I had no idea what to expect when a friend told me to make sure I fit in a side trip to Mount Stromboli in the Aolean Islands during my trip to Italy. I was told you could hike to the top of the volcano and see its churning lava and witness an eruption that would spew lava into the air every 20 minutes or so.
So, after assuring myself that this could be done safely, I hired a guide to take my family and I to the top of Stromboli. The boat ride out was long – about 7 hours – but if i got to see a real live active volcan it would be worth it. The plan was to begin hiking from the base at 5pm so that we could reach the summit at sunset (about 9). The hike up was nice – varied terrain and pretty steep but easy going. As we got closer to the top, we could hear very regular explosions. Our guide said we should get a good show as Stromboli had been really active during the last two weeks.
Well, what a show we got. As we approached the summit, we saw bits of very fresh black lava that our guide said was less than 24 hours old. This seemed a little crazy. We donned hard hats and and we’re told to stay alert for flying debrie. As we crested the summit, the view was amazing. We looked down 100 meters into three openings that were the mouths of the volcano. You could see red lava bubbling and churning in one of the three craters. And sure enough, five minutes after summitting, there was a huge explosion and lava flew from the middle crater. It flew a good 25 meters into the air and the whole area around the crater became molten red. I’ve never seen anything like it. We stayed on the summit for about 45 minutes and saw 6 or 7 more eruptions. My wife, kids and I were totally exhilarated. This is a once in a lifetime experience
One item crossed off the yet to be written bucket list.