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brenno
2011-05-04 20:22:56
"" from brenno Expand pics
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Mount Etna - March 2001
Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at 3345 metres and differs from the likes of Vesuvius and Stromboli having multiple craters. Etna is always smoking and has periodic major eruptions, the last big one was in 2003 when a major lava flow destroyed the cable car from the main access point at the south of the mountain at 1910 metres, Rifugio Sapienza. To go anywhere on the mountain beyond the top of the cable car at 2500 metres you must go with a guide. and from here it's a 4X4 trip to the highest point accessible to guided hikers 2920 metres. Getting higher on the mountain and particularly to the Cratere Centrale at 3345 metres depends on the prevailing volcanic conditions and sadly this time we couldn't go any higher. From 2920 metres you contour around the mountain to the latest lava flow (2005) and from there weave your way down the mountain past fumaroles, various lava flows and eventually back down to the bottom of the cable car. One note of warning, underfoot conditions on the lava flows are very rough and jagged and my boots got a fair shredding. Having done a couple of years geology back in the year dot, this was fascinating and not demanding hike (all downhill) but you need to watch your feet on the lava fields - if you trip and land on your hands you'll shred them! Add in the wonderful food and wine in Sicily and the Aeolian islands and it was a fabulous week of hiking, eating and drinking. For info made my own way to Catania with Aer Lingus and then linked with a trip by Exodus
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