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Tuesday 31st October 2006

Mumma, Nosotros vamos a subir un volcan!

Yep that's right ... last weekend Frank, Kenny and I climbed a 4000m (13000ft) Volcano called Volcan Acatenango. It was probably one of the toughest hikes I have ever done. After a pre trip briefing on Friday night, the journey started at 5am on Saturday morning when we met up with our guides and fellow hikers. There was 10 of us in total, 2 other Aussies, a couple of Germans and Frank and Kenny.

We started the ascent at about 8am on Saturday morning. The scenery was quite spectacular and we passed through about 4 distinct types of vegetation zones as we ascended the mountain.

We stopped for lunch at a small hut about halfway up then continued the journey. The higher we got the thinner the air got and I it was really noticeable. I still had heaps of energy but the altitude seemed to suck the stamina from me and frequent stops were necessary to regain my breath. Towards the top the atrocious 80s song "Step by Step ... oooh baby" may have spontaneously entered my brain and spurred me on to the summit! hahaha ... I´d be lying if I said that it wasn´t tough going!

The weather on top was pretty bad and the visibility only a few metres so we setup camp at "safe camp" which was out of the wind. The guides cooked up a delicious vegetarian curry and we drank red wine and watched the sun set! We were all exhausted so were in bed by 7:30pm.

Sleep wasn´t something that dominated my night ... there was 5 of us jammed in a 3 man tent so it was pretty tight. I also experience a bit of altitude sickness, not too bad ... just insomnia and a slight headache. 2 Aspirins to thin the blood fixed that in no time though. One of the other chicks was not so lucky and was vomiting and feeling quite ill.

We woke up at about 4:30am and hiked to the top of the crater to watch the sun rise. It was absolutely spectacular. From the top we could see numerous other volcanos, the Pacific Ocean, Lago Atitlan and as far as Mexico. An active volcano, Volcan Fuego wasn´t far away and we saw it erupt a few times, just smoke though!

It took about 7 hours to climb the mountain and only 2 hours to descend. The descent involved basically running down the mountain as it is the easiest and most efficient technique. My quadriceps are hurting today ... my salsa teacher wasn´t impressed!!

Awesome weekend!! Highlight of the trip so far!
Photos here:
http://www.danscapers.com/gallery/Guatamala?page=2


I´m not one to talk up my soccer skills but last Friday I played soccer for my Spanish school against another Spanish school and I scored one of the best goals of my life. Some bloke crossed the ball in behind me and in a split second of total coordination I managed to score a goal from a bicycle kick (overhead kick) ... highlight of my life .. hahah! Gold

On Sunday I bumped into a mate from Nelson Bay (Macca) on the streets of Antigua ... can you believe it!! Plenty of "catch up" beers were consumed and Monday morning was not fun!




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Dan brand Orange Juice in Slovenia ... what a country!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
--Mark Twain


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