Monday, January 26, 2009

More about the Volcano

I wrote some more about the volcano while I was offline yesterday evening... here 'tis!

Well, yesterday’s hike up the volcano was great! I really enjoyed the hard climb, the excellent view, fun with friends, and practicing my Spanish with Myrna, Mauricio, and the guides.

We left the Spanish School shortly after 1:30, stopping at the Karlsons’ apartment to pick up Myrna. We then drove for a little over an hour to Volcano Pacaya. As soon as we stepped off the bus we were swarmed with little kids encouraging us to take a stick, “is very good.” From a little farther distance, older boys and men were yelling at us to get a “taxi” (horse) because “is hard climb.” We met up with our guides and put on sunscreen, then began the ascent.

The first part of the ascent was very steep cobblestones, then it turned into a steep dirt trail. We stopped often to take pictures and catch our breath. The view was breathtaking, looking down on a lake, Guatemala City, and across to three other volcanoes.

A little over halfway up, the trail became a lot easier, but turned into lava rock. From there we climbed from one rock to another to a place where molten lava was close to the surface and the rocks were really hot. There, we roasted marshmallows and took a bunch of pictures.

About six o’clock, the sun went down while we continued to take pictures, then we began to make our way down the volcano. At one point in the beginning of our descent, I jumped onto a section of lava rock and discovered that there was a tunnel underneath it… the rock broke underneath me, trapping my right leg while the rest of me sprawled forward. I scraped my chin and my fingertips on a ledge of rock, but other than that came out of it unhurt. After we’d gone a little further, Brent and Mike patched me up with their first aid kits and made sure that my wounds were disinfected. I now sport a lovely scab on my chin. =) Kaitlyn took a picture of me in my bloodied condition:

In our descent we took a different route than the one we used going up because it was shorter. It was also steeper, which made keeping one’s balance a little difficult, but it was a lot of fun. I had a good time practicing my Spanish with one of the guides. By the time we’d been going down for about 7-8 minutes we had to use headlamps to see the path.

We arrived back at the van at around 7:30, then had the drive back to Antigua. By the time we got into our individual houses in Antigua, it was 9:15 and we were exhausted. I washed my legs that were caked in dust, then crawled into bed, ready for a long sleep.

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