Townsend decided to take a break from the rain in Vancouver and come visit for a few days.
My ribs are healing up nicely and so we went for a guided hike up Volcano Pacaya. Unlike Xicantecatl about 6 weeks ago, Pacaya at 8400 feet is only medium big. It’s been erupting continuously since 1965 with a big one in 1998 which sent ash up 15,000 feet. We weren’t allowed to climb to the edge of the cauldera as 7 years ago a tourist fell in, probably with a kindof fssst sound.
On the way we drove through the town of Amatitlan
People working on the left side
And on the right
Up the mountainside past small villages
To a meeting spot where the guides waited and kids sold walking sticks. We set off with two horses in tow; the handlers hoping we’d tire and jump on.
We passed through harvested fields into a layer of clouds
And into a windswept forest
At one point we rounded a corner to a grove of these yellow shrubs that from twenty feet look exactly like Mahonia aquifolium I’m sure you agree
Then the trail got seriously steep and we climbed for another hour or so. Well not ‘we’ because at one point Townsend said Stop! and jumped on a horse. Across the valley another Volcano appeared above the clouds. It’s name escapes me.
The last push through the last of the trees was a hard slog, through loose volcanic rubble and sand
It plateaued for a while. The views through the racing clouds were beautiful
Across lava fields
And unbelievably there were these dogs running around. This 49th-and-Arbutus looking thing is a Maltese Poodle
And this one
And this one
There were hot vents where ferns grew
This one was pumping out steam
Pacaya was still in the clouds. We took the customary photo and descended back to Antigua through the forest