My alarm went off at 3:30 am. I was already dressed since it’s cold in the lava lounge. I didn’t brush my teeth or anything but just headed out the door. The sky was black but filled with stars. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen as many stars. You could even see the Milky Way. Our goal was to walk across the lava field to the volcano crater. We were not sure how long it was going to take.
We climbed down the steep road to the lava field. There were hundreds of jeeps and motorcycles rushing by us with their lights blaring. We quickly got off the road when we hit the floor. The sky was still dark. Luckily Ellen had her flash light. We walked across the lava floor. As the sun rose, I could see the floor as filled with a dark sand. Parts of it were almost black from the ash. It had rained enough so it wasn’t too dusty. I was surprised to see some grass growing in clumps. I had thought the soil would be to acidic.
We walked to the base of the crater. The smells made me cough and short of breath. The volcano was spewing out a toxic mix of sulfur and carbon making it harder to breath. I borrowed Ellen’s scarf and began the ascend up the crater. All the way up I could hear the coughs and spits. I was really winded when finally reaching the top.
We could walk most of the top of the volcano. Looking down was the steam and fumes billowing out. The top wasn’t too crowded but we could see many coming. We walk around a bit before the fumes were too heavy for me so I climbed down first.
I waited below with people selling hats and warm clothing. I was sweating in my track pants and sweater. There were horses around to take people back to town. Ivy and Ellen came down and we walked to this strange Hindu temple in the middle of the lava field. We looked around and they were preparing to give offerings to the gods. The temple was a nice quiet oasis away from the jeeps and bikes coming to climb the volcano. We then walked back across the lava fields taking pictures and watching others.
I decided to take a motorbike for $5 CDN up the steep road. I got back at the hotel at 730 am. A great morning. We easily decided to spend another night.