Monday 21 July
Our walk takes us through a wide variety of landscape types, starting with a pale brown volcano, where we turn left along a giant rift. From this point the tourists cease and we are alone in the volcanic wilderness. The path is narrow and sandy and soft, no mud or big boulders, so is very pleasant to walk on. We cross a giant lava flow all bubble shaped ripples and great gloop holes solidified in stone, little valleys fringed by cliffs of dark black or red volcano turrets. The way isn’t always clear and the maps are not detailed enough to help us, but we find the way to the top of a hill with views of the valley and geology below. We have seen thermal power stations, stinking of sulphur, with giant pipes and geodesic domes criss-crossing the ash barren slopes. Giant plumes of steam rise up from the various points adding to the eerie feel.
A steep climb up brown bare ash slopes takes us to a ridge of three tops with smoking sulphurous fumaroles spread all around. The colour a their vents is a vivid fluorescent yellow and the smell takes your breath away.
We descend to the geothermal area that is visible from the hilltop; a very steep unstable track takes us to the vent area where cone shaped fumaroles gush steam and roar. Mud pools black-blue with an oily appearance belch and bubble and spurt. All shapes and sizes. The loudest vents are fierce yet unguarded; you can approach them and interfere with them if you want.