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Day 51 - The Double Header Volcano Trek

GUATEMALA | Sunday, 20 July 2014 | Views [259]

Today we set out from Antigua to La Solidad (2,300m) for a 6hr climb to base camp for Volcan Fuego & Volcan Acatenango (around 3,975m).

We were led by our guide Oseas & assistant Nere & inherited a little dog called Osso for the journey. Apparently Osso comes along on almost every trip- a mountain guide dog (of sorts).

We decided we would tackle the challenging walk with our own big packs rather than pay porters to haul our stuff. This was ambitious (for me anyway) and from about an hour in I wish I had tried to be less hardcore. That said I gritted my teeth & pushed on.

I honestly thought my calves were going to rip apart! It's hard enough walking up hill without a pack let alone traversing sandy cornfields with around 15kg on your back!

The day was explained as a challenging, steep climb for several hours through five different microclimates, all uphill. The aim was to arrive to set up camp by around 4.30/5pm.

During the third hour & microclimate we were ascending from the cornfields into a more exposed route through the cloud forest & into the pine trees. Lindy & the guide were powering ahead as we were due to stop for lunch after the 40 minute climb. I lost sight of them early on & Nere was a long way behind me. I had Osso leading the way though - or so I thought!

Oseas said just to walk straight up so I pushed through & kept walking up. It felt like the up was getting worse & never ending. Osso kept running up out of sight & back down to me. I presumed he kept going up to Lindy and that the lunch spot would be over the next steep incline. After literally rock climbing & clambering my way through steep slippery gravel inclines I realised it had been at least 1.5hrs. No lunch spot, no sign of the others, just me & Osso. I wasn't sure if I was delirious, lost or just really slow. I kept telling myself to just keep going up & not to be soft. I had been walking/climbing for two hours when I actually hit the shoulder of Acatenango. That's when I accepted I was definitely lost & at the volcano a day early.

Who gets lost on a guided your- oh yep - me. Moral of the story being never follow a dog no matter how much he seems to know the way & when you think you may be lost, you probably are.

Poor Nere finally caught up to me at about this time- he speaks no English but just grabbed my pack off me & told me to follow him & run downhill back round the other side of the volcano. We ran for a good 30 minutes down the black rocks & sand, finally stopping back in the cloud forest around 1hr from camp.

Lindy & Oseas met us there not long after. Poor Lindy thought she was going to have to explain I disappeared on a Guatemalan Volcan & Joseus hadn't ever lost anyone before do he was pretty worried. I was surprisingly fine. Unnerved by the rumblings of nearby active volcanoes but ok.

Not sure where I went wrong but it turns out Osso's favourite walk is to Acatenango - probably why he led me there! It could have been a disaster but all was ok - we laughed mostly with relief but also because of how ludicrous the whole situation was!

Back as a pack given it was already 4pm we set a cracking pace & made it to camp before 5pm. Not a bad effort considering my two hour detour & some serious backtracking!

The camp is phenomenal. Acatenango to one side & Fuego to the other. Just in our tent above the clouds! We have seen fuego erupt at least five times tonight too- spectacular!!

Dinner on & by the campfire - spaghetti & black corn tortillas with cinnamon hot choc. Not bad!

Early climb in the morning!

 

 

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