbers, around 2665m or 8743 ft above sea level. I was introduced to this mountain when I was still in senior high school and climbed it for the first time together with my friends sometime in those school years.
Mt. Papandayan is known very active. The mountain has shown its activities quite often since 1775 and the last recorded serious event was in 2011 when National Disaster Management Agency increased the status of the mountain to become alert. That was when Papandayan crater made increasing signals like high productions of Carbon Dioxide followed with several volcanic earthquakes.
Attractions at Papandayan.
Papandayan absolutely has something to boast. People, especially climbers have a convention that Papandayan is one of a must-climb mountains in Indonesia. The main attraction of Papandayan lies on its natural as well as challenging beauty which will satisfy trekkers, climbers, campers as well as photographers. Trekkers will be spoiled by enchanting spewing calderas in both sides of the treks. They can see with some thrills the unceasingly smoking calderas with sulfur smell in the air and sometimes some shakes of ground where we walk indicating the active volcano. Papandayan with area of more than 10 hectares with all-terrain, up-and-down treks I found it very attractive for trekking enthusiasts.
If camping is also your favorite pastime, Pondok Saladah is the ideal place for that purpose. Pondok Saladah is a meadow area at Papandayan you can reach after you ascend to 2288 m asl. We can camp among the bright color plants, Cantigi (Viccinium sp) or at the open meadows among bushes of edelweiss. You'll be waken up by stunning sunrise in the morning with golden rays of shines break through the Cantigi leaves. A small river brings fresh water to the meadow area from which we can take clean water for cooking and cleaning. Campers from some neighboring cities come here specially on weekends. Their colorful tents makes attractive miniatures as if you were in lilliput world when we see them overlooking the Pondok Saladah valley on your way to the peak.
With the maximum height 2665 m (8743 ft) and moderate inclination in most of the climbing tracks, Papandayan attracts many mountain climbers in the country. I join a mountain climbing community in a social media and I notice most of the members mention the mountain as one of favorites destinations to climb. If someone asks me which track is suitable for newbie climbers then I would recommend Papandayan considering its moderate track level. Not to mention water supply as a crucial water for a climber is easily got here.
Climbing this mountain won't be too exhausting either because the scenery will be always something to enjoy along the way.
Tegal Alun and the peak of Papandayan.
Mt. Papandayan is not only worth climbing for peak reaching accomplishment that many climbers fight for but also to-die-for scenery is the reason. Landscape at Tegal Alun (2520m) is one of a kind. The spreads of Javanese edelweiss in this basin is still well preserved and it relieves those who are upset about decreasing populations of the flower in other mountains. Tegal Alun forms a concave base and In the middle of around 8 hectares edelweiss fields, lies a pond where we can see birds swoop down the water and a good spot for having some rests and taking pictures. The tranquil atmosphere at the pond surrounded by millions of edelweiss stalks and cold breezes lightly stroke my face gave me some hypnotizing effects.
From Tegal Alun, it only needs one or two hours to reach the peak. The trek to the peak is not clearly define and assistance from local guides is a good idea. One of the rangers at the guard post where we report prior to the climbing, is available for guide with tariff for around 100,000 rupiahs or 8 US$.
Besides edelweiss and ferns, Cantigi is another plant which can be vastly found in Papandayan. Cantigi or scientifically called Vaccinium varingiaefolium has red young leaves on their tips and gradually become light to dark green for the older ones. Cantigis are pretty yet tough. They grow ranging on wet, dry, to rocky dry lands.
Cantigis and edelweiss in Papandayan like to grow for one another. Cantigis often help mountain climbers in several things :
They offer branches and roots to climbers to hold on when dealing with steep, slippery routes.
They offer pretty views with their colorful leaves and fruits which give relaxing atmosphere along the trekking way, and most of all Cantigis serve food in survival situations. Cantigi fruits which look attractively red have freshly sour liquid. Climbers and trekkers sometimes chew their fruits for some fresh water.
Where is Papandayan located ?
Mount Papandayan is located near Garut city. It's around 208 km away from Jakarta to the east direction and can be reached by some means of transports like buses, local public transport or your own car. If you go there by motorbike, you can go directly to the first guard post and deposit it there while you go up trekking.
Our team consisted of 4 people and we liked to go there by bus better from our city, Bekasi to Garut bus terminal. The air conditioned bus cost us Rp. 35,000 per person. We continued the travel to Cisurupan village by a small bus for Rp. 8000 (0.65 US$). We stopped at an intersection at Cisurupan where there were some motorcycle taxis waiting for customers. We had to bargain irst with them until they agreed to bring us to post guard I for Rp, 30,000 (2.4 US$). It took around 15 minutes ride from Cisurupan to post I (2008 m high).
Pick ups were also available for surely more expensive price. Using pick up is better if there were more than 10 people altogether.
We had to report our trekking plan at guard post I and paid administration fee Rp. 4000 each person.
It was 5 pm already, the day rained and so cold. We pulled our rain coats out of the rucksack and wore them before we hit the track up. We also made sure that every single stuff in our bag was securely wrapped in plastic bags to keep them dry while we walked under the rain.
Some tips when you visit Papandayan.
* If you want to enjoy Papandayan in its serene atmosphere, you should come on weekdays. Papandayan is so popular that many people want to camp there on weekend.
* If you plan to go to the peak, I suggest that you hire a guide from guard post I near the entrance gate. He will show you the way to the peak in more convenient way.
* Bring drinking water. Although there is small river flown with clean water near Pondok Saladah, but fresh water we bring ourselves guarantees more cleanliness.
* Wrap every single cloth you bring in plastic bags first before you put them in your backpack to keep them dry when the day may suddenly rain.
* Keep your rubbish, specially food remains, buried or tightly put in plastic bags and keep it in your tent at night, to avoid possibly animal or boar "visits" at night.
* Don't leave your camera behind. You need it badly for capturing amazing views at Papandayan.