Dan Schaumann

Official site of avid traveller and singer/songwriter, Dan Schaumann. Debut album "A Thousand Days Beneath The Sun" out now on CD and iTunes.

Posts Tagged ‘volcano’

Scone and the Burning Mountain

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June 30th, 2013 Posted 8:05 pm

Eating scones in Scone

About 270km from of Sydney and just north of Muswellbrook on the New England Highway lies the township of Scone, famous for being the Horse Capital of Australia. I first became acquainted with Scone in 2010 during a drive from Brisbane to Sydney, but I was in a hurry to get home and didn’t have the time to stop for a look. However I’ve always found something strangely appealing about a location that has the same name as the delicious Scottish cake, and ever since then I’ve wanted to return to sample the town’s baked namesake for myself.

02 Scones at the Crowded House Cafe

The Burning Mountain

20km north of Scone, near the small village of Wingen, lies a landmark with the interesting name of Burning Mountain. I can’t remember where or when I first heard of said blazing bluff, but for quite some time I’ve been aware of a bushwalk that leads to its peak where you can experience the surface effects of a coal seam that’s been smouldering 30m underground for some 6,000 years.

I have quite the interest in extreme terrain, especially after experiencing my first up close & personal taste of a volcano late last year when I visited Mount Aso in Japan. Seeing as Burning Mountain exhibited volcanic properties and it was literally at my doorstep, I couldn’t go past a sojourn to its summit whilst in the area.

07 Burning Mountain

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Mt Aso

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December 9th, 2012 Posted 4:42 pm

In the early afternoon of November 1st 2012, at an altitude of 1,258m, I stood by the crater of an active volcano, watching the sulphuric steam rise from its core with everlasting fury. The landscape was dry and barren, barely a living organism to be seen aside from the few tourists who gathered around two of the four viewing zones that were currently open. A deep turquoise lake made up the acidic centre of the crater, adding some vibrance to the otherwise monochrome panorama. The fragrance in the air was reminiscent of rotten eggs; every now and then a strong gust of wind would waft the noxious gases a little too close for comfort. A few times I had to mask my mouth with my shirt in order to filter out the pungent vapour and get a breath in. It’s completely understandable how they don’t recommend people suffering from asthma or bronchitis to visit the crater.

I spent around 45 minutes exploring zones C and D, taking in as much of this eerie atmosphere as I possibly could. I stepped inside the concrete emergency shelters dotted around the complex, wondering if they really would offer any form of safety should an eruption occur. I made friends with some locals who struck a convincing pose against the bubbling lake in the background. I pondered the mountaintop shrine, presumably installed as spiritual protection from impending disaster. I laughed at the No Smoking sign that was ignored by the crater with all manner of blatancy. And I pinched myself at the realisation that a lifelong dream had been fulfilled.

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