Gunung Ceremai —sering pula disebut Gunung Ciremai—merupakan gunung berapi berbentuk kerucut yang menghuni wilayah tiga kabupaten, yaitu Kabupaten Cirebon, Kabupaten Kuningan, serta Kabupaten Majalengka di Provinsi Jawa Barat.

Nama gunung itu berasal dari kata ‘’cereme’’ (Phyllanthus acidus, sejenis tumbuhan perdu berbuah kecil agak masam), yang sering pula disebut ‘’ciremai’’. Berketinggian 3.076 meter di atas permukaan laut (mdpl), Ciremai pun tercatat sebagai gunung tertinggi di Jawa Barat.

Untuk menaklukkan puncak Ciremai alias atapnya Jawa Barat, sebagaimana saya lakukan bersama kawan-kawan, terdapat tiga jalur pendakian yang bisa ditempuh, yaitu jalur Linggarjati, Apuy (Majalengka), dan Palutungan (Kuningan). Kami memilih memulai pendakian dari Palutungan. Hanya sekitar empat jam perjalanan dari Jakarta, kami pun tiba di Pos Registrasi Palutungan pada ketinggian 1.100 mdpl.

MEMULAI PENDAKIAN

Di Pos Palutungan terdapat sebuah papan yang menginformasikan terdapat tujuh pos yang harus dilalui sebelum summit attack. Dari pos itu pula bisa diperoleh informasi pendaki harus melakoni trekking sejauh 9,8 km dengan perkiraan waktu tempuh 10,3 jam untuk menuju puncak.

Masing-masing di antara kami membawa minimal 5 liter air dalam carrier karena sumber air hanya ada di pos pertama. Beban di pundak pun bertambah berat. Setelah sarapan pagi di sebuah warung di Pos Palutungan, sekitar pukul 08.30 kami mulai trekking.


Perjalanan bermula melewati perkampungan warga, berlanjut melalui perkebunan penduduk setempat. Jalan tanah sempit diapit kebun bawang terhampar luas berlatar Gunung Ciremai menjadi sajian fresh pertama. Juga hamparan kebun kol dan sesekali diselingi kandang sapi hingga kami tiba di sebuah saung untuk beristirahat.

Terik matahari tertahan teduh pepohonan pinus. Warga lokal menyebutnya hutan pinus. Kondisi teduh seiring embusan angin membantu kami melibas lelah. Lepas hutan pinus, giliran beragam jenis pohon lain menjadi tameng penangkal terik matahari.

Dari jalanan setapak bertanah berkelok-kelok sekitar dua jam, tibalah kami di Pos Cigowong pada ketinggian 1.450 mdpl. Inilah pos pertama sekaligus satu-satunya yang memiliki sumber air. Di sini pula kami beristirahat sekaligus santap siang.

Dari Pos Cigowong, pendakian berlanjut. Kali ini treknya terus menanjak. Berat bawaan dalam carrier membuat kami tidak bisa bergerak dengan cepat. Jalan tanah setapak terus kami susuri, melewati Pos Kuta (1.575 mdpl), Pos Pangguyangan Badak (1.800 mdpl), dan Pos Arban (2.050 mdpl).

Di pos keempat itu kami memutuskan membuka tenda. Seorang teman tidak sanggup lagi melanjutkan perjalanan. Selain itu, hari juga mulai gelap. Memang dibutuhkan persiapan khusus dan fisik prima sebelum mendaki gunung, termasuk Ciremai.

MENUJU GUA WALET

Sekitar pukul 03.30, saya sudah terjaga dan bersiap menuju Gua Walet, lalu summit attack. Sejam kemudian, berbekal headlamp sebagai penerangan kami bergegas, terus melangkah, melewati Pos Tanjakan Asoy (2.200 mdpl). Dari sini tanjakan semakin curam. Hanya kobaran semangat yang memberikan tenaga ekstra, terus melangkah, melewati Pos Pasanggrahan (2.450 mdpl) dan Pos Sangyang Ropoh (2.650 mdpl).


Cahaya matahari mulai menerangi jalanan. Trek kian berat dilalui. Jalanan yang sebelumnya berupa tanah berganti menjadi bebatuan berpasir yang kian menanjak. Sekitar pukul 08.00, kami tiba di Pos Gua Walet. Bekas titik letusan pada ketinggian 2.950 mdpl.

Sangat banyak pendaki mendirikan tenda di situ. Taman edelweiss menghampar indah memanjakan mata. Edelweiss yang sedang mekar itu membuat rasa lelah terbayar kontan meski belum sampai puncak.

ATAP JAWA BARAT

Waktu summit attack pun tiba. Setelah cukup beristirahat, kami bersiap menaklukkan tanjakan terakhir yang begitu curam dengan kemungkinan kemiringan lebih dari 60 derajat. Kami terus mendaki, menapaki jalur bebatuan dan tanah. Tersisa hanya 128 meter lagi untuk sampai di atas. Namun, medan yang berat membuat langkah kami sedikit lambat.

Alhasil, pada pendakian kali ini kami dituntut menjadi ‘’Spider-Man’’, dibantu tangan untuk bisa menaklukkan jalanan. Lebih kurang 20 menit kami berjuang bisa sampai puncak. Diselingi doa, perjuangan berbuah ketika kami sudah berada di atapnya Jawa Barat.

Pemandangan dari puncak Gunung Ciremai membuat saya takjub. Kaldera sangat luas menganga terhampar di depan mata. Terdapat dua bagian kawah pada kaldera itu. Kawah barat dengan radius 400 meter terpotong kawah timur beradius 600 meter.

Seperti biasa, tidak lengkap pemandangan di puncak gunung tanpa pemandangan pendaki mengibarkan Sang Saka Merah Putih sembari berfoto memegang papan bertulisan ‘’Puncak Ciremai 3078 mdpl’’ maupun yang ber-selfie ria dengan latar kawah atau panorama yang terhampar jauh di bawah sana.

Slogan “bigger, stronger, better” terpatri pada beberapa papan. Pesan slogan itu benar-benar kami rasakan selama proses mendaki hingga akhirnya tiba puncak. Seolah kami telah melampaui batas kekuatan untuk bisa menaklukkan gunung tertinggi di Jawa Barat ini.


Sekitar pukul 09.30 kabut tebal mulai menghalangi pandangan. Udara menjadi lebih dingin. Kami memutuskan kembali ke tempat camp di Pos Arban. Perjalanan turun jelas lebih cepat, sekitar separuh dari waktu naik. Setelah beristirahat dan mengisi perut di camp, sekitar pukul 15.00 kami melanjutkan perjalanan kembali, tiba di Pos Palutungan kala hari mulai gelap.

Kami pun telah mendapatkan pengalaman baru yang luar biasa. Gunung Ciremai telah menjadikan kami bigger, stronger, better.

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