Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hottest inhabited place on Earth

Happy to share a few pictures of the hottest inhabited place on Earth, up in Ethiopia.  Beautiful in lots of different way!

"The Danakil Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle or Afar Depression in Ethiopia, a geological depression that has resulted from the presence of three tectonic plates in the Horn of Africa." -Wikipedia 

While we were there, the temperature routinely went above 45 Celsius / 110 Fahrenheit.  But so beautiful!

Lots of guys harvesting salt from the salt lakes; tough labor for very low pay (13 cents per block, then it's carried by camels for 60 km and sold for $2.25!)

I loved taking photos of the people there (and more great pictures!)

More salt and camel pictures:

Sunrise was beautiful, but the suns rays were so harsh even at 6am!

A bit toasty.

Then we went over to some hot springs nearby (no bathing, serious stuff!)

Had to bring some guards because there's been some issues with tourists and Eritreans, apparently (a while ago). 

Finally, we hiked up a live volcano: Erta Ale -- this means I've been to two of the only six active lava lake volcanoes in the world!  This one appeared briefly in "Clash of the Titans"

"Not much is known about Erta Ale and the surrounding terrain is some of the most inhospitable on Earth making travel difficult and dangerous." - Wikipedia

See the red smoke in the distance?

Hiking after sundown to get to the rim:

The good stuff!

I loved hiking down the next day, to see the frozen lava folds:

Big risk of falling through this stuff all over the place -- plenty of people on our trek with bloody shins including me, from falls of roughly 5 inches up to 1 foot.  SUPER sharp rocks.  Not very safe.

And I loved looking at some of the iridescent lava rocks up close!

And even upper-closer!  :)

And some awesome windmills to take all the wind generated from the sun's hot rays!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Climbing Mt. Kenya

Recently I climbed the hiking route (non-technical ascent) of Lenana Peak, the third-tallest peak (still respectable 16,354 ft / 4,985 m) of Mt. Kenya. We used the Sirimon route, both up, and down.

We left Nairobi on a matatu (public minivan) on Friday afternoon, slept in Nanyuki town.

Woke up Saturday morning, started hiking, slept at Old Moses Hut Saturday night.
Hiked up Sunday to spend the night at Shipton's Camp.
Woke at 3am, climbed up to the summit by sunrise, and then all the way back down to Nairobi by Sunday night!

End of hike pic:

Snow melt and ice; great for hot feet on a hike!

A couple of guides & brothers, with the peak in the background

It's been a bit dry lately...

Shipton's camp in the backgroud; doing an afternoon hike to help acclimatize.

Cute mice & horax here and there.

Peak had some weather coming & going

Hiking under moon + starlight!

Getting near the top at first light!

Orange lichen, I guess?

So cool looking!

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?
What kind of bird is this?
Check out some other crazy birds here!

Beautiful symmetry of succulents!

High-altitude chameleon!

Not sure what these are!  Birds of some sort

Full moon setting just as the sun rose!

Random little brown birdie I got close to.

Chipmunk! Don't see many in Africa!