Thursday, February 25, 2010

Volcan Pacaya

Yesterday was our big trek to see the lava flows on Volcano Pacaya. This is THE thing to do in Antigua. Rob and I had planned on doing it and I was a little surprised when mom said that her and dad would be joining us. Honestly, I was a little relieved because I had been a bit nervous about it but knowing that they were coming put me at ease that we would definately be slow and that I might even be the most fit person in the group. Mom will be posting later with her own point of view, which I'm sure is very different than mine.

We were picked up in the morning by Blake, a great guide and nice Texas boy. We drove to the volcano which took about an hour. At the bottom of the hill, I decided that I wanted to hike the whole thing. We were followed by guys with horses yelling "Taxi" and after about a minute, mom said "I think I'll take the horse", dad immediately followed and the Rob shortly after. The hike was pretty steep and we were at a high altitude so I was immediately out of breath but confident that I could do it. Not too far up, I stopped for a break and realized that although I could make it all the way up, with everyone else on horseback, it would take me much longer than them so finally, I gave up and hopped on a horse. Boy was I glad that I did. We easily rode up to the lava fields which was as far as the horses would take us.

I found the rest of the way really enjoyable but mom and dad really struggled. It wasnt that it was so steep, it was difficult to get footing on the lava rock which is so light that it kind of crumbles beneath your feet. We went nice and slow with our wonderful local guide, Carlito, literally pulling mom up the volcano. Every few minutes, the volcano Blake so eloquently described it...Sneeze! A few times we would hear the sound and look up and see rocks flying through the air. He said that they would find rocks from Pacaya as far as Mexico.

Blake had explained to us that the volcano was more active than it had been in a long time and that we would see some great lava flows. All of a sudden, it got super hot...almost too hot to take. I immediately grabbed the marshmallow stick and the marshmallows and started roasting. It was so hot that I knew that I didnt want to hang out for long. I barely glanced at the river of lava flowing about 30 feet from us. Once the marshmallows were properly roasted, we gobbled them up and all turned around, practically pushing each other to get out of the intense heat.

We made our way down the lava fields happy that none of our shoes melted and hoping that neither mom or dad would lose their footing. We really accomplished something yesterday. Everyone who knows my parents should be really impressed at this trek. This was not some little hike...we climbed what is officially (as of January) the 2nd most active volcano in the world. It was not easy and many people are injured on this trek. We owe Blake and Carlito a lot for making sure that we all survived in tact. I'm so impressed with my parents, though.

While researching the Pacaya climb online, I discovered that there is a spa on the way back to Antigua that someone had recommended.  What a brilliant recommendation.  After a really tough day, we pulled into Santa Teresita Banos Termales.  We were presented a menu of options and chose the "Thermal Circuit" and a 25 minute massage for each of us.  The thermal circuit had us spending a specific amount of time in 4 different pools of 4 different temperatures.  The first was hot hot hot.  The next was really really cold.  The third was pleasantly warm and then the 4th was perfectly cool.  Then...I think just to watch us suffer...she had us get back into the hot hot pool and then back into the freezing cold pool.  It was pretty funny and we followed her directions hoping that there was some sort of scientific benefit to the torture.  Eventually, we were brought inside, asked to choose our scented oil and taken for a wonderful and skillful massage.  The place was gorgeous and a perfect end to a very challenging day.

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deblet76 said...


Aaron said...

Really excited for all four of you, and very proud of you for conquering the volcano.