The Blue Fire at Mount Ijen
It was 2am when we arrived at Paltuding, the main gate of Ijen Crater Tourism Park, located about 30 KM from Banyuwangi. There were so many tourists came, which dominated by foreigner.
In the area of the checking admission, you can see a lot of wagon park there. They called it 'Ojek Ijen'. These wagon made by steel with two wheel, and there is a pillow to sit in it. They are ready to take the people who do not bother walking to the top. Usually, one person pushes the cart from behind, then two or three people will pull it from the front wearing ropes. The return price is between 600 thousand to one million rupiah.
The climb to the summit is pretty tiring. Cold air, gradually become hot because of the road continues to climb. The route was ok and smooth. Also, there is a canteen in the middle of the trek, so you can have a break to rest, eat some snacks, or going to the restroom.
After an hour walking, the trek became easier and flat. I could hear the roar of smoke from the crater. Arriving at the summit, I immediately went down to the crater area where there is the famous blue fire located, considering there are only 2 places that have this phenomenon, in Mount Ijen and Iceland. The blue flame is already visible from afar and is very interesting to see.
In the crater area, i approached to where the miners worked. Suddenly the wind blew carrying sulfuric smoke towards me. Despite wearing a mask, i still could smell the sulfur so strong, and i couldn't open my eyes because of the smoke. And in just a second, i felt dizzy. I see the miners are not too disturbed, and immediately continue their work after the smoke has disappeared. They collect the sulfur in bamboo baskets, and carry it to the summit then take it down to the Bunder Post for weighing. They can carry 60-80 kilos in the bamboo baskets and in a day they can go back and forth as much as two times. This sulfur price is priced 900-1000 rupiah per kilo. It's a sacrificial job to get the results that are not worth their health and safety.
Once i had enough enjoying the blue fire, i returned to the summit. The view above the appearance of the sun, is very beautiful. The crater looks green tourquoise, with a grayish cliff color and brownish soil. The sun rises from behind the hill, making the orange tinge more visible. The scenery I saw that morning was enough to spoil my eyes. All the tiredness in such a short time climbing Mount Ijen, paid off. It's getting late and i decided to walk down to Paltuding and waiting for the friends there.