Volcan Santa Maria - Full Moon Hike

Published: December 2nd 2006
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A lot of the other activities have been climbing the local mountains and volcanoes. The hardest of these was the full moon hike up Santa Maria to collect any rubbish and bring it back down which I mentioned about before. The climb started at 1am and was not too bad, a bit slippery as it was raining and it got a bit steep in places. The worst was the top. We arrived about 45 mins before sun rise and it was freezing. I had a t-shirt, fleece jumper, fleece coat and waterproof jacket, hat and gloves and was still very cold and Michelle was even colder. Luckerly the cold was worth it as the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and volcanoes, to one side we had the ring of 3 volcanoes that surround Lake Atitlan on the other was Volcano Tajumulco, the highest point in Central America at 4225m high, it was so spectacular, shrouded in fluffy white clouds, totally breathtaking and worth every goose bump. Then to top things off the near by active volcano of Santa Guito erupted with a huge plume of smoke hundreds of meters into the air. This is something I have always wanted to see since I was a kid and was very excited and speechless as I couldn´t believe what I was witnessing! It was a starange experience as the eruption was total silent just the smoke and no laver. I have some great pictures and also got it on movie for the full effects! We also plan to see some more volcanoes later in our travels but so chuffed to see one erupt. Our main purpose for climbing the volcano was to collect rubbish from the top, its popular with day trippers and locals who leave the place looking like a tip, lots of plastic bottles, empty rum bottles (damn!) cans of frijoles, you name it, its there. Most people took it seriously and filled a black bin liner full unfortunately some didn´t and had about a quarter full bag. I will leave you to guess there nationalities but no surprises! Then it was the hard work to haul the heavy bag down the slippey mountain I have not felt so tired for a long time. It was very hard trying to keep balance and not trying my best not to rip the bags on the trees and rocks. After 3.5 hours of walking I finally manged to get to the finish with my bag at busting point just as it burst with dirty ribbish all over me. We were shattered and this was when we decided to spend our first night at the hot springs. Perfect timing for our aching bodies to say the least!

Additional photos below
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View from Santa Maria 4View from Santa Maria 4
View from Santa Maria 4

Landon our travel buddy for Guatemala

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