Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Racing the clouds up Tajumulco

I hiked Tajumulco this past weekend with two of my fellow volunteers!  It's an inactive volcano near Xela.  It also happens to be the highest point in all of Central America!

After our Acotenango hike none of us wanted the luxury of camping overnight at high altitudes in freezing temperatures so we decided to hike it in one day. We started off from our hostel in Xela at four in the morning.  

We stopped at the side of the road at five am in the pitch black to pick up a cup of joe.  We were served by a little old lady in traditional Guatemalan dress, standing with a big metal pot full or tea-like-consistency coffee boiling on a fired-up barbecue.   The driver explained that we should ask for espresso...we watched in awe as she poured the weak coffee into a cup and then added instant coffee to it.  Voila!  Espresso!

Our guide warned us before we began (arriving at the trail head at 6:30 in the morning) that we needed to beat the clouds if we wanted to have a view from the top. It became a very real threat. Can you see the wall starting to cover the ground and come down like a cascade?

Here's some close-ups.  And the cloud race was only just beginning.

All the way up we had this giant wall at our back.

Looking forward was beautiful and clear!

Not so much from behind.

We pushed on as the clouds drew nearer.

This is what we saw as we summitted:

And this is what trailed behind us:

In a close competition, we came out on top!  And it was clear!

This is the volcano, looking down from the crater rim.

 This is me on top of the world.

This is us above the clouds.

These are the clouds making their way up.

So we headed down.  The clouds on one side of us.

The sun and bright sky on the other.

The hike itself wasn't too bad.  Seriously, hiking up Acotenango was so much harder!

As we reached the base and climbed back into our car, we looked up and saw the entire volcano covered in clouds.

We had just made it!  And what a beautiful hike it was!

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