Woke up at some ridiculus time in the day to climb a volcanoe - La Laguna, I believe. Have to say am not making a very good travel journalist in terms of accuracy (never my strong point) as I mainly tagged along and did whatever the others were doing, much easier!!! hehehe
All I know about this volcanoe was that the climb begins at 6:30, and we should be back in town around lunch time, a pretty substantial amount of time. It also appealed to me to check out these exciting elements, though totally forgetting (as I´m very good at doing) that until pretty recently, I was a city girl commuting 2 hours each way to work, and sitting on my butt all day, with maybe about 30mins of exercise (walking to the bus stops) a day.
So with hindsight, it was no wonder it was such hard work. The first half an hour was ok, though the first break was much welcomed. When we were climbing up steep mud paths, I thought the makeshift steps were easier, but when we got to the steps, thought the rocks were even harder. Was determined not to be the one to ask for a break, espeically being the only girl in the party, and the shortest one too, but when my telepathic messages to Mario - who was effortlessly ahead - were not received, I had to swallow my pride.
At the end of each break, when my breathing seemed to have stablised, it did not seem so bad. But three minutes (though it seemed like ten minutes) of scrambling up on all fours made me realise the reality of the climb. Somehow I knew I would not be able to last three more hours like this to reach the summit, and I burst out with the question nagging on my mind, "Do you come down the same way?" cos I knew that would be the point I was going to give up, and simply sit on the side until they come back.
I am glad I had turned back though, as they reported to have seen two snakes further up the mountain. Although the first one was harmless, it was nonetheless two metres long. The second one was only a metre, but was vermonous, and the guide had to kill it, otherwise it might attack the locals working on the coffee plantations on the volcanoe. Turning back I now take to be a blessing, as I´m sure most of you know I am totally terrified of snakes. I probably would have jumped off the mountain with fright!!
The guide said it should take half an hour, twenty minutes to get back down, it took me a lot longer. Not cos I was chatting to the various groups of people going up the mountains (I wonder how many of them made it, or was I the only quitter!!), or the locals holding large machettes to cut fire wood (I was somewhat scared when I saw them), but I spent a substantial amount of time at the Centro de Visitantes, admiring the views and the PV panel on display.
On the plus side, 1981 was more luckier than me - as he managed to hitch a ride up to the top....
For more information on the Lake Atitlan region, please see the following websites: