Ever since I’ve had a bucket list, hiking a volcano has been on it. Different times, we’ve came so close to striking it off. But it remained.
Monday, Dec 28, I had the privilege of marking it off with help most of my family. And it was everything I’d imagined, except we didn’t roast marshmallows over red hot lava, and no tennis shoes got melted… But still.
We got up early and left before the sun rise. Floppy was our fearless guide, and my parents rode inside the pickup, solving world issues with him, while we Horst gals, and Mr W enjoyed the world from the back of the truck.
We observed all sorts of different birds (No, I didn’t actually call every bird I saw a parakeet, Emily ) the sweet smell of something- maybe a yellow flowering tree that was everywhere? We were fascinated by the farmers we met along the well worn trail with their teams and loads of fire wood. The air was cool and refreshing and invigorating. Hallelujah.
We payed our admittance fee, and our “guide” told us a few things about Cerro Negro. Google helped fill in the rest of the details.
This was the youngest volcano born in 1850 in the central Marrabious Range. The last time it erupted was in 1999, and it sent a column of ash 7 kilometers high, and pulses of lava fountains 300 m in the air! They say that pay-loaders were brought into Leon (25 miles away) to remove the 3 feet of ash from the streets. I can only imagine the mess this caused in all the houses with their open windows… But no lives were lost.
I will be the first to admit that this heat, combined with all the festivities of the holidays, has me in not the best hiking conditions. But we all took our time, picking our way through the bazillion of small lava rock carefully.
Wow! I was completely fascinated by the way you could see how the mountain flowed out into the valley below. The fact that the bulge down in the center of the mountain continues to grow, insinuates that the history of this place is far from over.
And we all made it! Father pulled out his “heart history” card, proving that even with his stint, there he was.
The wind felt like it was going to whip us right off the top of the mountain, but it felt amazing. Occasionally, we would get a really bad sulfury smell, and the ground was really warm at some places.
And then it was time for the descent. It was the most incredible feeling ever. We floated straight down the side of the volcano. Whenever I’d look ahead and see how steep it was, I’d think “its fine here, but a little further ahead, it gets so steep! There’s no way I can walk down that without dying.” But one step at a time, and soon I’d be to the steep part and realize it was no worse than where I’d just been. (Pretty sure there’s all kinds of spiritual analogies in that one!) But there we went, one big step and then, you’d stop in the small pebbly ash. I wonder it that is how it’d be to walk on the moon.
(To put this pic into perspective, notice the mission truck to the left. It really was straight down. Was it friction or gravity that held us there- I’m not really sure)
Upon reaching the bottom, we all celebrated by praising the Lord, taking a few more pics (I think the men in our group were just about done with pictures) and emptying half the mountainside out of our shoes.
It really was amazing!
Does the road ahead of you look too steep to conquer? One step at a time, my friend, and you may find that once your there, its not as bad as you imagined. If you just trust, and continue on… It’s amazing!
We spent a really fun afternoon at the Pacific Ocean, jumping waves, watching the sunset, exploring the gardens of an old bombed out hotel, and taking just a few more pics. 🙂
Kerry changed into relaxed clothes as soon as church was over and did an impromtu basketball camp. It was adorbs watching the children’s faces as they tried to make a basket with their human hoop. 🙂
Volcano hiking is the bomb! We did one here in NZ only to realise halfway up that the ground was smoking under us. We picked a different path then..
Kendra, I finally subscribed to your blog, and I’ve been reading posts to Brent and Jefferson on our way to a dental appointment in Charlottesville. Very interesting reading! This post about climbing the volcano is full of meaning for Brent and I. He is facing 2 major DBS surgeries, and, yes, it looks like a mountain! Food for thought.