Published: October 30th 2011October 29th 2011
A lot has happened since my last blog post. I arrived in Nicaragua for the tail end of the rainy season and during a 2 week stretch in October we got hit by a few hurricanes, which made life a bit more difficult as expected. Also during that time I was doing training hikes without clients so that I could learn all the routes of the different places we go. What this means is that I was doing 2 day hikes in one days time all the meanwhile being rained on the entire time. Let's just say I got a real good idea if what trench foot means. The trails we normally walk up and down were more like small rivers or creeks and it was nearly impossible to determine location at times because we couldn't judge our location in relation to other volcanoes because we couldn't see more than 20 feet away from us. Trips usually go often enough to make these type of training hikes not necessary, but it was our best option to get me trained given the circumstances.
Now it seems that a majority of the bad storms have passed and for the
next 6 months we will be enjoying the dry/ summer season. I consider myself very fortunate for this as I just left California's summer. Because the weather is now nice, I was finally able to take some pictures of the city of Leon, where I am living until January 2012. I'm told that we are in the slow season for tourists, but it still looks like a pretty happening place.
On November 6 there will be an election for Nicaragua's president. Daniel Ortega, the current socialist president changed the constitution so that he could run for re-election. It seems as if he will win in a land slide, partially because he has improved the quality of life in Nicaragua during his tenure, and also because he apparently doesn't allow for much opposition. The is no political debates and all government workers are essentially forced to support him whether they want to or not. Rumor has it that a lot of other countries will cut ties with doing business with Nicaraguan companies because they may feel that Ortega's regime is moving towards a dictatorship. Only time will tell though and whatever does happen should be interesting to watch as an
Noise violations are pretty much non-existent in Leon and it does take some getting used to. At 7am, noon, and 5pm every day there is a siren that goes off to indicate to the community what time it is, but I imagine that this siren sounds just like a World War II air raid alert. At least every half hour someone around town sets off fireworks for no real reason, and a couple times a day I see/ hear the political campaigning for Ortega. This consists of a few guys driving around town in a pickup truck while the wave flags and blast remixed American music that had different lyrics that support Ortega. And when I say they blast music I literally mean they have giant amplifiers strapped down in the bed of their truck and they turn up the volume as loud as possible. Every street in town is barely wide enough for a car and a half to pass through, yet people still drive both ways on them. This causes the constant sound of cars honking their horns, but it just blends in with the rest of the sounds of the city. All of this may
sound horrible, but it really isn't too bad after a few days of living here.
I was finally able to go on my first overnight trek to Telica Volcano, and I head out bright and early tomorrow morning for another 2 day hike to El Hoyo. The way it works is that we leave our house at 5:30am and take a series of buses for 45 minutes until we reach a certain trail off the side of the highway. Once we get out we then throw on our 20kg+ packs and set off. The total distance of the Telica trek is 26km and the volcano is 3500 ft tall. In the first day we hike around 70 % of the total distance and once we get up to the top we set up camp and then check out the crater. The lave is over 600 meters down but it is quite a sight to see. After we eat dinner we head back to the crater to see the lava glowing that much more under the stars. We go to bed by 9pm latest and then wake up at 4:45am so we can watch the sunrise. After that we eat
breakfast pack up the camp and head out. By the afternoon we are usually back in Leon and taking much need (cold) showers. All in all it's an enjoyable 36 hours. It's tiring, but it's what I came here to do.
Hopefully in the next couple weeks I'll be able to take some time off to go on a mini trip for 4-7 days. I am thinking I will head south, first through the cultural city of Granada then down to San Juan del Sur, which is where the big surfing culture is in Nicaragua. I have spoken with my brother Devin and he is planning to come down in late december for new years a nd a couple weeks after so i think it will be could to map out where we will go.
Until my next post we'll see where the roads/ trails take me.
There are more photos below