Gamalama Amazama!

Hiking to the top of a smouldering live volcano doesn’t happen every day so I was thrilled to get to try it on this wild trip to Indonesia. This was on the second-to-last day of our trip. We had just gotten back from Halmahera’s three nights, having gone across that island the day before. Then the boat and the funny commandeered mini-taxi in the evening to our refuge at Marasai. There was that whole situation with when exactly they could host people and all that. But Hasrum was good and welcoming us that night – actually in two different rooms for the same price. I think it was $35/night per person. Great value! And a great dinner with their amazing chef team.

Definitely would like to visit again. What a great base.

We were happy to have this day of hiking. And we weren’t feeling too zombied by the Halmahera escapades. Then the last day would be more scooters and beach time – maybe snorkeling. Then the flight out and a stop in Japan. Well…stay tuned for those posts.

One more adventure!

Here is a link to about 90 pics, but here are a few for your to scroll through right in the blog. Enjoy!

So we got up at dawn and caught a taxi, arranged by Hasrun, and headed to the trail.

Along the southern lap of the ring-road, there is this vista of the peak, to the north, as we headed counter-clockwise east toward the center.

It was shaping up to be a great day!

There it was: the grass above the forest on the peak.

Totally lush:

This is the clove tree orchard on the slope going up: very cool to walk through this – so intense historically with the spice trade and the beginning of the european model of globalization and commodity exploitation…quite peaceful right here among the trees, though…

Crazy trails – here’s Chris with one of our guides. I think his name was Mohammed.


It was cool – a really fun trek. The trail was just not improved and had no effort to reduce erosion or manage traffic. Someday the guides would actually be organized into some effect…I hope!

Meanwhile, I was just cool tourist who was full of himself!

Then we found things like this moth that blew us away…

And we were humbled by the raw force of nature.


And suddenly we came out to the top! What an amazing feeling. We were in a primeval forest. It transitioned to these reedy tall grasses, and then, we were in even a more primitive era of evolution and geology. It was like going to the Cambrian era! A dinosaur was going to pop up at any minute!

Whew. Amazing. Looking east at Halmahera where we’d recently (like yesterday!) had our amazing trek…

We followed a bit of a path, but as the grass became shorter in the ascent, the trail was less and less clear, confused with little streambeds. The guides were useless. but we could sort of understand the gestalt of the peak. I have good hiking instincts.

Chris was pretty psyched to be up on the top of this volcano!

The mist lifted. The peak was right in front of us!

Now we were on a moonscape. Definitely pre-Cambrian. Very ancient feeling, though this is literally one of the youngest parts of the earth!

Heckuva view – I think that is the mountain island Hiri to the north of Ternate right there.

But notice the vent! This thing was HOWLING – like groaning from the center of the Earth. Like the voice of Sauron coming up from his subterranean domain…

And stinky – good old sulphur.

Amazing place to feel connected to the fundamentals of the planet, geoscience and time.

I’d love to come back and show this to you, dear reader!



Chris was impressed. Just not as wild about the intense smell, the precariousness of our position and our water supply…

But still a great view!!

Even underfoot, amazing stories of mineral “life…”

I was just pretty happy!

And we had a great lunch. Thank you Vila Marasai packed lunch of hard-boiled eggs, cheese and bread.


That, is a live volcano. Yeah. “Cafe Vulcan!”

Ha ha!

And this picture is an optical illusion – I am about a tenth of the way to the gorge where the elevation changes direction. The moonscape makes it hard to reckon. That little pile of gravel was ENORMOUS! If I were all the way in, I’d be about the size of one of those white dots in the fold – those were some erratic boulders…

A wild place!

But we had had enough and it was time to head back…Thank you Gamalama!

We are glad you did not erupt while we were on you, and that you showed us so much of the power and glory of Earth.

See you again, sometime!

So now we descend back into the amazing forest. Near the top – more tree ferns, then later the broad leave deciduous…

Beauty surrounding us:

What a jungle!

On the way down the mountain, I got separated from the rest of the crew. I had an interesting little mini-adventure. But here we go. At least I had a nice view through the trees – looking south at Tidore peak. Another mountain, another trip:


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