Hike to the Peak
At the junction, I turned left and started to follow the path uphill towards the 'peak' (or rather the highest point of the rim). It was a very easy climb and a very easy one to follow, since it was remarkably well-trodden. The path wound its way around the caldera rim to the opposite side, and looking across over the lake, one could see the vents churning out smoke.
I passed by blackened, skeletal trees and watched the gas emissions shift and ripple on the surface of the lake below. These emissions would often meet and merge into little whirlpools that would swirl and dance for a while before dissipating soon after. The patterns that these emissions made were far more obvious from this height, and reminded me of the whisps of steam that are created when water vaporises as it reaches its boiling point.
I sat at the summit for a while basking in the warmth of the sun on my back and soaked in the glorious views as volcano swiftlets (Aerodramus vulcanorum) circled and flitted around above my head. These swiftlets are endemic to a few sites in Java and are known to only have active volcanoes as breeding sites! The views were spectacular here and I found myself drifting off in thought and losing track of time. I snapped out of it after a while as clouds had rolled in and had left me in the middle of a whiteout, so I decided to just head back down the volcano and head straight back to Banyuwangi.