In Search of America

Guatemala Dia Ocho


Maybe I jinxed it. But one of the dogs barked for hours without stopping throughout the night. Both Coco & I tossed and turned, while letting out a groan every few minutes. We had a 6 AM wake up call looming over our heads. I threw on headphones and hoped that I could fall back asleep. I couldn’t. We slumped out of bed at 6 and walked toward where we would meet our tour guide for our hike up Volcan San Pedro.  On the way, we snagged coffee and a slice of banana bread to share before hopping into our tuk tuk. 

We rode up the mountain to the base of the trail with our tour guide and one other lady, who happened to also be from the states. We were greeted by the guard when we arrived and were asked to sign the guest book. There we started our hike. I was nervous. We had been told this was a round trip 4-mile hike with 4500 feet of elevation gain. I told myself that I just needed to keep taking one step after another. We walked through little patches of farm land. Our guide, Elias pointed out the black beans growing on the left and coffee on the right. I have enjoyed the fruit of both of those plants, but had never seen the plants that had grown them. 

There were three viewing stops in the first mile and a half, where we gulped down water to compensate for how much we were sweating out. At the third viewing spot, there was a tire swing that we took turns on. At that point from what our research had told us, we had a half a mile left. Elias said it would take two hours to get to the top. My jaw dropped a little. Two hours to cover a half a mile. Trip Advisor was wrong. It was almost two-more-miles to the summit. It was steep. Very steep in fact but completely doable. Elias pointed out mushrooms, Redwoods, and other native plants. He told us stories, through broken English, of the Mayans as we trudged along. 

Usually when I hike, all I can think about is how much I would rather be biking the trail. This was the first trail, I did not want to attempt to bike up or down. I was pushing myself physically though and that felt good. It was 10,000 feet at the summit. I tried to think through all the hikes I had done in Bozeman. I’m not sure I had done any hikes that had passed 10,000. I think I will have to start changing that. Mount Whitney, I am coming for you. 

The view at the crest was unreal. It was clear. You could see five volcanos in the distance. It was a surreal moment to stand at the top looking down at the lake glimmering in the sun. I sat at the peak taking in deep breathes of thin, oxygen lacking air. I would recommend that hike again to anyone. It’s hard, but a good and challenging "hard."

In total the hike was around six and a half-miles from the base, with 4000 feet of elevation gain. Worth every trudging step. As we started making our way down, we learned that banditos like to help themselves tourists belongings. It was good we had hired a guide. Most of the guides we saw coming up or down, were carrying machetes as deterrents. 

I can only imagine how beautiful the summit view would look at sunrise. However, we then learned that at night, there are nocturnal pumas and armadillos that wander around, and I was thankful our hike started when it did. 

We arrived to the base and sat down to enjoy our last sips of water. Coco and I talked to a Canadian about his travels in Oaxaca & Mexico City, while waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Once they arrived, we grabbed a tuk tuk and headed back down to town. 

We were starving and were so excited to head to Fifth Dimension, a vegetarian restaurant that we had been eyeing for the last few days. Coco and I found two things on the menu that caught our eyes and decided to get both and split them. Both of us would agree that it is the best meal we have had on the lake thus far. I think we have found our favorite cafe finally. 

After lunch we headed home to shower and recuperate. We felt like brand new women after those showers. Then we decided to head back to Fifth Dimension for a dessert. We enjoyed a cocoa cardamom chia pudding with papaya & banana, and a slice of mango pie. Both were delicious. 

After the cafe closed up shop for the day, we headed to Sababa for some veggies and WiFi. We needed to book our next stay, and the WiFi at our Airbnb isn’t the best. After we secured our next accommodations, I was uploading yesterday’s blog post, and somehow I deleted everything I had written. I sat there for awhile frustrated, before getting up and heading home. I sat on the bed for a while rewriting the adventures of the day before. I look back now, and I am thankful. I think my second attempt at penning the day turned out better. It is hard to see that in the moment though. 

Both of us are exhausted from the day and are heading to bed early. Coco & I are both taking a Benadryl to help with the bug bites. Maybe it will also help us sleep through the relentless barking. 

Buenos Noches.

Sarah TumaComment