10 June 2012

Volcano Climb

Mt Merapi erupting in 2010
As I was sitting down to write a blog update I thought, do people want to see pictures of me sitting in class learning OR...do they want to see pictures of me climbing an active volcano?  Although, I would like to eventually post some pictures of class, teachers, and daily life from school I will save that for a later date.  Last weekend I (Will) had the opportunity to climb (not hike) Mt. Merapi which is Indonesia's most active volcano.  

My personal Canadian photographer Ben came along for the trip, so I just want to thank him for all the great pictures.  He also did a little write up on the mountain HERE which has a few more details.  


We started our journey up the mountain at about 4:30 am so the first part of the climb was done in the dark, however when the sun did come up we were in the clouds.  It was not until we were almost at the top that the clouds started to burn off, we could then see the top which was not far away.  After having lunch at the top (Four "PB and J" sandwiches packed by my amazing wife) we made our decent to the first bit of relatively flat ground.  As we came down and turned around the view above is what we saw.  In this picture we were discussing how great it was to have the clouds hiding our goal.
This last bit of the climb was a little tricky considering everything we grabbed or stood on had the potential of giving out on us.  But that is all part of the fun of getting to the top.

Almost at the top
When I first saw this picture of me looking back down the mountain I could not help but think of the two Indonesian guys who were close behind me.  About 100 yards from the top and I start to hear Adele rock'n on the boom box they had brought with them.  "Are you kidding me right now!" I thought in my head.  Never in a million years did I expect to be where I was and hear that.  It put a smile on my face for the last bit to the top.  So good.

At the top
Although we had GPS to guide us up to the top another way we knew we were "on course" was the trail of cigarette butts.  A couple guys smoking wearing flip flops and socks passed me at one point which really confirmed how out of shape I am.  I guess that should not surprise me considering all the registered runners I have seen smoking it up before the L.A. Marathon.  It's just crazy.  Climbing up to 11,000 feet or so while smoking is truly complete fitness.
Running down in the sand and ash

Coming down was were things got a little hairy.  Near the bottom I had almost no control of my legs, but what I did have was encouragement from the locals "You can do it Mr!"  I made it back home safely, but not before pulling over in the car to throw up a bit about a mile from our house.

Thanks for everyone's prayers.  On a family note we are currently very thankful for good overall health between the three of us.  Gracie is slowly getting on a schedule which is awesome for mom and dad!


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