January 22, 2012

Gunung Bromo

Driving up the curling road to Gunung Bromo, the scenery eventually dissolved into white. Only early afternoon, the fog was dense and completely hid any clues to the massive crater surrounding us. The next morning, we slowly walked up to the viewpoint, capturing photos of people passing with loads of produce on their heads and vegetables planted on the steep slopes. Arriving at the top, the clouds had started rolling into the unusual landscape--several craters within an older, larger, 10 km crater and another erupting volcano in the distance beyond. Only a few minutes later the entire scene disappeared, making the walk down feel a bit eerie.

The next morning started at 3:30 am, into a 4x4 to make the same route up to the viewpoint at sunrise. Despite the clouds, we saw blinks of bright orange light and a surreal scene of mountains, volcanos, and craters illuminated around us. Clouds filled up the valleys and greens, browns, and blues emerged from the darkness. One traveler saw fire flaming for a few seconds from the active volcano! Back into the jeep, we headed down to the flat surface in the crater, filled with volcanic sand. It looked less flat than afar with rolling dunes and crevises. Steep stairs up to the rim left us breathless and a bit dizzy from the altitude. Then after the last step, surprise! On the rim of Mt. Bromo, the view of the crater was immediate and even deeper than our climb... the first thought being, don't fall in! A huge black hole filled with a blue-green liquid that looked like water, was actually hot lava.

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