Sunday, November 6, 2011


Pic taken from Antigua, Guatemala
People not familiar with volcanoes may get excited by this post.  Others who live by one or have visited a volcano may recall similar experiences that I'll share today.  I've been to several active volcanoes over the years.  Some have shook me out of my bed while other have "burped" out lots of annoying ash that settle on top of cars and furniture inside the house!!!  "El Popo" near Puebla is notorious for belching little eruptions and adding to Mexico's already polluted air.  So I thought it would be interesting to see my sister react to the exotic nature of a volcano.  Today we begin our journey through the lovely country of Guatemala that we took back in 2006 during my summer break.  Our focus today.....the Pacaya volcano outside of Antigua.

Volcanoes are known for creating some wonderful farming land.  In the Peace Corps, there is an active volcano on the arid island of Fogo, but because there is fertile volcano ash, wonderful wine is grown solely on the slopes of this particular volcano.  Of course, an active volcano can be a dangerous one.  The pic above shows green pastures next to recently cooled lava.  And that's steam rising!
Walking up this steep hill on the mountain was quite the workout for our group.  We were protected by an armed guide as there had been reported thieves off the trail hiding. The gun was a bit unsettling, but it was nice to know that we had someone watching over us.  The hike was well worth it.  Look closely at the above pic and you'll see pockets of steam rising.
Without my sister, I probably wouldn't have laughed as much as we did.  She was grumbling her way to the top(as was I!) and then to top it off, people were actually allowed to walk on the cooled lava rock.  However, when I write "cooled" lava rock, I mean to say that we were able to walk on it.  The ground was still warm and melted the rubber on my shoes.  Wear good shoes for this trek.  Breathing was also difficult as we got higher up the side of the volcano.
I kept snapping pictures and my sister Anna had threatened me several times.  Looking back on the experience, I realized that she made the trip to Guatemala so much fun. 
Be careful not to get too close to the fiery hot lava pool and poke the ground first to make sure the ground won't give below you.  Several tourists a year die at this spot.  We didn't thank goodness, but we did watch a European get too close and catch fire.  It was quite the sight.  Why do Europeans make everything look so glamourous!!???  What's your secret Europe??:)  LOL!!  He was okay and the fire was quickly put out.  No damage done, but what an experience to bring home and tell others!!!
In the clouds, we reached a place to sit for a few moments and laugh at the dangerous moments and steep hike to the top.  It was a lot of fun.  They do offer horserides to the top for those that have difficulty walking up.  There was something truly magical about climbing this volcano and it was worth the trek.  Until tomorrow!


  1. OMG, the adrenaline rush there can be as fast as the lava rush! I did something like that in Hawaii, but it is not so dangerous as that.

  2. What a great experience! I like the way you write "Until tomorrow" You have so much in your bag of posts... what will it be?

  3. OMG, I don't know if I could go there. You'll be in Wisconsin for Christmas, and my friend and I are planning our trip to Arizona in February.

  4. Oh my gosh!!! If you come down to Tucson, I would LOVE to meet you! We have a lot to see here. Let me know. The Wisconsin trip during holidays is screwed, Christmas, Santa....too busy, but I'll be home again next summer for some road tripping!


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