Night hike of Volcan Baru

Published: April 27th 2015
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I've managed to get 1 hr kip in preparation for this hike - hardly enough after 5hrs of jungle hiking this afternoon before this rather epic challenge ahead. But alas, the show must go on, so Dan and I went for supper (including a cheeky vino) before being picked up at 11:30pm to be dropped off at the foot of the volcano. Our group is 7 in total: 4 Germans, an American lady and us two - enough people to talk to whilst walking for the next 10hours or so. As we set off, it rapidly comes to my attention that my head torch doesn't work. Great. Even though my mother made me eat loads of carrots when I was younger, some light whilst walking a volcano through the night would have been useful. It's a long, arduous task - the volcano is steep, with boulders and uneven ground at the best of times, and it's totally relentless. For much of the walk the skies are clear, and the stars are as bright and as plentiful as I have ever seen - a great upside to this arduous journey. On the occasion when there is a break in the trees, the views off the volcano to the town below is awesome - Boquete is certainly bigger than I expected in this light. We have a few heart stopping moments when we hear animals rustling up behind us - a sense of vulnerability quickly comes across a few group members, so we slowly but surely chug our way to the summit, with a couple of rest points along the way. We summit at around 5:45am - 6 hours of solid hiking up a steep incline, my poor feet are crying at the thought that we have to head back down. It's windy up top - I thought I had overpacked on the clothes front, but I wanted every layer I could get on me!! I reflect and appreciate on some great advice I was given last year about hiking: lots of layers, more than you think necessary. Unfortunately, even after all that effort of climbing, there is a massive cloud bank on the horizon, so our sunrise isn't as spectacular as anticipated, although the views of the many craters in the volcano is breathtaking and the sun quickly burnt away the clouds. But Amy, the American lady, and I wasted no time and headed down at 6:45am - it was freezing and we both wanted to get to bed!! We descended rapidly, talking about anything and everything, putting the world to right on our non-stop crusade to get down (which we managed in 2 hrs 45 minutes - I was pretty impressed at that!!) Once back at the hostel, I was heading straight for bed - after 28km of hiking steep inclines and declines over boulders and rocky terrain, my feet and legs have never felt so challenged. In fact, they hate me right now.

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