September 16, 2012

We Climbed a Volcano

Our weekend...

September 15 is Guatemala's Independence Day.
We did not have school on Friday, so we went to Antigua with a group of friends. On Friday, we enjoyed the sights, shopping, and a lot of eating.
 On Saturday, we decided to climb a volcano early in the morning. The volcano is called "Pacaya."
 On our hike we saw many cool things, including the view of two other volcanoes, "Agua" and "Fuego." Those names mean "water" and "fire."
 Our tour guide was very informative. He showed us these leaves called "cheese leaves," They are great for wiping the sweat off your brow.
 Or, as our friend Sarah showed us, for blowing your nose.
 This past week, the volcano "Fuego," had been errupting. We got to see that from our volcano as well. If you look closely to see a very dark cloud, you can see the volcano Fuego errupting a little bit too.
 The view was very beautiful. We could see many different cities and mountain tops.
 As we continued to hike, the vegetation became more and more sparse.
Until it our path was made up of only volcanic rocks and pebbles from dried lava.
Our group continued on, until we reached... 
 The Lava Store. They were selling souvenir jewelry made from lava rocks. They said something about how the jewelry will pass on the "energy of the volcano" to you. And then I stopped listening.
 We then continued the hike until we we came to a little cave.
 We climbed down into the cave.
All of the walls looked like this. We thought the walls were wet, but they were dry to the touch.
 Soon after we climbed out of the cave, and did the most exciting thing on the trip...
 We roasted marshmallows using heat vents of the volcano!
 It's not every day you get to roast a marshmallow on a heat vent of a volcano.
It was pretty warmish by the heat vents, but it was so fun.
 To top it off, we turned those marshmallows into smores! I was quite estatic. 
 After smores, we had to decide as a group if we wanted to continue up the mountain or turn back. Our guide offered to take us to the top crater of the volcano for a small additional price of Q300. He said it would only be another 40 minutes to the top. The hike so far had been decent, and we thought, "Why not? We made it this far?" So we hiked on.
 Unfortunately, the hike became too steep and slippery. It was too sharp of an angle to hike, and we were already slipping and sliding with nothing to hold onto. It was already so difficult to climb up; we couldn't imagine how difficult it would be to get down. We decided to turn around. It had to have been a sight to other hikers down below, as our guide had to help each one of us ladies back to a more secure spot of the moutain as we clutched his hand. After we got back down to a safer place, these lovely policemen checked our guide's credentials. The guide promised it would be only 40 minutes to the very top. From the highest point we reached until we got back down to the main trail, it took an hour and 15 minutes.  
 Here we are on safe ground again, enjoying the view.
 This is one happy hiker.
 This is another happy hiker.
This is a group of happy hikers.
This is a couple of happy hikers.
We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend away with some great friends. The first part of the hike was not as difficult as others we have done, yet the great group we were with, all of the dried lava, and roasting marshmallows at the top definitely made it the most interesting hike we have been on so far! It was a lovely Independence Day break.
Grace and Peace,