Laboring away at Ijen Crater Lake

“Miners at Ijen Crater Lake weigh their sulfur. The turquoise-colored lake in Southeast Java is still the home to an active sulfur mine. Although the baskets look deceptively light, the miners usually balance a stunning 170 to 200 pounds on their shoulders. The miners make the intense hike twice a day, making only $5.00 to $8.00…

Facing harsh environmental realities in East Kalimantan

Before I lived in East Kalimantan, I worked at High Trails, an outdoor science school in the mountains of southern California.  Each week, buses of 5th and 6th grade students drove up into the San Bernardino National Forest for a week of learning about science as it actually happens around them. To this day, I…

Beware of sulfur when hiking Kawah Ijen

Kawah Ijen, or Ijen Crater Lake, is located in the southeast corner of Java. The trail is notoriously steep and the elevation quite high, meaning most hikers pause often to catch their breath. (At least we did!) The scenery leading to the sulfuric lake was jaw-dropping and surreal — all the exertion was well worth it. Due…