(Part 1) So you know that part about best-laid plans from my previous post? Most of you know that the phrase actually comes from a larger saying: "The best-laid plans of mice & men often go awry." Well, indulge me over a few posts while I share how my most anticipated experience of my #Guatemala
trip went awry in all the ways possible...& how it still turned out to be one of my favourite memories of all time.
When I discovered that there were numerous opportunities for hiking near to #Antigua
I was ecstatic. What better way for me (avid #natureenthusiast
) to fall in love with a place than to experience it's #naturalwonders #upclose
& personally? There was one #hike
that I immediately knew I wanted to do more than the others. #VolcandeAcatenango
is Guatemala's third highest #volcano
, with four distinct ecosystems, panoramic #views
of the surrounding regions on the way up, & a 360° view at the summit. But wait - that's not the best part.
Acetanango saddles the neighboring #VolcandeFuego
, known for its frequent small #eruptions
of gas, ash, & occasional lava fireworks. With any luck, you're likely to witness some or all of these phenomena firsthand on the hike, & if you choose to stay overnight you get all of the above + sunset & sunrise views. (Note: larger eruptions have occurred as recently as June 2018).
Once I had the idea of doing a volcano #adventure
, an overnight one no less, I couldn't get it out of my head. So I booked it, & left the worrying about the #challenge
for later. And a challenge it certainly was. This hike was without a doubt the most gruelling physical activity I have ever done in my life. Yes, that's a remark on my not-great-fitness level, but this is a demanding one even for seasoned goers. To give an idea: it was 18km roundtrip on sometimes loose gravelly soil, with ~1500m elevation gain & a peak altitude at 3976m. It took 5+ hours to ascend, all while toting a heavy pack of clothing & supplies. Although we were sufficiently warned that the first part of the hike was the hardest, I was ready to quit after thirty minutes.
Spoiler: I didn't, & I'm still not over it.