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Sleeping on an Active Volcano: Students Hike Mt. Teide

A team of six SAS students set out to hike an active volcano. Three spent the night at the top, waking up early to hike to the summit for amazing views and incredible memories.

During our time in the Canary Islands, several students got the chance to visit Mt. Teide, an active volcano set 3700 meters above sea level on Tenerife.

Many took in the sights on Semester at Sea jeep tours, but some traveled independently to hike the volcano, sleeping at the top to catch the sun rising over the island.

The day began early as six students ventured out early from Santa Cruz on a hike to a hostel near the summit that would take nearly five and a half hours. By the time they made it to the hostel, tired and hungry, only three decided to stay and spend the night.

The challenging hike was well worth it to see the incredible views from the top of the volcano.

“In a couple of ways, it was trying,” said Nicolas Caruso, a business administration sophomore and presidential scholar from The Ohio State University. “We were really tired when reached the hostel after hiking all day with only a few protein bars.”

Caruso, who is working on a project as a presidential scholar about foreign languages, and how to take a language from the textbook into real life, spoke with the hostel owner in Spanish and before long, the three students—Thomas McNally from Bentley University, Nicholas Barnett from Santa Barbara City College and Caruso—were checked in. The team rested up and rose early at 5:30 a.m. to make it to the summit before sunrise.

“The summit was only half of a kilometer away from the hostel, but it took us an hour and a half,” Caruso said. “For the last few meters, the air became sulfurous and there were sulfur vents everywhere. It was bitterly cold, and we warmed our hands over the vents. We could actually feel the warmth coming from the Earth.”

As the sun began to rise over the clouds surrounding Tenerife, the students sat for 30 minutes on the top of the volcano, reveling in the sights and in their accomplishment.

“It was rough, but incredibly worth it,” Caruso said. “All of the experiences I’ve had on the ship have been so different, it’s impossible to compare them—but this was definitely a memorable experience.”

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