Waking up in Camp Jackass, proceeding down the mountain. Every time I turned to look behind me I couldn't believe we'd just come down off THAT. We had lunch, and later decided to overnight at the Rifugio. It was practically civilized!
Not a morning person, clearly. My piercing seems to have acquired a bit of ash. What's up with that?
I woke up about 0545 and saw this drifting in. Salvu had told me about a group of Maltese hikers the previous year who got stranded on Etna due to fog. They had to be rescued. I was a little concerned for this reason. I saw the sun on the floor of the valley, however, indicating that it was merely an individual cloud or two, not an unbroken blanket. Good thing, because I was so tired I curled back up and went to sleep. I'd probably have slept through any rescue attempt anyway.
“Taking a picture of the Worst Camp in the World?” asked Fred. “It's like ‘Jackass!’ ” said Joseph. Henceforth, it shall be known as Camp Jackass! Despite spending one of the least comfortable nights of my life there, I felt really good the next morning. My neck had been tweaked the day before, giving me a godawful headache. After sleeping on rocks and grass tufts all night, however, my neck felt great! We were at about 2400 meters (apx. 7900 feet), so had come down out of altitude sickness range, too, which may have been a factor.
Joseph, with a nice background of lava flows. Good morning, Joseph!
Saviour and Fred taking in the view before leaving Camp J. Hmm. I think I may have held the camera at an angle, lessening the impact of the steep slope. I might need to go rotate it a bit with Gimp (www.gimp.org).
Ahh, sunshine! And Joseph taking pictures in the corner. We each had cameras, so every time one person would stop, the others would, too. This has to be one of the best documented trips to Etna EVER.
Leaving Camp Jackass. You can see the two different colors of lava, the brownish one on the left and the grayer one on the right. Supposedly, the browner it is, the older it is. I think we started out by the 1999 flow up near the summit, but kept drifting left as we made our way down. Not sure which flows these are.
(That's odd. I have 21 pics up. I deleted this one before uploading to make room for a different one. Well, enjoy! :)
Fred ponders our path. Yes, Robot Fred, will you kill the humans now or let them take their chances? It's an amusing game, isn't it? So frail, these beings of mere flesh and bone.
Joseph and, up near the top of the frame, Saviour. The ground is very rough here. Have to watch every step. Unless you are a robot, that is.
I'm totally on a volcano and you're not!
Wow, look at the elevation change! We can't be more than a few minutes from a McDonald's, right?
Can you believe we just came down through all of that? I can't.
A TREE! Other living things must be right around the corner!
Still amazed that we climbed down that. :)
Oh, rifugio, how I love thee! Pasta and freshly sautéed garlic – heaven! Thank you, Salvu!
A cyclist stops in for a rest and our excellent company.
Salvu taking a picture of the spider we found on my pants. It appears to be a Thomisus onustus, a variety of crab spider. It's quite stylish!
Saviour, showing me a picture he took of the smoky interior of the rifugio after our less than successful attempt to build a fire. That is to say, we got the fire going, but the smoke was not cooperating. For some reason, a pipe was built into the base of the fireplace that faces directly into the prevailing wind. It blows all of the smoke into the room, giving it no chance to go upwards. Here's a video clip of the hilarity:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bqjJnwrhWk [youtube.com] __________________________________________________________