Monday, May 12, 2014

Our Hike to Pacaya

This is the hiking crew the day we climbed Mt. Everest... Oh wait, it was really the active volcano, Pacaya, which is about an hour and a half from our apartment. This is about 7:00am in front of the temple, with the Distribution Center behind us. Our old apartment building is in the background on the right! Left to right: Brother Karanza (the assistant temple recorder), The Svenson's, and us, looking all fresh and ready to go!

These two adorable girls helped us get our walking sticks. They were five and seven.

This is us at the bottom, paying our admission fee and getting our walking sticks! What?? We paid for this experience!

These are some awesome caballeros at the base of the volcano. This is their business and they follow the hikers offering rides on the horses for Q100 ($13.00). I love horseback riding, so I rode a little way. It was awesome and my little cowboy friend talked to me all the way!

Here's Annie Oakley! I was wishing I had a cowboy hat and boots. The horse was so sweet and gentle!

This is actually warm, hard lava rock. There was a sign that said in Spanish, "Enter at your own risk." What?! I thought this was perfectly safe!

Here we are after the long hike up, crossing the lava field "at our own risk" to get to the tiny store off to the right. The downhill here was hard because it was like walking through silt and slippery. We ended up on our butts several times! It doesn't look steep, but it is!

This is the view from above the warm lava rocks. Yes, that is a little store that sells lava rock souvenirs, etc. It is portable and the guys told us that they can move it quickly in case of an eruption! Yes, it has been moved several times. The two guys who work there are part of a non-profit organization and the money goes to help education of survivors of the last big eruption which destroyed villages below Pacaya. Our little maid told us that her extended family lives there.

Yes, these are the hot coals where we're standing! You can see puffs of steam coming up. This is our guide toasting the treats! They were toasted to perfection!

Here are the delicious toasted marshmallows!

Dad enjoying the toasted marshmallow!

Beautiful view of the volcano... Yes, those are puffs of smoke. It actually erupted two days earlier after our climb. The church has an evacuation plan for the villages at the base and around Pacaya. There are about 3,000 or so people living there.

Here's Brother Svenson with some lava rock. Some of it was too hot to hold for very long. I picked up some small bits for the grandkids.

Before going across the warm lava rock! Our two guides are out in front. The one in red is 15 and they stayed with us all day.

This is a good view of the trail... This part was hard because it is fine soot/ash and is slippery! There are no level parts to rest, just straight incline and the air is smoggy. I had a hard time catching my breath sometimes, but we made it!

These are our guides on the motorcycle, leading us down the mountain when we finished the hike... Four hours later!

Yes, these are my disgusting shoes, socks, feet, and legs after we spent five hours hiking up Pacaya, which is one of several volcanoes here in Guatemala. And yes, the volcano is still active!

This is me soaking my feet after the climb. The bugs here bite right through the sock and are pretty mean!

This is a great shot of Guatemala City, with the temple right in the center, from up on the hill.

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