Eco-friendly excursions on Mt. Etna
guided by a Geologist and Naturalistic Guide
Visit my website www.etnatao.com
Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in continental Europe, one of the world’s most active volcanoes and a magic and primordial place. >>
It rises to a height of over 3300 m. (11.000 feet) above the sea level, its north-south diameter is of 50 km (30 miles), it has four big central craters at its top and more than 200 small craters scattered all around the volcanic area. >>
In this part of Sicily the volcanism started about half million years ago and it evolved from a mostly submarine activity to the growth of many different sub-aerial volcanoes superimposed one on another. >>
The result of this long and complicated evolution is the majestic volcano that we see today, which continues to grow, to evolve and to modify restlessly the landscape. >>
Visiting Mt. Etna we can often see side by side two different faces of nature: the moony landscape of recent lava flows and, in a surrealistic contrast, extended green areas where the vegetation, after several centuries of struggle, has re-conquered and colonized old lava fields. >>
The peculiarities of this unique environment stretch from volcanology to tectonics, from geology to botany, from geophysics to ornithology, interlacing with countless myths and thousands of years of recorded human history. >>
I am a geologist and a naturalistic guide and the excursions I propose tend to emphasize all the facets of Mt. Etna in order to discover “the essence” and the energy of this charming volcano. >>
In my vision walking is an integral part of the experience of approaching nature and Mt. Etna is a paradise for trekking because of the presence of many trails, from pleasant easy walks to extended hikes. >>
One of the most interesting areas, the one where I often lead my groups, is around the altitude where the wood passes to the “Astragaletum” (high altitude vegetation area) and then to the volcanic desert. >>
During an average excursion you will be able to see craters and lava fields of different ages, volcanic bombs, fractures, lava caves, volcano-tectonic valleys (calderas), endemic plants and trees (species that grow exclusively in this area), and some of the animals, birds and insects that have adapted to survive in this rough habitat. >>
This eco-friendly project is an alternative to the many other touristy excursions with a jeep, it is a true naturalistic excursion with zero impact on the environment, suited for people who feel that a well-balanced approach to nature can be a vehicle of personal growth and a way of harmony.
– Quotes –
Henry David Thoreau Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.
Mary Ann Brussat Soon the child’s clear eye is clouded over by ideas and opinions, preconceptions, and abstractions. Simple free being becomes encrusted with the burdensome armor of the ego. Not until years later does an instinct come that a vital sense of mystery has been withdrawn. Then sun glints through the pines and the heart is pierced in a moment of beauty and strange pain, like a memory of paradise. After that day, we become seekers.
Peter Matthiessen In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
John Muir When there is no place that you have decided to call your own, then no matter where you go, you are always heading home.
Muso Soseki The Wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit.
Joseph Wood Krutch As you walk, you simply walk. Don’t go ahead, don’t jump here and there. Mind always go ahead or lag behind. Remain with the moment.
Osho You need special shoes for hiking – and a bit of a special soul as well.
Emme Woodhull Bäche And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
T.S. Eliot When you are going to hike – pack a light heart.
Dan May It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
Edmund Hillary It is in man’s heart that the life of nature’s spectacle exists; to see it, one must feel it.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are. Anais Nin Think what a great world revolution will take place when there are millions of guys all over the world with rucksacks on their backs tramping around the back country.
Jack Kerouac Yin and Yang are not in competition or conflict to each other, but are complements of each other. Balance is not a state but a process. The Tao is a process, a dynamic condition of balance.
Ray Grigg When one walks, one is brought into touch first of all with the essential relations between one’s physical powers and the character of the country; one is compelled to see it as its natives do. Then every man one meets is an individual.
Aleister Crowley Wilderness is the raw material out of which man has hammered the artifact called civilization.
Aldo Leopold The universe is not required to be in perfect harmony with human ambition.
Carl Sagan Wherever you are is the entry point.
Kabir Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connected.
Chief Seattle For me and for thousands with similar inclinations, the most important passion of life is the overpowering desire to escape periodically from the clutches of a mechanistic civilization. To us the enjoyment of solitude, complete independence, and the beauty of undefiled panoramas is absolutely essential to happiness.
Bob Marshall Gradually, physicists began to realise that nature, at the atomic level, does not appear as a mechanical universe composed of fundamental building blocks, but rather as a network of relations, and that, ultimately, there are no parts at all in this interconnected web. Whatever we call a part is merely a pattern that has some stability and therefore captures our attention.
Fritjof Capra The longest journey begins with a single step.
Lao Tzu All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. However, a path without a heart is never enjoyable. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy—it does not make a warrior work at liking it; it makes for a joyful journey; as long as a man follows it, he is one with it.
Carlos Castaneda The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success.
Paramahansa Yogananda To be without some of the things you want is an indispensable part of happiness.
Bertrand Russell I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
John Muir If you imagine yourself as separate from the world, the world will appear as separate from you and you will experience desire and fear. I do not see the world as separate from me and so there is nothing for me to desire, or fear.
Nisargadatta Maharaj Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.
Joseph Campbell A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
Walt Whitman Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. . . Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
Carl Gustav Jung A human being is part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Albert Einstein The Tao is both singular and universal. It is open to all with the resolve and inclination to walk it. Those who do, however, take a variety of disciplines in approaching it, for the Tao extrapolates from the specific to the general. Dave Lowry
The fundamental delusion of humanity is to suppose that I am here and you ar out there.
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure.
We are all born originals – why is it so many of us die copies?
Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers – for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are.
If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.
Utopia lies at the horizon. When I draw nearer by two steps,it retreats two steps. If I proceed ten steps forward, it swiftly slips ten steps ahead.
No matter how far I go, I can never reach it. What, then, is the purpose of utopia? It is to cause us to advance.
Eduardo Hughes Galeano
The “paradox” is only a conflict between reality and your feeling of what reality “ought” to be.
Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
Every man gets a narrower and narrower field of knowledge in which he must be an expert in order to compete with other people. The specialist knows more and more about less and less and finally knows everything about nothing.
Happiness is the absence of the striving for happiness.
There are two kinds of climbers, those who climb because their heart sings when they’re in the mountains, and all the rest.
Changing the world begins with the very personal process of changing yourself, the only place you can begin is where you are, and the only time you can begin is always now.
Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.
G. K. Chesterton
No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.
The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.
What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner.
The more a human being feels himself a self, tries to intensify this self and reach a never-attainable perfection, the more drastically he steps out of the center of being.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.
I wonder how long this word will last, governed exclusively by the merciless, inhuman and immoral criteria of global economy.
Seeing the shadow of distant islands, I imagined one still inhabited by a tribe of poets set aside for when, after the middle age of materialism, humanity will have to start to put other values into his existence.
Joseph Campbell Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
William Blake Out beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
Rumi It is not so much for its beauty that the forest makes a claim upon men’s hearts, as for that subtle something, that quality of air that emanation from old trees, that so wonderfully changes and renews a weary spirit.
Robert Louis Stevenson My heart that was rapt away by the wild cherry blossoms will it return to my body when they scatter?
Kotomichi Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it.
Soren Kierkegaard We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
Native American Proverb Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation, a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind. Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.
Gary Snyder A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tzu The man with the backpack is never lost. No matter whither he may stray, his food and shelter are right with him, and home is wherever he may choose to stop.”
Horace Kephart The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Alan Watts It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.
Ursula K. LeGui Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
John Lennon A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.
Henry David Thoreau The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.
Jack Kerouac When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.
Jimi Hendrix Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…
John Muir Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I’m happy. I can’t figure it out. What am I doing right?
Charles Schulz We are here and it is now. Further than that all human knowledge is moonshine.
H.L.Mencken Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.
George Bernard Shaw Let the beauty we love be what we do.
Mevlana Jelalu’ddin Rumi Every situation, every moment is of infinite worth for it is representative of a whole eternity.
John Wolfgang Goethe Be yourself; everybody else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.
Siddhartha Gautama Buddha The only Zen you find on the tops of mountains is the Zen that you bring up there.
Robert M. Pirsing When your mind is empty of prejudices you can see the Tao. When your hearth is empty of desires you can follow the Tao.
Master Lu I don’t climb mountains. Mountains climb me. The mountain is myself. I climb on myself.
Nanao Sasaki And if there is not any such thing as long time, nor the rest of our lives, nor from now on, but there is only now, then now is thing to praise and I am very happy with it.
Ernest Hemingway To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
An eternity in an hour.
William Blake Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere.
Blaise Pascal Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.
Rabindranath Tagore Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.
Robb Sagendorph Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.
Walt Whitman Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become. Paramahansa Yogananda If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is Nature’s way.
Aristotle Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
Albert Camus Walks. The body advances, while the mind flutters around it like a bird.
Jules Renard Before I had studied Zen for thirty years, I saw mountains as mountains, and rivers as rivers.
When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point where I saw that mountains are not mountains, and rivers are not rivers.
But now that I have got its very substance I am at rest.
For it’s just that I see mountains once again as mountains,
and rivers once again as rivers.
Ching-yuan Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
Steven Wright I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.
Fred Allen It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.
Tom Robbins Time is in the mind, space is in the mind. The law of cause and effect is also a way of thinking. In reality all is here and now and all is one. Multiplicity and diversity are in the mind only.
Nisargadatta Maharaj What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. George Berkeley We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.
Aldo Leopold The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery.
Fred Alan Wolf It is not down in any map; true places never are.
Herman Melville Remember when life’s path is steep, keep your mind even.
Horace Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment…
Thich Nhat Hanh A radical inner transformation and rise to a new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the western mechanistic paradigm.
Stanislav Grof Life is too important to be taken seriously.
Oscar Wilde There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast.
Paul Scott Mowrer To get or not to get what we desire can be equally disappointing.
Epictetus If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.
William Blake Create each day anew by clothing yourself with heaven and earth, bathing yourself with wisdom and love, and placing yourself in the heart of Mother Nature.
Morihei Ueshiba It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
Charles Darwin Each time dawn appears,the mystery is there in its eternity.
Arthur Rimbaud The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.
James Openheim In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.
No man can cross the same river twice because neither the man nor the river are the same.
If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
Vincent Van Gogh
Yes, I am going into the woods; I am going into the unity of all things.
It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.
Visit my website www.etnatao.com
Tat Tvam Asi
तत् त्वम् असि
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