TREKKING AMIDST VOLCANOES
Walking is always my favorite way to really see a new place be it a city or the countryside. The trekking was wonderful on Rapa Nui. One of our treks with Bud, was along the coast with its black rocks, turquoise water, ruined ahus and OVAHE beach at the end. My new pal, Teresa and I summited all three of the major volcanoes (not all that hard, really compared with Kilimanjaro!) on the island, the three that formed the island when their lava masses joined together. The easternmost headland, POIKE, is the oldest of the volcanic eruptions, three nillions years old. The southwest corner of the island, RANO KAU, erupted two and half millions years ago. Youngest of the three, TEREVAKA, erupted around 400,000 years ago. It is the tallest point on the island, 507m (1,664′) and always very windy. On our first climb, along with Monika and Roger, pals from Germany, Teresa and I climbed the fabulous RANO KAU. It has a beautiful interior crater with a special microclimate which supports all sorts of endangered plants. On its southern rim is the very important ceremonial village of ORONGO where the Birdman competition used to take place until 1866. There are restored stone houses and Rapa Nui’s premier petroglyph site. Teresa and I climbed TEREVACA, a long walk, with windswept views of the island. It is the highest point on the island, very windy and the place where one can really see the curvature of the earth. One can also see the entire island from there. Oddly, the crater is actually a bit lower than the summit. To summit our third volcano, POIKE, Teresa and I rode horses supplied by Luis, our guide Maha’s partner. It was lovely to see it from a different perspective. From there, we had a picnic on the small, gem of a beach with its pink sand, Ovahe.