Wednesday 13 March. An early start to get by van to the Volcan Pacaya. We go slow on the track and after an hour we’re at the viewpoint. We see and hear lava blocks tumbling down the volcano. Impressive sight. When the clouds clear we see red lava on top of the volcano. Even better. So cool. Enjoy the view again at the next viewpoint. In the valley we make marshmallows on the heat of the old lava flow. Apparently this lava flow of 2014 is 100 m deep at this point. Still at some holes the temperature is around 60 C or so. The lava stones are strange formations of rocky stones. The road down is dusty on loose ground. Back in Antigua, lunch and a lazy afternoon with a game of Cabo. Dinner in town at the Spanish school. After the meal a beer at the fanciest bar in town and a drink at the already closed brewery. We’re the only ones. Quite nice.
Friday at 7 am Julius, Sarah and I are picked up from our hotel. Get instructions and the right gear. The first part of the track is direct loose ground going steep up. It’s only up, sunny and it’s hard. The guides go slow and steady. Every half an hour or so we have a break to drink and rest. After an hour the track goes into the forest and it feels great to have some shade. After three hours we’re halfway at the entrance of the national park. More climbing and sweating. The last part, one hour of 5, is more or less flat. So much easier, until the last few hundred meters. Climbing steep again. Tents! We’re there. Basecamp is the place where we stay the night, at 3600 m altitude. This morning we started at just above 2000 m. The view of Vulcan Viego is beautiful. In the other direction we can see Volcan Agua and in the distance Volcan Pacaya as well. Volcan Viego is erupting ever 10 minutes or so. Sometimes small ones with a bit of smoke, sometimes violent ones with a hundred meters high smoke column. After dinner the darkness takes over and the clouds hide the volcano. Too bad. To bed early and I wake up around 9 pm to get out and see several big eruptions. At night it’s so spectacular. Big fountains of fire, lava flowing a few hundred meters down over the volcano. Unreal and impressive. In the distance the lava of Volcan Pacaya is glowing as well. Back to bed to get up at 4 am again.
On the volcano it already very cold, just above freezing and very windy. The sunrise is magnificent. Breakfast and down again. Going down is easier, but hard for the knees. We have a decent pace and before eleven we’re back at the street where the vans are waiting for us. This morning a couple married on top of the volcano. Crazy, but romantic. Down her dress is more brown than white. Challenging wedding, also for friends and family.