It’s amazing how 15 minutes can change a landscape and though I’d heard about volcanoes erupting before and visited two others the video footage of this one erupting and the devastation driving up to it after 20yrs was well…I guess the only word is awesome….in the sense that I have no words for it. I was shocked at how far the blast had stretched from the summit itself and that after so long so little vegetation had grown back. As Martin had said it looked like the surface of Mars or somewhere equally alien. We had a really clear day and from the observatory we could see the plumes of smoke and steam rising from the bulge in the crater, together with the seismographs showing activity it was like watching a sleeping giant. I used to read to the kids a story called ssshhh! where you creep through the castle trying not to wake him and then have to shut the book quickly to escape. Let’s just say I wouldn’t volunteer to work there!
It was heartening to see chipmonks and even a deer on the sparse ground in the blast zone. There were some very odd cricket like insects too …if anyone knows what they are please tell me. They were brown and looked like bark chippings on the ground but when they took off they flashed yellow and their wings clicked.