The trail to the summit
The first part of the trail is going through forest. It is not steep at all, nevertheless the untrained person already feels the relatively high altitude (>2000m). On all break points the rangers have installed benches. Since it is quiet warm in the lower parts of the trail I think it is important to drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration.
For most of my fellows it became difficult when we reached break point number three. Here the steep part starts (and it does not end until the base camp on top). Also the vegetation changed from forest to green bushes and a kind of grass mixed with volcano stones.
At break point four most of my fellows looked exhausted. It took us from there another 1.5 hours time to find the way up to the basecamp. Especially the last 200m altitude change to the top are relatively steep. It is easy to slip away when it is raining. Having good hiking boots can definitely prevent this.
Reaching the summit ridge was amazing. By looking to the crater you could already feel the impressive heat coming from the bottom of the lava lake.
At sundown the fire in lake started to became clearly visible. Amazing and stunning!! After a couple of minutes it felt like meditation by looking into the fire. Fortunately on top of the mountain - very close to the ridge - the park administration built huts for the visitors.
To my own surprise they were really cosy and nice inside. There was enough space to accommodate two people including luggage etc. I had my own sleeping bag with me and felt immediate comfortable. In between our chef prepared a delicious dinner. He served a warm soup (I believe it was pumpkin soup) and as main dish freshly grilled beef. Exactly what was needed at after this trip.
The wake up ceremony was like expected - loud knocks on my door ... It was cold, wet but I slept to my own surprise extremely well on 3500 meters altitude. After 5 minutes in the sleeping bag I decided to get up. The morning light was incredible.
Peter the chef was already in the middle of the preparation of breakfast. It was a robust and delicious meal - mmmhhhh. Before we packed our Rucksacks we took the final chance to look into the crater. Again, it was amazing and stunning. Unbelievable that such a thing exist on earth and that I have had the opportunity to visit such a place.
The way back to the trailhead was the same as walking up the mountain. Our chief estimated a walk time of around 3 hours for 8 kilometers. Unfortunately on the way back one fellow team member stumbled over his feet. The result was fatal - he injured his middle finger on the right hand with a open fracture. After a few seconds of shock we realized that I was the only one in the team with a) a proper first aid kit and b) enough knowledge to give him first aid. The entire medication took us around 30 minutes and Davina was assisting me to provide the help.