This was without doubt one of the most difficult hikes of my life. And I have enjoyed hiking for the past 8 years or so. I climbed to an altitude of over 7,000 feet under the harsh Salvadorian sun.
The guide left us in the dust, and I quickly fell from the front of the group to the back. At some point, I put my scarf around my face in a vain attempt to keep from burning. As we began the final ascent to the rim of the volcano, I passed a few people who were sitting down, telling their friends to continue on, having given up. I was the 5th to last person to make it to the rim, well after everyone else in the group had, BUT I MADE IT.
I saw the green water, smelled the sulfur, and looked around myself for panoramic views of the countryside, other volcanoes, and the ocean.
On the way back down, I stayed towards the front of the group, chatting with three other girls who were traveling solo (Brazil, Germany, and Hong Kong via Los Angeles). I did a 2-kilometer road walk back up to the top of the adjacent park to get back to my car. I stuck out my thumb to all the cars that passed, but nobody stopped to pick me up, even though there is supposed to be a strong hitchhiking culture on that mountain. I was dead, my lower back was starting to hurt, and every time I checked my phone it said I still had over a kilometer to walk.
I FINALLY got back to my car, started the engine, and blasted the AC. And now I’m sitting at a restaurant overlooking Lake Coatepeque, tired, lightheaded, dead, but SO HAPPY I completed this hike. It’s not every day you get to stand on the rim of a volcano in Central America, and I will treasure this day forever.
ALSO, a better photo of me chillin on the rim of this volcano will likely be my holiday card this year, so if you want a holiday card, SEND ME A MESSAGE WITH YOUR ADDRESS! I’d love to send cards to everyone and keep in touch in a more personal way, but I don’t have everybody’s snail mail address.
Now, excuse me while I fall asleep from exhaustion while eating my restaurant dinner. #HIKE38 of #ELLIEHIKES52.