Ready? We looked at each other, eyes beaming from our masked faces. We had just summited an active volcano.
Go! Squinting, we ran down the side nearly falling face-first into a pile of ash.
Mt Bromo is one of the many active volcanos scattered over the islands of Indonesia. Situated in The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, it’s one of the most visited tourist attractions on East Java. Surrounded by a vast plain, called the Sea of Sand, it can be reached either on foot or by jeep.
Starting our journey
We woke up before dawn to start our journey to Mt Bromo. We were staying in the nearby mountain village of Cemoro Lawang, where we had arrived the afternoon before. We were three girls from three different countries who became friends whilst working together abroad.
An old jeep took us up to a lookout point on Mt Penanjakan, to watch the sunrise over Mt Bromo. Huddled against the morning cold we waited for dawn to break. In what was one of the most spectacular sunrises I’ve ever seen, the sky changed from yellow to pink, silhouetting a thick cloud of purple smoke emitted from Mt Bromo. This was only but the first stop of a two week trip to the islands of Indonesia.
Crossing the Sea of Sand
Before heading over to Mt Bromo, we bought face masks from some vendors to protect our lungs from all the dust. We almost got stranded halfway through the vast open plane of grey ash, called the Sea of Sand, as the little jeep struggled to stay alive. Stopping in the midst of the moonscape, we could clearly see (and smell) the volcano in the distance.
The Sea of Sand is the caldera of a larger, ancient volcano with steep crater walls. Mt Bromo is one of five volcanos that form the Tengger massif, situated inside this caldera. Mt Bromo still erupts every few years spitting up columns of ash into the air.
Arriving at the Tengger Massif
Resurrected, our jeep rattled forth and we made it to the base of the massif. By this time a large flock of tourists had arrived. Some by jeep, some by foot and some by horse.
A steep staircase ascended into the smoke above and with that, we made our way to the top. Relieved that we bought the masks, we summited the ashy slopes of Mt Bromo, nearly suffocating from the sulphuric smoke.
There we were… On top of an active volcano, walking around its brim and trying not to breathe. To the one side, a deep abyss from which the smoke escaped. On the other side, the eerie moonscape of The Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park. We sure were a long way from home.
Getting down and an dirty
More people kept arriving and the staircase was getting crowed. That’s when my friends suggested we run down the side. As one descends a giant sand dune, half running, half sliding, we reached the base in no time.
Grey with ash we got back to our little jeep who had been waiting patiently for us. Alive and well, it was ready to take us deep into the jungles on our next adventure.
Stick around for more adventures on the islands of Indonesia!
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