Mount Ijen Sulphur Crater
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Hiking Mount Ijen and the sulphur lake
The sight of the vibrant, turquoise hidden lake in the middle of the crater was well worth the twice arduous climb for an inexperienced climber. Mount Ijen or Kawah (crater) Ijen is an active volcano that contains the world's most acidic lake. Sulphur workers earn about USD5 a day mining and hauling loads of sulphur blocks which can weigh from 60 - 120kg up and down the mountain! You start off on a simple dirt track with a path that clearly shows your way. Temperatures are nice and cool when you start off in the morning although the steep slopes will soon have you shrugging off your jacket. The view gets more amazing when you're above the clouds. Take a rest at the workers' weighing station where there's even a store selling snacks and drinks for the benefit of tourists. Saw many tourists, from families with young kids to older people too! The steepest part of the climb is still to come after the rest stop. Emerge into sunshine above the clouds (sunscreen!) and gaze into the blue winking back at you. For a fee, a worker can lead you down to the lake. There is no proper path down and you have to take pretty big steps at some parts. As you get closer, the sulphur fumes are really thick, so have a mask /scarf ready. Don't try to go into the lake as it's about 40°C and acidic! For safety, get a guide and wear at least proper track shoes, although we saw locals climbing in slippers! Truly an experience whether for the amateur or seasoned hiker.
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