THE ERUPTION OF VOLCANO TUNGURAHUA IN BANOS, ECUADOR
Huge clouds in the evening sky – the eruption of Volcano Tungurahua
‘Baños is great, you need to go there!’ Everybody was telling us the same, when we, and BoB stayed in Quito for a few weeks. So we decided to visit this little cute town in the middle of Ecuador and tried to find out whats so special about it. Our visa will expire in a few days, and of course we wanted to see more than just Quito and the Galapagos Islands. From Quito we had a 3 hours bus ride on surprisingly good roads. It was a sunny day with clear sky and we could see the Tungurahua volcano just before we arrived at our final destination.
Baños is located in a valley and surrounded by more or less high mountains (around 2,000 meters high) and of course a few volcanos, even if you can’t see the top from the city.
When we arrived in Baños we realized that it is quite touristy but for a good reason. The landscape around Baños is really inspiring. After the first two relaxing days we deceided to hike up the ‘Volcano Tungurahua’.
To be honest the hike was quite tough. We needed almost 3 hours to get at least close to the volcano. By the way, it is not allowed to hike all the way up to the crater, also not with a guide, as the volcano is too active and it would be too dangerous.
Unfortunately it was too cloudy that day so that we could not see the top of Volcano Tungurahua (5,023 metres) but from time to time the sky was generous and we could spot this beautiful volcano in its full gorgeousness.
At the end of our trail we reached the popular ‘tree house’ in an altitude of almost 2,700 metres. Of course we had to try out the swing above the abyss. It was a lot of fun and a bit like flying The safety leash gives you a secure feeling though.
BoB also tried the swing but he almost plunged out, as the safety leash was not made for golf balls.
Liane was taking some pictures of the impressive surroundings as we suddenly heard a sound coming from the direction of the volcano. It sounded dull and a little bit like thunder. Automatically our views went to the volcano and there we saw a grey cloud pushing its way through the sky.
Our first thought was: ‘Maybe this is not the best place on earth right now.’ We have never been so close to an erupting volcano before. It was just a small cloud but we were a bit scared already.
At that time we didn’t know that this eruption was absolutely nothing in comparison to what should happen later that evening.
As every evening around 6pm we prepared our dinner in our hostel kitchen. It was quite like almost every evening and we were the only ones that day using the kitchen. Everybody else was on the roof-top terrace to play some pool (they have a table up there). Suddenly another German guest came down to the kitchen and shouted: ‘Wow, the volcano, come on up!‘ We thought it might be just an ash cloud again, a small one like we have seen before. But we were too curious and did not want to miss out anything. So we found our way up to the terrace. When BoB and we reached the terrace we couldn’t believe our eyes. A huge grey, white, and black ash cloud climbed up the sky and shafts of sunlight were reflected.
The warm colors of the sunset made this spectacle to a special and unreal moment. The atmosphere was just amazing. We were scared but also fascinated and needed some time until BoB and Lars realized that they should take a picture.
Luckily Liane was faster and took some great shots. After a few minutes Lars took the GoPro and filmed the end of the eruption.
WOW - We watched the impressive eruption until the sun disappeared behind the horizon and with it the ash cloud disappeared in the darkness of the night. It was totally quiet. We all just started to realize what we have just seen. What a day!
Thanks for reading and safe travels!
BoB, Liane, and Lars