What a great joy it is for one to be situated on the top of a high mountain! And what twice as great a joy it is to conquer two summits of two different high mountains in one and the same day! That’s what I found out that day, when I finally reached Singgalang’s top, having just started to descend from Marapi that very morning.
As I was leaving the fuming craters of Marapi behind me, I was in quite some rush to make it to the top of the neighboring Mount Singgalang before dark, as it seemed to be quite a task while staring at the faraway peak against me and meditating upon the distance I had to cover, which, even for my standards, appeared only marginally plausible for the few hours of a day. For my good fortune the weather happened to be very fair for the whole morning, so as to permit me to get down in full speed, merely resisting gravity at all. So, in no more than a couple of hours I had not only made back to the road, but I had also found an ojek to take me to the village, thus being in Koto Baru a little before noon.
I took advantage of the civilization for a hot cup of coffee and some nice lunch, and, shortly after, I was sitting on another ojek driving up the lower slopes of Mount Singgalang. At some point along the way we were stopped at the registration office – just an elemental shack -, where I was asked to pay 20000IDR (foreigners price) but I only paid 10000 (locals price), to what they didn’t object. The distance to the trailhead was much more significant than what it was the day before to Marapi. Furthermore, as the road became coarser and coarser, I chose to dismount from the bike and continue on foot the last few kilometers to the trailhead. The road, even though coarse, was actually perfectly negotiable for a motorbike, but I chose so as I couldn’t trust a whit that guy’s driving skills. He was at least 70 years old, merely seeing anything at all in front of his sight.
There were some views of magnificent character, down to the valley and across to Marapi, I got to be staring at while striding along the last few kilometers of the road until the trailhead. Soon the road finished and I took the trail, where no view was to be seen until almost the top, but jungle, jungle and yet more jungle. A guide would be totally unnecessary for anyone, as the trail is very obvious throughout its entire length and there is also a bundle of some cables going side by side the trail all the way to some communication-masts befound at the very top of the mountain. The first part of the trail runs in a tunnel-like kind of fashion, in between some dense, reed-like vegetation, whereat, at times, it is necessary to crawl through the narrower parts.
After, it enters into a more regular tropical forest, where there are several decent camping spots and quite a few water-sources to be found along the way. Due to the public holiday – the one I just got aware of taking place just the day before – there were quite many parties of local hikers going up the mountain, but still not any close as many as the day before in Marapi. The weather, also, was fairly cooperative. Some few showers occurred, but nothing as the the incessant storm I had to cope with the day before. At about 2600 amsl the trail opens out to a steep rocky surface, wherefrom some great views are to be seen. After that steep part is finished, the trail enters into its last part through an even, muddy, mossy upper montane forest, leading, in very short time, to that lake situated on the top of the mountain, right where the crater of this dormant volcano used to be erstwhile, at some archaic time.
By the time I reached the lake It was already dusk, and profound darkness was soon to fall upon that remote and well secluded spot of our planet. The last wilting light, though, was more than enough to let me discern in what an unbelievable, paradisal place I had just come to. I must have seen quite several hundreds of lakes in my life, but the beauty of that one, without any mood to exaggerate, was beyond any comparison or description. Those waters had assembled right on the chilly top of the mountain, and were enclosed by that rare tropical montane forest, with its entangled with fat masses of moss and lichen grotesquely shaped trees. I found some nice spot by the lake, I pitched my tent and, for the rest of the evening, I stayed there being busy with my tea and dinner, and as well discussing with the several local hikers who were camping nearby and, after noticing me, they were passing by one after another to greet me and practice their English.
Next morning was an occurring-in-one-out-of-thousands beautiful morning. The magic of that wonderful lake had revealed itself in its entire splendor under the bright, blue sky. And the chirrups of the early birds were resounding from the serene forest around, blended with the mellow melodies and chords the local campers were striking on their guitars from various spots around the lake. After taking my time to properly enjoy that rare morning, I set off to conquer the highest point of the mountain. That may be reached after a short hike still following the cables. That short trail runs through muddy, mossy forest, and a good deal of clambering and crawling is needed to traverse by the abounding deadfalls. I didn’t find the highest point to be any interesting for any good reason. There isn’t any view from there as it’s well hidden within dense vegetation. Even worse, it’s full of rubbish left there after the telecommunication installation. The only good reason to get there, would be that there is still a chance to get some great view by climbing up one of the masts. Although in my case, even though I did climb one of them, by the time I was there, thick fog had engulfed the forest and me within it, thus allowing nothing to be visible outstripping the radius of a few meters. So I just returned to the lake where I spent a few idle hours before heading down again.