My discovery of Ethiopia

Erta Ale Caldera


I just came back from a 3 weeks trip to Ethiopia…which was altogether fabulous. I want to share this one special image and moment with you…

Erta Ale is the only open alive crater on the planet, located in the Afar territories, near the Eritrean border. My husband and I hiked 3 and a half hours in the night, armed guards ahead of us, camel behind us, in 110 degrees temperature, sand flying around us. We could see the glow in the night and a lightning storm illuminated the Eastern skies. We walked silently, stopping to drink much water every 20 minutes.

Then we got there.

Nothing prepared me for this. It took my breath away. The sheer intensity of that moment made me weep. I stared inside the Earth Herself. I watched the magma boil and rumble. I heard the sound of it. I felt the heat of it.

I could have spent hours there. Time faded. It was archaic, mighty, raw, pure power. Even trying to put words on this now feels a bit lame. But when I was there, I found myself wishing for all beings to witness this tremendous force.
Knowing that the crust of our planet floats on top of this moving hot blood became mind boggling, and viscerally understanding that this kind of heat lives underneath us felt deeply reassuring, somehow.

I will go back.

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