I went with a tour bus put on by my au pair managing company and so was accompanied by six other au pairs. They were all extremely lovely young women who maybe didn't don't know what they were getting themselves into when they signed up for this trip - but hey neither did I - the main difference being I am from Colorado where people are super active and hikes/treks are taken seriously. But on with the adventure.
|South Crater to Red Crater|
Up until the Red Crater the landscape was mostly volcanic rock (red and black).Then at the end of the Red Crater I was able to look over the edge to the Emerald Lakes. At this point of the trek is where I really started to not have so much fun since the descent from Red Crater to the lakes is on traversed by walking (kinda) on scoria which is on top of scree - aka loose round volcanic rocks moving on top of all the gravely, dusty, moving, broken scroia parts.
|Blue Lake and Emerald Lakes (r side)|
|Scoria and Scree|
|Red Crater to Blue Lake|
|Vista from top of Blue Lake|
|It looks different the next day|
P.S. If you can't tell by the pictures - yes I was hiking "Mt. Doom" from Lord of the Rings - unfortunately I didn't think I had time to summit it (ha).