Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Volcan Pacaya

I desired to do one thing on my first trip to Antigua, and that was climb a volcano.

Why not? It combines my exercise and outdoor enjoyment with my love of beautiful sites and picture opportunities. Oh yeah, I have also never climbed a volcano before, so this was beyond cool.

I signed up for the 6am trip the afternoon before partaking. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical that everything would work out. I paid the hotel receptionist for the trip and in return she gave me a piece of paper filled out in pen. Had I been in Canada I may have asked what year it was, but I guess it didn't seem nearly as weird in Guatemala.

I easily could have been ripped off. I went to bed late the night before and there were some fellow hostel dwellers who came in rather late. Needless to say, I didn't sleep the best. I also didn't set my alarm properly. Luckily the bus driver for my trip came into the room looking for me, and subsequently woke up everyone else in the hostel room. My friend from San Francisco decided he didn't sleep well enough and he was not going to go.

Do you think losing my partner in crime would stop me? Of course not. I usually do things solo anyways. I rolled out of bed and onto the bus. An hour and a half later I--along with the other eager volcano climbers--were at the foot of Volcan Pacaya.

 The coolest thing about this volcano was it is active. There was a lot of contrast on the walk up the volcano, from the green mountain scenery at the start of the walk to the dull ash gray when we neared the top. We couldn't go to the absolute top because it is after all active, but we did get high enough where we could enjoy the warmth of the craters.

The altitude and the early morning made it pretty cold on the way up, but the exercise made me pretty warm. The real problem was when we stopped to enjoy the surroundings. By the time the hike up the mountain had made me damp with sweat while being 8000 feet in the air and the sun hiding behind clouds made me shiver.

 While on the top we roasted marshmellows. By roasted, of course I mean warmed them up slightly in a crater.

.The trip up the volcano was great for the exercise, the fresh air and the opportunity to start to see the beautiful country I was residing in for the month. It was only the start of an amazing country.