Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vale la pena

Sunday morning we woke up early to climb Volcano Santa Maria with some other students and our faithful guide, Miguel (El Perro). Things started off a little rough, as we forgot one of the students back at the school….poor Chris! While Enrique went back to get him, we began our 3 and a half hour climb. It was hard, I’m not going to lie, but definitely vale la pena (worthwhile). Having not been to a pilates class in 2 months, I’m not in the same shape I once was in, I do have the hills of Xela on my side since I climb them everyday!

A beautiful sunny afternoon atop Santa Maria

The hard part was the most of hike was really quite steep, much steeper than the trails we hike in Colorado. When we reached the top we were pretty surprised to see that there were at least 100 other people up there, most Guatemalans and many indigenous people.
At the cima (peak) -12,375 ft.- we relaxed in the sun and watched the smoke eruptions from Santiagito, which occur every 20 minutes like clockwork. It was a bit cloudy so the view wasn’t completely clear, but still pretty amazing. Plus, it was great to experience it with a new group of friends and of course El Perro!
That's Xela below us!

Santiagito has smoke "eruptions" every 20 mintues

Our group of climbers

Our guide Miguel has climbed Santa Maria at least 100 times!

A different kind of Sunday morning religious experience

Ben thinks this hike was harder than some of the 14ers in Colorado, so I feel proud of myself. I keep reminding myself of that when I want to complain about my legs aching!

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