One day, just when I was little bit bored with writing and studying activities, an opportunity came. Someone offered me to go to Kerinci for a vacation. Actually, I could do some research for my novel there, but let’s skip it for now. At the moment, I just wanted to escape from this boredom. So I flow from Surabaya to Jakarta, then Jakarta to Padang.
When I step feet to Kerinci, Jambi Province, it was night. Too dark. All my driver did was driving away from a forest just for entering another. After six hours of speedy-thrilling trip, suddenly a city! Yeah, Kerinci regency is a civilization surrounded by thick forests.
I had had plan to stay here for a week. But just two days I’d been in Kumun Village, I received a news that we must go back to Padang. I didn’t enjoy the land trip from Minangkabau Airport (Padang) to Kerinci, at all. And now, for a sudden reason, I had to land trip (again) back to Padang city.
The travel car moved on at 8 a.m. Still the same travel company, Shafa Marwa. Luckily, it wasn’t the same “F1 pilot”. The driver this time, Mr. Ul, drove more carefully and slowly. He was also my tour guide, after all. From inside the Innova, I enjoyed some trip panorama I couldn’t see at night before.
Tourism Objects in Kerinci
We stopped by at few tourism objects. Actually, I would visit them one by one in an unrushed tour. But now I had to briefly visit them at once, in half a day. Thanks to the news.
Our first post was Kerinci Lake (Danau Kerinci), a 5,000 hectares lake that’s located on 783 meters above sea level (masl). I recorded the views here a bit.
Semurup Hot Spring
Then, we stopped at Semurup Hot Spring (Sumber Air Panas Semurup) in Semurup Village. It’s a bathing place and a hot water pool where the spring is spraying in direct. Evidently, water in the pool is hotter than in the bathing place. The announce board says, the water used to be 130ºC. Due to the earth quake, it’s 80ºC now.
However, I wonder why that pool smelled like ravioli. As a fan of this kind of noodle, I salivated immediately. However, do you know where the aroma came from? Look over there: three sacks of corn were immersed. Yes, local people and tourists used to boil things using this pool. They claimed, “An egg is gonna be well-boiled within five minutes.”
We’d already proved it with a dozen of duck eggs bought by Mr. Ul near the site.
After Semurup village, we continued to Mount Talang or Gunung Talang. Then, Mount Kerinci or Gunung Kerinci. Soared 3,805 masl, Mount Kerinci is one of the high mountains in Indonesia. The highest one is Puncak Jaya (4,884 masl) in Papua. The third is Mount Rinjani in Lombok (3,726 masl), and the fourth is Mount Semeru (3,676 masl) in East Java.
However, Mount Kerinci is the highest volcano in Indonesia. It’s the most prominent feature of Kerinci Seblat National Park’s terrains, with pine-forested slopes rising 2,400-3,300 meters above the surrounding basin. At the summit there is a deep 600 meters and 400 x 120 meters wide crater, often partially filled by green-yellow water.
Mount Kerinci is more active than most Indonesian volcanoes, with nearly annual eruptions. The last erupted was in 2004, and it continues to spew clouds of sulfurous smoke, with plumes reaching as high as 1,000 meters above the summit.
By car, I only reached tea plantation on its southern slope. But if you’d like to, you can climb it, usually from Kersik Tuo Village. You’ll meet many splendid panoramas with natural wealth of flora and fauna from lowland to highland. Mount Kerinci is not only good for being appreciated by the nature lovers, but for doing any research and education as well.
According to Wikipedia, the lowland is dominated by several mahoganies. And there is also a giant Rafflesia arnoldii and Amorphophallus titanum. For the animal, you’ll find tapir (Tapirus indicus), cuscus (Tarsius bancanus), and 140 kinds of bird. The natives of Kerinci told me that inside this jungle, “There are specialty animals of Sumatra too, such as elephants, Sumatran rhinos, tigers, honey bears, and panthers.”
But none of orangutans. For primate species, Kerinci forests on the mountain have gibbons, long tail monkeys, and Presbytis melapophos.
The climb and descent normally takes three days and two nights to the summit. You may also just go up till Camp 2 or 2.5, skipping the summit attempt which is a night climb, it’ll take two days and one night.
Twin Lake of Kerinci
My last visit was Twin Lake (Danau Kembar). Why twin? “Because it’s two,” answered Mr. Ul, “Danau Atas (Lake of Top) and Danau Bawah (Lake of Bottom).” We just dropped in Lake of Top. Meanwhile, the Lake of Bottom is located above its twin sister. Even Mr. Ul had no idea what did Kerinci folks meant by this up-side down naming.
After visiting Twin Lake, we backed to the car.
Back to Reality
I counted, teens times Mr. Ul changed his cassettes. Tens times he played Ebiet G. Ade’s ballads and the traditional songs, which mostly tell about calamities and live beyond homeland. Finally, at 17 o’clock the Innova arrived to Padang. See you, vacation.
- photos by Brahm