As a city boy, I am not a kind of climbing-doers, although I love relaxing myself in a completely different world which full of the vivid green and blue sky of mountains. So, when my friend offered me a visit to Mt. Gede Pangrango National Park, I immediately said “Yes!”
Some people say there’s no way to get close to nature, except to wander among the densely real trees and realize the sense of how pretty it is by yourself. And here I am! In front of the gate of the national park, get ready to pay a cheap ticket as a door to open the excitement of taking deep fresh air of mountains’ atmosphere with breathtaking landscapes, without worry of getting lost in the jungle or being at peril of wild animals.
The Mt. Gede Pangrango National Park is located at the most well-known destination of Jakartans almost every weekends: Puncak, West Java, only 2 hours away from Jakarta. So, it’s a simple trip of going there by vehicles from the city. This national park seems to have nothing but the best exotic rain forest of the most popular active volcanoes: Mt. Gede and Mt. Pangrango, with the area more than 21,000 ha. The young backpackers and adventurers from the capital and nearby small towns consider this place as their favorite getaway for birdwatching, hiking, climbing, camping, or just walking around to response the nature calling in mind. Not just young people, I even meet many families with children there.
The tracks of Mt. Gede Pangrango vary in terms of visitor capability. Because my friend and I don’t come early in the morning and we’re not really good in doing serious activities, such as hiking, we only took 2.9 km route by walk. We determine to end up the journey at Cibeureum Waterfall. It needs around an hour to get there. But, I think we’re going to need more than one hour because we will stop by at the interesting shelters and spots, including Telaga Biru (Blue Lake), Panyangcangan Swamp, and the river.
In the middle of our walk, we see plenty of wonderful blossoms with butterflies searching for the sweet, also hear the twittering of birds. What a joy! This ambience is something that we are not going to feel in the capital city of Jakarta. As if all the creatures singing a special song for us. The famous biologist Wallace have investigated the area for years and found that this tropical forest is home to hundreds of wild species, such as rare orchids, medicinal plants, elang jawa, siki nangka (the smallest bird in Java), edelweiss (known as eternal flower), and other Indonesian endemic species. We’re lucky today to see gibbons and monkeys do acrobat by jumping, swinging, and hanging on top of the trees.
Our first stop is Telaga Biru, a lake with blue color. But unfortunately, the color has changed. It’s not blue anymore. My friend tell me that the lake is sacred and also haunted because the inhabitants used to lie down the dead people there for a while to get piece with nature before they’re buried. I feel suddenly frightened! Then, we quickly continue our walk.
We’re getting deeper into this beautiful sanctuary. Experiencing strangeness because of calmness, but I really feel enthusiastic. It’s so quiet. I don’t mean quiet with no sound. But, quiet for being there surrounded by trees and hidden animal, a playground which make us imagining this precious heritage of nature as “everlasting Gardens”.
When we finally arrive at the bridge of Panyangcangan Swamp, we are amazed by the perfect scenery of heavenly skyline with the mountains below. It’s really unforgetable picture, a glitter of an earthly paradise. Amazing! I am motionless and speechless for a moment, just taking a deep breath and spoiling my eyes. A perfectly great blue cloudlike decoration. And we walk again, waiting for other surprises to come.
Yes, it’s a physical exercise. Eventhough, the weather is cool, we have already gotten some sweats by walking through the upwards path. As we keep approaching, our ears catch the sounds of water. That’s it: a pure little river with excessive big rocks. I don’t want to miss it, so I squat on a piece of land at the side, and try to reach the water by hands. Oh my, it’s very clear and fresh! And afterwards, we realize that the waterfalls is just minutes from here.
It seems like I get back my energy again when my eyes lastly face the Air Terjun Cibeureum, which radiate happiness and freshness. There are three waterfalls which people call as triple waterfall. My friend and I take a sit on the huge rock near the waterfalls, try to absorbe feeling of being attached to nature: a salutation of beauty. We need to be careful because it’s slippery, and the water is very cool.
Mt. Gede Pangrango National Park has also many interesting spots that we can reach by walking only, such as hot spring water (5.9 km/4 hours), Kawah Ratu (Queen Crater) (7 km/6 hours), and the summit of the mountains (14 km/14 hours). Likewise, the national park offers ecotourism and environmental education program, providing guidelines and information about this conservation area and environmental issue. To empowering local community (the farmers and farm land), we can join the “tree adoptation program”. Together with local farmers, we can plant trees which will be taken care of by the farmers for three years. Then, the farmers are going to get incentives from the trees, such as getting cattles, rabbit, honey, and many more.
Visiting Mt. Gede Pangrango National Park is a big doze of joy to heal your stress and depression by being a hard working person in a big and hectic city like Jakarta. You may leave the forest tired from walking, but you’ll be recharged by the natural beauty of forest, which give you a chance to taste an angle of the Eden that leave behind in this Archipelago. I not just find myself so close to realm, but also more than that, I feel as a part of it. Harmony that bring me to a tranquil and peaceful body, mind, and soul. It’s really a short road to heaven!