Dodgy active volcano climbing

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Weather has been very mixed the last couple of days so we umm and aah a lot before going on this trip and decide that we will never know when the weather is ok. We get in our minibus to head to the Pacaya volcano nearly 2 hours away where the weather fluctuates between blue skies to black clouds. We are hopeful that it will be clear at the volcano, no such luck.

We get out of our minibuses and are handed over to a local guide and then start walking up the side of the volcano on a dirt path. It is very cloudy and we all get noticeably damp due to the moisture in the air. Shame we get no view. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to the end of this where we see fields, a lava flow from earlier this year and kids offering us ´taxis´up the volcano, otherwise known as horses.

We then reach the threatening looking black lava flows. We start to walk across the sharp jaggedy spikes and then the folds of lava which occasionally break away under foot. I have to admit I am nervous. I wanted to climb up here to see lava, but now I am here I am not so sure. We are kitted out in our proper walking boots, some people are wearing flip flops - they must be mad! We all wander along the lava hoping that it won´t cave in and start to feel the heat from the top of the volcano and then from under us. We see the odd crack in the black lava with red underneath and the white of the rock due to the intensity of the heat.

A stick is poked into one of these crevices and it sets alight. Several of these are seen but we dont see the lava flows and rivers as photographed in the tour offices. We are a bit disappointed but glad to have seen it nonetheless.

We then all start to walk back keen to get off this inhospitable surface before its dark. Our newly purchased torches batteries run out after about 10 minutes but we manage to dodge falling over on our way back down thanks to a friendly Aussie (Joey) guy´s torch - we have been talking to him throughout the trip.

Back to the bus we all head home and arrive back in Antigua ready to hit the sack.
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