Poco's great adventure 2009 - 2010 travel blog

Elaine more than ready for a taxi

Cory and Elaine on their "taxi naturale"

Elaine with lava creeping up behind her

Cory being a boy - playing with fire

Cory and Elaine on their HOT DATE

River of Lava

About 10 feet ( 3 Metres) from the lava

2000 metres above sea level and 2000 degrees. 200 metres more to...

toasting marshallows (out of their minds) Any closer and they would be...

Close enough for Poco, didn't want to melt

View of dormant volcano from our front door

View of different volcano from our doorstep. Not so dormant

The HOT Date

Have I told you how amazing Cory and Elaine are? We have been traveling now for over a month and you know the expression “ three’s a crowd”. Well, I decided they deserved a day to themselves. Cory planned to take Elaine on a hot date overnight leaving Friday afternoon. They were both quite giddy with anticipation, and after school they packed up their bags for their overnight adventure.

Imagine my surprise to see them 6 hours later soaking wet. Apparently, they arrived at their destination and were instantly soaked to the skin as was everything in their packs, which had been on the roof of the van. Apparently they were the perfect pictures of drowned rats with their clothes sticking to them. Anyone familiar with tropical rainstorms will understand this was not your typical rainfall. Cory and Elaine are familiar with rain, living on the wet coast of BC, and this was comparable to six showers stacked one on top of the other. When forced to make the decision they opted to not carry on, as they would have spent a night being cold and wet and been miserable. (And Cory says when Elaine is miserable, so is he) They were given the opportunity to go on a day trip to in place of their overnight stay.

Imagine my surprise and delight when they invited me along. It was too bad for them that they weren’t going to have their hot romantic date. However, it was nice that we were able to have a family day.

By now you are probably wondering what in the heck it was we did.

After an hour drive in the van we arrived at San Francisco des Sales. The day trip that was arranged had us as part of a group that included: 6 young men recently out of the Israeli army and 5 Japanese tourists that include 4 young people and an older man who reminded us of Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid.

After we met our guide we began what we were told was an easy hike. Though Cory and Elaine have been in what they call training mode for the last month, they were huffing and puffing within minutes of leaving the parking lot. The hike started at an elevation of 1800 metres and our destination was at approximately 2000 metres. Sounds easy right? 200 metres, how difficult could that be?

*The following contains much whining and snivelling*

How can two people in their mid forties possibly keep up to 6 super testosterone filled young males, and several very fit Japanese with a combined body fat content of 5 %.

Nobody told us the 200 metres were at a very steep grade. Cory estimates 20% or more in places. After 35 minutes though it was a clear day, Cory for one, was again soaked to the skin. This time though it was from the inside out. Though you might think with Cory’s extra padding he would be the first one to cry uncle. Much to my surprise it was Elaine that reached a level of frustration that said, “ it is time to take a taxi the rest of the way.” Elaine, as you may know, can be quite insistent and Cory being the doting husband did

not want her to feel bad that she had called for a taxi. He in support of her, called for a taxi for himself as well. Taxis in this part of the world are extremely eco friendly; as a matter of fact they call them “taxi naturals”. After getting settled in their seats on the caballos, (or saddle on the horses) off they went at a trot instead of a snail’s pace.

Where could we possible be going?

Imagine my surprise when we reached a crest on the mountainside, and I saw a frightening sight.

What were they thinking?

How could they possibly consider endangering my life? In front of us was a steep slope that had red-hot lava cascading down the mountainside of the Pacaya VOLCANO.

Just the sight was enough to make me feel hot all over. Which for a purple mascot covered in plastic, is not a comforting feeling.

I refused to go any further. I used the excuse that I wanted to give them some alone time. It was a bit of a white lie because; I have never been so frightened in my life.

(Well, just about getting swallowed at the Mayan home stay came close).

After another steep slope up and down over loose and extremely sharp lava rock, Cory and Elaine arrived at a point where lava was flowing out of the side of the volcano.

The closer they got to the lava, the hotter the surface they were walking on became. They were informed there was possibly lava flowing underneath where they were walking. Indeed by tapping the surface with their walking sticks they could hear the hollow sound of what could be a cavity beneath their feet. Their guide informed them, that nobody had fallen through into the lava in over a week.

If you know Elaine, you know that sometimes figuratively she can be called “unbalanced”. I nervously watched them making their way up to the lava field. I got quite emotional as I watched Elaine take precarious step after step. While on both feet she would place her stick, and then carefully move her one foot to what she hoped was solid ground. At times when she was trying to balance on one foot it was really quite comical, although no laughing matter. Cory was paying careful attention to her and recommending where she should step. She doesn’t always listen though and slipped a few times. I felt quite proud of the way she trudged on.

They took a number of photos by the slow moving lava, even one of Cory foolishly poking the lava with a stick. He said it was like thick molasses only like being in a 2000-degree oven.

And they were going to take me there?

I’m going to ask for more details before the next family outing. We started heading back before the rest of the group because we knew everybody would catch up to us. They had spent their last quetzale on the taxi ride up, and couldn’t afford a ride down.

You may think it would be easy going down. I heard; “oh my knees, oh my back, oh my toes, my hip hurts” I even heard a few curse words from Cory. Did I mention that the trip down was in the dark?

It’s a good job they are doing this trip while they are young and healthy. J

I am thankful though that I did get my picture taken with the volcano in the background.

Once back home they had a quick shower, filled up on Ibuprofen and slept for 10 hours.

Hopefully there will be a few days before our next adventure.

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