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Published: April 6th 2011
'Fire Mountain' - the apt name for Ganung Api. The volcano that overlooks Bandaniera.
One night, after a few Bintang beers, some of the guests at Vita thought it would be a good idea to get up early next day and climb to the summit.
Needless to say, at 5.15am the next day we found ourselves on a boat sailing across the bay to the foot of the volcano in the pitch dark.
With the aid of tiny torches we set off up the steep black soil path, dampened from the rain 2 days earlier. The going was tough as the path snaked it's way through dense, damp vegetation. The task was made more difficult due to the fact that our torches are wind up ones ( in case we couldn't buy batteries in this remote part of the world) but only gave out enough light if we constantly wound them up- meaning we had no hands free to aid the climb. They also made a very annoying constant, whining sound!!
Eventually as dawn began to break we were able to see the path more clearly. Views were few and far between as the higher we got
the taller the vegetation became around us. Glancing up, to my horror, just slightly above head height were huge webs with equally huge spiders sat in the middle, strewn from vegetation bridging the path. I wondered how many I'd narrowly missed while climbing in the dark!
After 2 hours of hard climbing we reached open ground and were able to sit on the dark earth and take in the views and give our aching muscles a rest, we sat a while with Ricardo and Maria, Derek had raced ahead wanting to be first to the summit.
One final push of about 30 minutes took us to the first summit, the terrain had changed from soil to rocks, steam oozed out from between some of them, underfoot the path felt very hot through my flimsy shoes. ( I hadn't brought any good walking shoes on this trip for obvious reasons - too heavy to carry, I've spent most of the trip just wearing flip flops).
By now the sun was shining brightly but higher up the grey cloud clung onto the recently formed crater, due to the altitude, the air felt cool despite the sunshine.
Stan carried on
Stan peering into the crater
up to the top to take a look inside the crater, I was happy to observe it from where I was, expecting my shoes to start melting into the ground any minute!
After the obligitory photo shoots we set off back down again. As expected the going was even tougher than the climb up, but with the aid of tree trunks to grab hold of to stop plunging down the steep path, We heard a plane approaching and just made to a clearing in time to see it land on the extremly short runway. We finally made it to the bottom. Within minutes a boat came along to take us back to Vita.
We spent the next few days nursing aching muscles and sore toes!
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