Lava Scrambling - Volcan Pacaya

Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Hotel Internacional Mochilero.

Flag of Guatemala  , Western Highlands,
Monday, April 5, 2010

One of the Gringo "must doos" in Antigua is a climb up the very active Vulcan Pacaya.  We heard lots of different accounts of this trip from, "....its so dangerous you could kill yourself "  "...my boots melted" , "...its a right laugh".

I remember saying to Sean back in Manchester that climbing volcanoes wasn't for me, hiking up a stinking slag heap had no appeal , well how wrong can you be. This trip was fantastic and bloody easy compared to the last hike in Nebaj.  I was very proud of myself as I was one of only three girls that didnt succumb to the "taxi" service ( a rented horse) to get me to the start of the lava flow.  But we had the help of  couple of walking sticks that the local village kids carve for the tourists and flog them to you for a couple of quetzals, the national currency. They ambush the minivan  shouting " Steek, steek, keep you safe" and they did!!

As we climbed up through a forest we could hear thunder rumbling and the prospect of a storm had us all giddy. Truth is, it wasn't thunder at all but the actual volcano rumbling and blowing ....... mhmm maybe it is dangerous afterall. As you reach the lava flows of various ages the most recent being one year ago, its all black and like climbing in a giant fireplace of cinders. You weave your way up towards the cone and suddenly the ground becomes hot, very hot and then a glowing fissure spurts a bit of fire. This is where the "sticks" come in very handy as you clamber over hot brittle lava you can keep your balance and test patches to see if they will take your weight. Those too tight to buy a stick looked a bit pissed off. I  saw only one tourist up there in flip flops, but at least she had her stick.

We toasted marshmallows and shoved our sticks into the boiling lava and oooohed and aahhed and took too many photos. A spurt of lava shot out and singed Sean's eyebrows and lashes ...bit of a near miss. The whole experience was marvellous and the views incredible. We decended as the sun set and took lots more photos as we reached the village a beer was quaffed and back into Antigua for a massive take away pizza.
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