May 31st Guatemala

by - June 04, 2018

May 31st

We had breakfast at the hostel again and then waited for our 9 bus that would take us to the start of our volcano hike.  After being recommended by many fellow travelers, we decided we couldn't not hike Acatenango.  Even though Bart had been battling some bad food for the past few days, he decided he was well enough to attend.  Acatenango is a volcano that is joined with Volcan de Fuego.  Yes, the same volcano that erupted and killed more than 63 people three days later.  We really cannot believe how lucky we are.  After picking up the rest of the people and the food, the bus ride there was about an hour.  We went for the budget trip and the food proved it.  We were handed a bag with warm yogurt, powdered milk with cereal, a banana, hot chocolate packet, bagged soggy fried chicken, rice, bread, and salad, and a container of spaghetti noodles.  We really had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into.  The guides did not speak English, but they pointed to the hill and sent us on our way. 

One guide in the back and one in the front.  There were about 15 of us.  Within the first 10 minutes we were dying.  It was so steep and each step you took, you slid backward.  The ground was covered in a foot of black gravel and ash mixture.  At the first rest stop  everyone threw themselves on the ground and panted to catch their breath.

Due to Bart not feeling well he turned pale white and I thought he was going to pass out.  When the group set off he found the guide to tell him he wanted to turn back.  Unfortunately for him with the language barrier that was not in the cards.  He gave him some salted lime water and a couple pills and pointed to the group.  So on we went.  At the next rest stop we could already see the vegetation changing.  It went from corn fields to moss covered trees and lush vegetation. 

Everyone (besides Bart) ate their lunch and used the nasty hole in the ground they called a bathroom. 

Take a good look at his face in that last picture.  I said smile and he gave me that "are you f?%#$% kidding me look".  Bahaha it is funny now.  After lunch we pushed on. 

It was grueling to say the least.  Eventually the vegetation changed again.  It became dry and baron with no animals in site.  We went through the clouds and came out above them.

About six hours of pain later we made it to base camp.  I cannot describe the difficulty of this hike in words.  The tents were already set up and the fire started. The clouds rolled in and out.  It was amazing!

Everyone got to know each other and attempted to get pictures when Volcan de Fuego would erupt. It was also a struggle to stay warm.  Most people were not prepared for this.  We couldn't believe the shoes people were wearing either...who does this in skater shoes and slip ons?  It was a very fun group of people of all ages and types.  There were the two guys about our age who smoked weed, played music, and danced the entire way up and down.  Australians of every age.  A couple of girls from France and another from Peru who attached to our group on the way. The less rowdy group including bartender Nick from Portland and Julian from Italy.

Our guide cooked spaghetti for dinner.  The party proceeded with all the fixings that people could find in their bags.  The volcano was beautiful to watch and listen to.  It sounded like a canon being shot when it would erupt.  This was an amazing shot.  I basically had to stare at the volcano with my camera for a long time to catch it.

They packed us 4 and 6 in a tent with no pillows.  Everyone had to sleep on their side to fit.  It was only a couple of hours before they woke us up to summit the volcano.  For the record, this was the first day that I have never seen Bart smile since we got together 5 years ago.  Poor guy...

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  1. Awesome picture of the erupting volcano. I hope you are better Bartman.