Mount Ijen- Blue fire!
The hardest day of the entire trip hands down, this was it. The best time to see the blue fire is at the peak of darkness. Our resort was about 45 minutes from the volcano.
We got to base camp, meaning there were plenty of small vendors serving up coffee and snacks. This is not a huge mountain climbing adventure so it was not truly a basecamp. This is a tourist attraction. I got conned into buying a hat from the local vendors and all in all it was the best purchase because I was about to find out that things will get cold.
What we didn’t bother checking was the process of getting from the base of the mountain to the rim of the volcano. We also neglected to read up on the ascent and descent from the Blue Fire itself.
The three-hour hike.
This was something unexpected. Don’t get me wrong, I did check on a map. I just didn’t read the details. About one and a half hours of the hike was let’s say manageable. The other hour and a half was a 35-degree incline to the top.
We began our trek to the top. I thought I was underdressed as I was the only idiot in shorts. Later on, it turned out to be okay but I was sure happy I bought the hat. Despite smelling like kerosene it kept my head warm. I wonder how it will smell when I get it back from the laundry.
No matter, we trekked on and I had to pause a few times, okay many, many times. Partly because of my injury and partly because it was damn hard. We climbed and climbed for what seemed like forever.
Reaching for the top.
Well, we did it. My friend and I made it. We had a guide that was showing us around, but we were not done yet. We had to go down 900 meters into the crater of Mount Ijen.
This is where we get to see the famous Blue Fire. The descent was crazy. It was rocky and slippery. There was moisture in the air and everything was damp. Watching every step as we went was important. No railings to hold onto here. If you fall it’s a long way down.
We had our headlamps but it was not an easy trek down. By the time we got to the bottom, I was very tired. We had not had breakfast, no coffee, only water. I could have used a nice hot latte at the bottom.
The Blue Fire.
I’ll just say it. It was not worth the trek. Now I can say I did it even with a bad leg. However, if I knew then what I know now, I may not have gone. It is methane gas burning at the bottom of the crater. The size of the fire is supposed to be quite large but we could only see 10-15 meters by maybe 5 meters of it.
Under the Blue Fire, miners were getting huge chunks of sulfur and carrying these slabs to the top to sell. These miners do the climb 2-3 times a day. I was dead doing it once.
The small gifts sell for under a dollar and large chunks of the sulfur can be purchased but it is not like crystals. Some chunks are amazing and others are only slabs.
Getting back to the top seemed as if was going to take forever. The winding paths were nearly too much. By the time we made it to the top, it was daylight and the scenery was spectacular. All in all, I am glad I did it. Even if the Blue Fire could have been a little more exciting.
#roadtrip #eastjava #surabaya
#bromo #volcano #traveling #travelling #exploreindonesia, #photography