Visit to Mordor

Going through Gigabytes of old photos can be a real pain, but when I have to do it, one nice thing is that I often get to re-live some amazing experiences, like reminiscing about a visit I paid to Mordor a couple of years ago. No, not literally as in The Lord of the Rings...but pretty darn close.

This was the view when a few of us pulled up to a beach near the active volcano at what's left of Rabaul in Papua New Guinea:

Waterfront property near the Rabaul volcano. What a view!

Frodo had Samwise and Gollum to keep him company; I had a couple of guys who appeared like magic out of the mudscape (Capt. Craig was with me too, but he's never really much help).

The dudes didn't smile much (you probably wouldn't either if a volcano was still going off in your backyard after 14 years), but they were really nice, and offered to show us the way to the top.

Not to worry. Everyone in the neighborhood carries machetes.

It was a bit of a trek in the hot, dusty climate, walking up desiccated river beds, clambering through clumps of charred bush, and negotiating the occasional heap of ash.

Along the way, I looked over my shoulder a lot, pondering why I can never seem to remember that it's "Think before you act" and not "Act before you think".

In the end, nothing bad happened, though I did slip once and fall on my rear end with a pronounced "thump!", prompting a round of smirks all around.

Whatever misgivings I may have had, the long march was worth doing. Near the top of the island, this is what we saw...a scene that's about as close to Mordor as I could have possibly imagined:

Real life Mordor