From One Lake to Another

Our final hike on this Bali trip was between two volcanic lakes in West Bali. Four of us went on the hike, along with the two wonderful guides who’ve been with us all week: Ketut and Putu. Other members of our group stayed back at the hotel to write, relax, hike back to the waterfall, get bodywork, enjoy other options our hotel had to offer. Here’s a report on our inter-lake journey.

We began our hike at the lake on the left, Buyan Lake. Its name means “seedling of the rice.” And we hiked five miles to the lake on the right, Lake Tamblingan, whose name roughly means, “remember water can heal you and you can use it as medicine.”
As we began our hike, we walked along the lakeside of Lake Buyan. There were orange tents dotting the ground—this area is often used by school groups and the equivalent of scouting groups in Bali. Young people were camping here now. The last time I hiked this trail, an outdoor yoga class was being held in this same place
These beautiful orange flowers are African Tulips.
This is a cinnamon tree. The bark is harvested in the spring.
As we left the central entry area, we entered a narrow, wet dirt path through a coffee plantation, up and over roots and downed trees, up and down steep hillsides, on easy paths and across challenging terrain. We hiked all the way from one lake to another, listening to farm animals, goats and roosters, and always dogs protecting their homes. Once again, I was awed by Ketut’s knowledge of herbs, plants, and medicinal herbology. This kind of herbal knowledge is passed down in Balinese families. As we walked on this diverse and beautiful train, it seemed as if every plant has a practical use.
The fruits of this tree are used to make latex.
This one is called “the bird fern” and it’s good for high blood pressure.
As we hiked over dirt trails, stones, soaked mulched leaves of every color, volcanic rocks and tree roots, I heard the voices of my students behind me. One said, “I love this kind of hike,” and “I feel like I’m walking in a holy place.” She was right and we could all feel it. The dappled light was magical. Birdsong surrounded us. It was a cool day, perfect for hiking. We weren’t coping with any of the slippery wet motorcycle trails we’d faced the day before. We moved from lakeside through forests and an open-air field. At times the trail was smooth; at others, we were clambering over all natural surfaces—vines and branches and roots.
This ficus tree is believed to hold a powerful tree spirit. Hence, it’s accompanying shrine to the spirit of the tree.
At one point, I turned and asked the hikers for silence. To stop our chatting for a while and just drink in our steps and the sounds of the forest.
We walked over a lot of this for hours.
As we struggled up, up, up the trail, stepped under and over downed trees, I heard Urmilla singing kirtan behind me—her sweet voice singing praises to Ganesh and Lord Shiva—urging me ever upward.
Here I am standing in a ficus tree, clearly happy to be hiking again!

And this was an unexpected reward we came across. What a delightful surprise.

Melinda loved it, too!

While we diehards went on our third hike in three days, others who stayed behind attended a class in offering making. This is what they were doing while we were starting to hike up the steeper and more challenging part of our hike.
Here’s some of what they made. I wish could have been in two places at once!
Meanwhile, back on the inter-lake hike, this is a passionflower in Urmilla’s hand.
This is mimosa.
As we began to descend back down to lake two, we passed another sacred tree.
And when we were almost there, we climbed down a staircase and look what was waiting for us: canoes! I’d seen them on the lake when I’d been here with the first group a few weeks ago. I’d inquired whether we could rent some and lo and behold, they were all set up waiting for us. With some help from some locals and our guides, we canoed across the lake.
And had a picnic lunch full of leftovers from last night’s dinner in front of this beautiful temple.
What a great last hike in Bali!
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