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Merapi National Park, Part 2

Today, I went to Mt. Merapi National Park again. As I said before, the national park has two entrances, on the east, from Tlogo Putri, where Pronojiwo Hill is, and on the west, from Tlogo Nirmolo, where Japanese Bunker and Plawangan Hill are. Again, as is the case of Pronojiwo’s case, don’t ask me what Plawangan means.

This side of the national park was not as crowded as Tlogo Putri. Well, it’s only Saturday, 08:00 AM, so it’s natural to be deserted. In fact, as I got there, I was the only person entering the national park.

There are two trails here. The first one is Japanese Bunker trail, which is an easy trail as the elevation gain is not too high. The second one is Plawangan Hill. Plawangan’s peak is an observatory. It’s used to observe the Mt. Merapi volcanic activity. As one need a clear view to observe the volcano activity, it’s located right at the top of Plawangan Hill.

I decided to go with Plawangan trail. At first, the Japanese Bunker trail and Plawangan trail share a common path. However, after a junction, about 300m in, they have their own trail.

Plawangan trail is definitely harder. The elevation gain is around 300m. The trail condition is not really good, unlike the first part of the trail. A lot of landslides there. This trail is no joke. I almost fell down multiple times.

The peak of Plawangan Hill is a bit disappointing. There was only a small clear land, and some solar panel and observer camera, pointed at Merapi’s peak, some 4km north. However, if one look at the western side of the peak, one could see another hill. It’s Turgo Hill. From Yogyakarta, if one looks at Merapi in the north on a clear day, one could see a “pimple” at the western slope of Merapi. It’s Turgo.

They said that hike down hill is easier than hike uphill. It’s only partially true. On Plawangan trail, hiking downhill is definitely more dangerous. One has to be extra careful here, as some parts of the trail has almost 90 degree elevation, and in front of them are usually cliff.

That being said, Plawangan trail is a great trail. It’s 1.17km one way, so it would be around 2.3-2.4km round trip. It’s also a bit harder than the other trails because one start at 1000m altitude, and finish at the peak at 1300m altitude. So, it’s about 300m of elevation gain.

As for the next trail next week, I need to find more information, as I’ve exhausted my list.

Let the universe guide me…