07/11/2012 - 07/11/2012
4:30 AM wakeup at the Ecolodge to start our trek to Kelimutu crater. We arrived at dark and started walking without a guide, but with another group and guides around us. We had flashlights for the way and it was about 30 min to the 250 steps up to the crater. There were some hikers already at the viewpoint when we arrived just as the trail became visible.
Kelimutu is sacred to local indigenous people, with the souls of the dead going to one of the 3 lakes based on their longevity and virtue. The craters are full of sulphurous liquid and change color based on what cocktail of earth gases happens to be spewing from their volcanic source. The middle and Eastern lakes are brilliant turquoise right now and the western lake is purportedly black, although obscured by a layer of fog that had not burned off by the time we left.
Just as we tired of taking pictures and wondering at the views, the monkeys came streaming down a ridge and sunned themselves on rocks nearby and the on railings. They were terminally cute and provided everyone with another round of photo opportunities.
One guy sat down and started to open a bag of snacks and was surrounded by chattering monkeys circling for the kill immediately. Guides intervened and shooed them away, meanwhile telling the guy to stash his food before he lost a limb. The quote of the day was from a guy with dreads who, gazing down at the middle lake hundreds of meters of sheer dropoff below, observed that there was “some scum floating on the lake. They ought to get down there and clean that up.”