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Monday, May 9, 2011

A Challenge Indeed!

Over the course of four days our team of 14 sweated it out together, nursed our wounds, tended to our sunburns, bandaged our blisters and enjoyed the view from the craters of 8 volcanoes. We arrived at the top of the final volcano, Volcan Momotombo, a little bedraggled, alot dirty, and extremely satisfied with our success.

On the first day we were in awe of the first active crater we encountered. We tried to resist getting too close to the edge but tested fate just a little in order to hear the bubbling lava below. Ofcourse Troy threw rocks into the crater to summon the volcano gods but thankfully they ignored him.

We then proceeded to walk through fire (literally jumping over flames) to attempt the second volcano (note the smoking volcano in the background of the photo below). We ended up surrendering as we found ourselves surrounded by fire and the winds kept changing. The firefighter among us advocated for a swift descent and thankfully my shorts were the only casualty—I clumsily fell on my butt in my haste to retreat.

(We were able to keep the final trip tally 8 volcanoes, however, with an unexpected crater addition to the itinerary on the third day).

On day two, after having hiked about ten hours, we thought it fitting to climb up Cerro Negro in gale force winds, carrying what amounted to slabs of plywood, to try our hand at volcano boarding. We basically tobogganed 600m down a 43 degree grade and tried not to wipe out. At a cool 42kph I dusted Troy, but I was far from hitting the record of 87kph!

Day three was by far the longest and most taxing and had us walking from our third volcano of the day, El Hoyo (The Hole (see pic!)) down to a laguna. As with every destination on the trip, according to our guides the laguna was "about 30 minutes" from El Hoyo. Loosely translated, 30 minutes means anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours... In this case, it may well have been even longer than that but jumping into the cool water at the end made it all worthwhile!

On the final day, we hiked the open faces of Volcan Momotombo under the 38 degree sun, taking refuge wherever we could behind boulders or single free-standing trees.

I'd like to say we arrived at the top and relished the fresh air but in reality we gagged and choked on the sulphur and gases that were sputtering up. The view was incredible though and knowing that we were on our way down left us jumping for joy!

Our guides earned major brownie points by greeting the team with cold beer at the bottom. Despite sore feet and tired eyes, the celebration continued in Leon following showers and clean clothes.
(And yes, for some reason the celebration included cowboy hats...)

As Troy was quick to point out if ever there was any complaining by anyone, the event was not named "Volcano-walk-in-the-Park," it was, as it turns out, quite aptly named "Volcano Challenge" and challenging it was.


  1. What's a celebration without cowboy hats? Ha ha! Love it! Congrats! U guys r awesome! Here's to the rest of your adventure! Cheers(I am toasting u with my cowboy hat on! Lol)

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  3. Love the jumping pics!!! Can u take me volcano boarding with u????

  4. What's a celebration without cowboy hats? lol

  5. Wow! Awesome adventure! Are all toe nails intact??? ;o)