|all 14 of us (1 student didn't go and we brought along Lauren for fun and Falk as the professor)|
|After hiking in the fog for 2 hours we finally saw something we recognized...a giant caldera!|
|first glimpse of the fumeroles|
|learning from Falk about water wapor|
|we found a friend|
|sunset next to Cerro Azul|
We spent the evening eating food that was prepared for us and playing mafia. The sun set early and without a lot of light, we all went to bed early. It got COLD at night. Not as cold as it is here in Quito, but it was pretty chilly. The next morning we woke up at 6, ate some food and began the hike down into the caldera and back up the side of the sulfur mine. They don't actually mine the sulfur anymore and hiking the trail once is enough to convince me why. It is steep going down the side of the caldera, steep going up the sulfur mine and then you have to do it in reverse. It was a workout of a lifetime.
|the path down the inside of the caldera|
|between the inside of the caldera and the sulfur mine|
|Marina and I on the landslide prone rocks|
These are called fumeroles. The magma deep in the earth heats up the water and it comes to the surface and releases gas and leaves behind sulfur deposits. The steam is HOT and the gases are impossible to breathe. Just from walking around the area it smells awful and stings your lungs. Many coughing fits occurred. My lungs hurt and I feel nauseous just looking at these pictures again. That's how bad it was.
You may be thinking, "Hannah, this doesn't look safe" and to that I say no, it's probably not. But did that stop us? Nope. Not really. But it is Galapa-safe. There's a difference between safe and Galapa-safe.
After, we hiked back to camp and broke down all of our tents and packed up and started the 2.5 exhausting journey back down. We aren't sure about the exact distance, but we hiked almost 6 hours straight that one day. My feet paid the price....