Mount Nyiragongo

There are some of those things that you dream of without really thinking it through. Hiking Mount Nyiragongo, the world’s most active volcano just outside of Goma, DRC, was one of those times.
For months I had been dreaming it, not really ever taking into consideration just how difficult the hike might be. A colleague did it, mind you a buff security guy, who said no worries – the last bit is straight up, but it is doable.

What he didn’t mention was that it would be a six hour hike, each direction, climbing about 6,000 feet in elevation during the trek. Not an easy hike.
Looking out towards the Rwandan hills. This was the heart of where people fled after the genocide.
Don’t worry, he’s with me!Beautiful wild flowers throughout the hike were a nice bonus.
Imagine volcanic rubble, and lava flows (wet and slick), not the easiest place to walk. Then add on that the last hour up, and then down, is death defying. One false step and you are a goner. It happened to one woman last year. This crow came in on our fellow hiker’s breakfast, right next to the cross marking the woman’s death.
Very cold and misty morning.
The lava lake is the largest in the world. Nyiragongo erupted for the first time in 1977 and imploded, blowing the top off. The second time, in 2002, it covered 40% of nearby Goma. The city has been rebuilt over the lava flow.
Really incredible to watch it boil and bubble.
I was making jokes of what countries we could make out in the lava. I swear I could find the Czech Republic in there somewhere.
You could feel the warmth from the lake, and you can’t camp further down, as it is too hot.
It wasn’t easy, but we survived. Doing something like that makes me think that Zanzibar is looking more appealing than Mt. Kilimanjaro next, but I still love the challenge.
Next time I’d like to be better prepared, considering that it rained into our tent all night long. I did the entire hike in Chacos and had to thaw my bare feet over the open fire before going to sleep.

Fun times,

Miel

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