I just returned from a trip to New Zealand and Hawaii that seemed to focus on volcanoes and geo-thermal activity. Searching out the volcanoes late one afternoon we took a lift three quarters of the way up Mt. Raupehu. Unfortunately time did not permit us to go to the summit nor did the lack of proper cold weather hiking attire. We also drove around the recently erupting and still steaming Mt. Tongariro and along the way we also saw the beautifully cone shaped Mt. Ngaurahoe. Days later we climbed up to the crater summit of Mt. Rapitoto, the youngest of New Zealand's volcanoes. And for more fun we rode a three wheeled luge cart down sleeping Mt. Ngongotaha.
A local Kiwi laughingly told us there are two types of volcanoes, sleeping or dormant and sleeping in or
On other adventures we have soaked in thermal hot springs at the base of Mt. Arenal while in Costa Rica while watching it spurt lava and had the soles of my shoes melt while hiking up Mt. Pacaya in Guatemala. In Nicaragua I had to cover my face due to the extreme sulfur gases being released by Mt. Masaya. In Ecuador we traveled the Avenue of Volcanoes seeing our highest, at over 16,000 feet, snow covered Mt. Cotopaxi.
While Pacaya was my most memorable volcano, my hardest volcano climb was Mt. Batur on Indonesia's island of Bali. I did a sunrise climb hiking the steep volcano in the dark of night with only a headlamp for lighting. I swore that would be my last climb since I thought I was going to have a heart attack due to the difficulty of the climb.
Despite everything the mystical mountains still have a fascination and hold over me. But while heading up Raupehu I did learn where to go during an eruption....go to the ridges, lava flows through the troughs! Guess that only makes sense, the path of least resistance.