Friday, January 13, 2017

Volcano hike in Guatemala

Another private tour today but not planned by me. Ten of us took an hour's ride out to Pacaya volcano to hike up 6,000 feet to about 3/4 of the way to the top.

The ship arrived on time and our group met up with our tour guide who informed us we'd be starting a few minutes late because the van's battery was dead and they had to get some help jumping it. Nice. Oh yeah, it's Friday the 13th.

They managed to get it jump started and we were on our way. First warning.

About twenty minutes into our ride, traffic came to a screeching halt. Ahead of us a truck apparently had crashed into an overpass. A pretty serious accident we were told. It delayed us by about an hour.

We finally got on the turnoff and headed up the winding road towards the volcano.

Our guide had told us that the hike up would take about an hour and a half. He said the first few hundred yards were very steep but then the trail leveled off and became flat and that we would wind our way around the mountain climbing slowly up.

There were guys with horses at the bottom offering to take us on horseback for $20. Warning number two.

Going by what we had been told only one in our group opted for the horse since he had heart problems. Not sure why he wanted to hike up a volcano in the first place but who am I to make a judgement.

We started out and after about twenty minutes of all uphill walking I asked the guide "when does the trail flatten out?" He said it didn't. I reminded him what he had told us and he said it would be flat at the end. Oh God. I told him he lied to us. He ignored me. No tip for him. I don't tip liars.

About 90 minutes later we finally made it to the top. This was a very strenuous hike. But I was determined to finish it and I did.

We spent a few minutes at the top recovering our breathing and taking pictures as the views were spectacular. Then we headed down. It took about 45 minutes to get back down.

We ate a boxed lunch and then got ready to leave. As is common everywhere in Central America, there were several dogs hovering about begging for food. Our group leader, Bonita, decided to give one of the leftover sandwiches to the dogs. She made the mistake of feeding it to them from her hand and she ended up getting bitten on the thumb by one of the ravenous dogs. You never feed a dog this way. The bite drew blood and Bonita was hollering "I got bit I got bit". Oh dear. After assuring her the dogs didn't have rabies (by our lying tour guide, I might add), she calmed down and felt better. She better keep an eye on it.

We're on our way back to the ship now. We should have plenty of time. But again, it IS Friday the 13th......

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