Monday, August 1, 2016

La Muela (or rather: Hiking in Xela)

 

I love Xela!!!  Best Guate city ever!  A weekend was way too short and I want to go back...however if I could fly, that would be preferable.  I have never been so sick as I was on those chicken buses, skirting our way on the edge of the mountains, in and out, up and down.  Okay, making myself nauseous just thinking about it.



Every fifth weekend is a free weekend for all the volunteers (which happens about every three months).  It's nice because then those of us who work on opposite weekends can have an excursion together.  This time we chose to head north to Xela, a beautiful city (also known as Quetzeltenango) and also the second biggest city in Guatemala.


Our trip included lots of eating and lots of fun.  We shopped, meandered, went out dancing and even hit the hot springs.  The highlight for me was the hike we took our first morning to a place called La Muela or the Molar.  



To get there we hopped a chicken bus to about a mile or so outside town before walking up a cobblestone road for another mile or so.  Then we found the trailhead and headed up into the woods.

Eventually we emerged above the tree line and found ourselves surrounded by volcanic rock.  Climbing further we eventually reached a huge rock face where we could look out over the entire valley.  The view was breathtaking and I sat and took in the tranquility while my friends made the final rock climb to the highest point.



At the almost top (where I summited :o) we encountered a group of boys who were from a local foundation for orphans similar to ours.   At first they asked us to take their picture but then they wanted a picture with us!  



On our way back to town their chaperones pulled up along-side us and offered to drive us back into town so we wouldn't have to take the chicken bus.  Made me smile that even on vacation we find ourselves connecting with kids!




Our next everyone-has-it-off weekend is in October.  I'm hoping we return and tackle Mount Tajumulco, the highest mountain (and incidentally, a volcano) in Central America.  Going to have to start training for that one!






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