Saturday, August 01, 2009

Some Like it Hot

Who amongst us hasn't dreamed of seeing lava close up, to witness with our eyes that blood of the earth in it's pure, liquid form? Enter Volcan Pacaya, a highly active volcano within striking distance of Antigua, that touristy anomaly outside of Guatemala's capital. To get there involves a short ride to the volcano and a hike of about one and a half hours to the top, where you can get within feet of a veritable river of lava. Some in our group brought marshmallows to roast - I brought hot dogs, inciting the furious envy of many. They cook quickly, as one might expect them to over molten rock.

At the top we were free to roam around, throw objects into the lava, leap between crevices with lava glowing brightly below, melting the soles of our shoes. The smallest hiccup of the volcano could send lava gushing into the air, falling from the sky in some apocalyptic nightmare, and this has all happened before, but today we have luck, and the volcano behaves itself.

The guides struggled to pull us away from the lava and get us back to safety. The rain was coming and the night falling. Half of the descent was in dark and fog, and only a few had flashlights. We all managed to make it back as the night took hold, and in the distance we could see now, in the pitch black, the glowing orange oozing down the side of the mountain. We rode back to Antigua soaked from the rain and wishing we could have taken a lava souvenir with us to warm the ride.

1 comment:

Tasha said...

Seth C: Traveler who tempts the gods, travel writer with flair.