East Java Mountains

Posted on March 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Down Home in Mississippi

EastJavaMtns-CraterLakeOur daughter reminded us that one our outings when we lived in East Java was accompanying visitors to a scenic volcano lake on nearby Mount Idjen. At the time she was too small to make the strenuous trek up the mountainside and would be left with helpers at a guesthouse on the coffee plantation on the Idjen Plateau. Having seen pictures, her lifelong desire and personal agenda was for her family to make this excursion while on our pilgrimage back to East Java.

We left our hotel at 5:00 am for the three-hour drive to the base of the volcano, a winding mountainous drive through rice fields, teakwood forests and a coffee and cocoa plantation. At the beginning the two-hour hike our energetic grandchildren ran ahead in anticipation of this new adventure but soon began lagging behind in more frequent rest stops as the trail became steeper. Our photos show Bobbye leading the way up the mountain incline and the group making it’s way through sulfur smoke as we neared the lip of the volcano.


EastJavaMtns-SulfurStoneWorkerAlong the way we passed a steady stream of “tukang pikul.” A pikul is the bamboo pole connecting two baskets on each end carried on the shoulder. These laborers gather sulfur rock to be sold to pharmaceutical companies from the edge of the lake. They would have to climb out of the crater with their 150 lb. loads then two hours down the mountain.

EastJavaMtns-PoolThe previous day included a picnic to Rembangan, a historic Dutch resort high in the mountain overlooking Jember. Our family often spent “family day” there when the kids were small. We found the swimming pool amidst beautiful landscaping and foliage had been renovated and continued to be a popular destination for local families. The swings and see-saw from years gone by were still intact and Lori enthralled her children with tales of birthday parties here with her childhood friends.

Mia thought it was the most fun of any swimming pool she had ever been to. Seven-year-old Gloria gained the attention and admiration of the large crowd when she jumped off the high, 3-meter diving board, and the family climaxed the outing with delicious bowls of soto-ayam (spicy chick curry soup) in the mountain-top restaurant.


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