Central America Guatemala

Guatemala, Day 5: Man VS Volcano! Part 2

The three guides lit a fire, we took many pictures and videos of “Volcan de fuego” and we were lucky enough to witness an eruption with massive black smoke coming out. No wonder this monster killed 100 people 2 months ago… It gives me shivers! We had hot chocolate, tea, snacks. We were telling one another stories around the camp fire. I really felt like a boy scout) Although I was never a boy scout in my entire life. El Jefe told us we had to wait until 17.00 – 17.30 for the mist you dash off so that we could reach the volcano’s top, which looking from where we were standing didn’t see like a big distance. Again… We had no idea that the worst had yet to come…

17:30, El Jefe led the excursion, I was hiking just behind him and I fell crushing this very deep, black, crushing, volcanic sand and stones in which my feet were sinking each time I stepped. I had no bag to carry this time but it felt like I was a heavy weight person struggling to walk and running out of breath as we were close to 4000 meters’ altitude. The strong winds and the dropping temperature didn’t help on top of that. We had to make many pauses, everybody was dripping sweat and dead tired. We were a few hundreds of meters away from the volcano’s top and yet it felt like this part was even harder than all that we had experienced before! To be honest, I was about to give up! I gather all the strength I had left and in a final effort, with my shoes full of volcanic sands and stones, there we were: on the volcano’s top in a middle of a thick mist and violent wind.

I wanted to record myself on a video with my I-phone. There was nothing we could hear, because of the wind, even at close range. We walked further up on the very top, hoping for the mist to leave and confident to see anything but nothing so far, but a little bird, which got lost and got trapped by the cold and the wind, now it was on this land of nothingness with its wings open wide, still… dead…El Jefe told me that it was not only the animals who accidently got lost on the volcano, last year, there were three people from USA who wanted to go on an adventure with no guide, they got lost and could not contact anyone as phone signals are not working at such a high altitude. A few days later, their bodies were found, frozen… They got lost into a storm.

There seemed to be some light on the other side of the volcano, tired of waiting for a miracle, we quickly ran to the other side to see if we would get luckier. Another thick cloud immediately covered the panorama as we arrived but we remain on the other side, patient this time, El Jefe’s son showed us some rock cavities from where hot steam was coming out. Sulfuric steam, but it’s not toxic and much appreciated, in spite of all the winter clothes we had, I seriously started freezing my ass! A few meters away, was standing a cross, to commemorate the lost people I mentioned earlier…

The sun finally came up and a mystic vision came to us: it seems that Heaven far away, close to the sun, Purgatory with the clouds and mist was somewhere in the middle for we were in Hell on this land of rocks and ashes. I took a few shots, but nothing spectacular as the clouds were coming back and forth. After some time, we started walking back down. To be honest, I don’t even know what was the hardest going up from the camping site to the volcano’s top or the other way around.

The biggest problem was this slipping volcanic sands and stones which were becoming more and more dangerous as we went down. I eventually fell on a rock, fortunately I had enough time to twist and fall on my left bottom. If not, I would have broken my coccis… The pain was stiff, but no serious injury! Lucky me! As we went down, it was a dangerous skiing game: we had to slip down the path, with a heavy layer of volcanic sand and rocks. I had to stop twice to empty my shoes, full of sand and stones. We were all dirty and dusty as hell! But finally we made it back to the camping site! We had a very nice evening at nightfall by the campfire: spaghettis with tomatoes sauce and parmigiano cheese, marshmallows, hot chocolate, songs and good talks. I really enjoyed the people. I fell really tired and I thought I would spend a good night sleep… Or would I? (If I knew…)

 

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