Moon-walking on Reunion, a trip to the Piton de la Fournaise.
By Jean-Jacques Segalen (jjacques) September 7, 2012
We do need to get certain gear as a volcano is not a comfortable place like a botanical garden or forest trails where I usually take you on tours. Good walking shoes with strong soles are a must; the ground varies between old smooth lava and very sharp and aggressive new flows just a few years old which would soon eat away your fashionable city moccasins. You will also need protection against cold and rain as we may very well get within clouds while walking and the altitude means it can be pretty cold. But sun is also here and if we are lucky and get bright sky you can easily come back with sunburns as well as frozen toes, so make sure you bring sunscreen and thick socks! The walk I am taking you on is a five-hour one so do not forget water and energy food such as dried bananas, chocolate, nuts, the choice is yours. And of course take your camera as the scenery is worth it, especially if you have never visited the moon or Mars--which may seem similar to the landscapes we are visiting today!
| A view on the Piton des Neiges || Another view|
| Hypericum lanceolatum|| Philippia montana and Stoebe passerinoides|
| A view on riviére des remparts |
| Plaine des sables || Typical vegetation by the road |
| The Formica Leo crater|| Pahoe-hoe lava |
| A view from the top! || Where could this be going to? |
| The crater itself |
If everyone has now rested and regained strength we will slowly head back to the Pas de Bellecombe. The way back is less strenuous as we go down but still requires careful steps as you can very easily roll on a stone or slip on scoria. We pass again by the Formica Leo and now is the last effort, another 20 minutes of hard walk on the access trail we used on arrival, this is where we can see who is really fit! And at last we get to the car; it's a wonderful feeling to take off the hiking boots and relax sore legs! I can see some of you have reddened during the trip, so let's pass around some soothing lotion and everything will be all right.
Well, this was something, as I said it took five hours for the walk plus a couple hours pauses on the way up and down and lunch at the summit, a good day and a refill of pure mountain air, I will let you rest a little before we get on the next tour.
If you want more data on the volcano and can read some French, check this site.
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