The roughly fifty minute trek from Pos 2 to Pos 3 Pondok Panorama (2225m asl) sees the trail start to get a little steeper, although there are still some stretches of relatively level walking. From Pos 3 to Shelter 1 (2505m asl) however, the level sections of the trek are mostly a thing of the past. Reaching this first main campsite after a little more than an hour, we break for lunch.
Taking a well deserved rest after some strenuous jungle trekking on the way to Shelter 1.
The trek from Shelter 1 to Shelter 2 (3056m) is by far the longest leg of the climb, taking us a little more than three hours. The landscape begins to change dramatically from the larger trees and tighter canopy of the lower elevations to a bit sparser foliage and more stunted growth. Ever thicker layers of moss grow on rocks and tree trunks, with old man’s beard lichen hanging from branches in long strands. Low-hanging clouds, which have come and gone throughout the hike, now have permanently closed in around us. The temperature continues to drop the higher we go. Even at this altitude though, birds continue to chirp around us, and we even spot a group of six Wreathed hornbills flying low overhead, their loud wing beats alerting us to their presence before we see them.
The enchanted cloud forests of Mt. Kerinci. Due to the high elevation, proximity to the Indian Ocean, and lush flora on her slopes, Mt. Kerinci is almost perpetually covered in a shroud of fog, especially at the greater altitudes.
Akindo, having climbed the volcano many times before, can sense that we won’t beat the afternoon rains by the time we reach the more commonly used campsite at Shelter 3, so we decide to make camp at Shelter 2, which, as it’s still below the tree line, is a bit more sheltered from the elements. It’s a good decision – no sooner has the tent been pulled out and partially set up does it start pouring down buckets. Eventually it eases off enough to let us finish setting up the tent and have some dinner. We turn in for the night.