Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March 16 - I climb a volcano

There are more than thirty volcanoes in Guatemala, I climbed one of them.

With hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanos making Guatemala’s land so unstable I wonder if eventually North America and South America will separate and Central America disappear.
My guide book wrote that it wasn’t advisable to climb to the top of the volcano because of lava flows. And yet, my estimate was that at least sixty people were at the top when I was there. Yes, indeedy, deed, these old legs of mine managed to reach the summit.
It was an hour drive from Antigua to the foot of the mountain. l rode in a collectivo full of 20 something people, a couple from Argentina and several Israelis.
I’m sixty-one. I made this point because I couldn’t keep up. As I huffed and puffed my way up the steep and steady incline men with horses walking behind us goaded me saying over and over, “100 quetzals and you can ride a horse.”
My amigos were encouraging as I continually refused to ride a horse. There was at least one young woman who gave up the walk and climbed on the horse, but not I, by far the oldest of the group.
The climb up the mountain took an hour. Then came the greater challenge, a half hour steep and wobbly climb up the lava rock that got hotter as we came closer to the summit.
Sulfur gas, high altitude and heat took its toll on a few who didn’t quite make it. Slow - ever so slowly I went onward - a young person coming down said, “Keep going, it’s worth it.”
At the top I met up with the young man who so kindly carried my bag. At last, water to drink, and my camera. The river of lava poured/streamed out the volcano. I succeeded as had dozens of twenty something people form around the world.
It was sunset as we ambled down the volcanic rock, and pitch black when we reached the volcanic base. We stared in amazement as molten lava bubbled and spurted out of the mountain. Nature created a spectacular fire show.
The way down with flashlights turned on was much easier than the way up.

No comments: