View of Izalco from Santa Ana
On Toby's day off, we took a trip over to the twin volcanoes of Santa Ana
. Since his work (ANADES)
was taking some supplies over that part of the country, we were able to get a ride to the feeder road. Justin and I rode in the bed of the pickup, which was really nice. When it is summer, riding in the back is better than in the cab with A/C.
We caught the bus that goes to the foot of the mountain, and then shortly thereafter some contractors gave us a lift in the bed of a large truck, followed by locals who put the tailgate of their pickup down and gave us a ride up the mountain to the gate of the park. Admission was $1. We walked around for a bit, and then found out that they wanted us to pay $1 to go up the smaller volcano (Izalco) and $8 each to go up the larger one (Santa Ana). Toby, being the independent spirit that he is, didn't think either of these were necessary. We explored around the top of the mountain where the tourist center is located (I think that one is called Cello Verde) a
little bit, and then he remembered that the path to the big volcano started close to a lookout point. We jumped a gate and headed off to see how far away this big volcano was.
We made our way along the path and then it fed out into a abandoned village, at which point he was sure this was the way to go. The village had been abandoned in 2005. At this point, we ran into the park ranger, who wanted us to pay $6 each to go up to the summit. This confirmed that going by ourselves was the way to go. We saved $6 by skipping the guides. I went to take a picture of the abandoned church, and Toby started chatting the guard up. After a good 5 minutes of small talk, with the help of Toby's El Salvador residency card, we got the guard down to $3 each (the local price). We then set off to explore the volcano. Since nobody had read about it, and nobody knew what to expect up there, we simply set out to see what there was to see.
After hiking up the 3.3 kilometers, we were very impressed
Church in village abandoned after 2005 eruption
by the view down to the crater lake. The lake nice and green, and looked fairly hot. Justin had managed to introduce himself to a cactus on the way up. While we went around the crater, Toby successfully walked while looking down at the crater and belly flopped onto volcanic rock. That was the second time he did that, the first was when we ran down the ridge on the far side to get back to the rim. I was feeling good about my ability to navigate my terrain. However, terrain skills or not, I still had my encounter. During lunch, I was cooling off with my hands behind my head, and a bee flew in the arm hole and down my shirt. It then panicked, and stung me in my armpit. So, we all had our injuries that day.
We caught two buses in quick order, and then met with the ANADES pickup on the highway to get back to San Salvador.
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