Saturday, May 5, 2007
Well, I almost died by water, then fire, why not earth? The hike up Volcan Maderas on Isla Ometepe in Nicaragua is definitely an experience. Three & a half hours straight up a steep volcano; what a better way to spend a perfectly good Saturday morning.
The first hour wasn't so bad. The slope was fairly gentle and I was just getting started. But it progressively got worse and worse. The second hour was where men are made. It started to get incredibly steep and you had to watch every step you made because of the loose rocks. One wrong step and you could fall, roll your ankle or any other assortment of painful injuries. At first I thought I was in excellent shape and jog up the hill. Well, I thought that until I was stopping every 15 minutes to catch my breath. And I was counting every minute from the 5th to the 15th. And just when I didn't think it couldn't get any worse, it did. Once we climbed above the clouds, everything became damp & wet, including that nice dirt, the tree roots and those loose rocks. Planning & watching every step you make for hour and a half is draining. And the water was running out quickly.
I can't tell you how ecstatic I was to reach the small crater lake at the top of the volcano. It was like being stranded in the desert only to finally see the oasis. I felt like dropping to my knees and kissing the flat ground where I was standing. Instead, I popped open my can of tuna with jalapeños and took a long awaited nap right there in the grass.
Now, the hike down wasn't near as exhausting but was definitely more intense. For some reason, the guide really wanted to get down. I don't know, maybe he had another appointment. Maybe it was the marijuana he smoked on the way up there. Who knows? But we shaved 2 hours off the trip down, passing other groups who left the top 30 minutes before we did.
All in all, it was a great day and a great sense of accomplishment. I would highly recommend it!