As I mentioned before, one of my goals for Guatemala was to climb Volcan Tajumulco, the highest point in Guatemala. After biding our time in Xela for the week, the morning of the volcano trek finally came. Unfortunately Amber was still under the weather and not up for a major expedition, so I again went off on my own, meeting new travelers.*
I hiked the volcano with Quetzal Trekkers, which helps supports a local boys home and a school. The hike was not very long distance-wise, but we went up from 11,000 feet to just under 14,000 feet to the top. We got to the campsite near the top and it started raining. I borrowed some equipment from the tour operator, but my legs were still cold. The inside of the tent got soaking wet and we somehow fit 8 people into one tent. I didn't mind the conditions, but with the rain, cold, and cramped conditions, I was thinking that Amber made the right choice to stay home. We went to bed around 8pm and woke up at 4am to hike to the top and see the sunrise. The view was breathtaking as you can see a range of volcanoes silhouetted by the sun. The volcanoes were all ones that we had seen in Antigua and Lake Atitlan and now they looked puny in the distance.
Volcanoes in the distance (from left to right: Agua, Acetenango, Fuego, Atitlan, San Pedro, and Santamaria):
Waiting for the sun to come up:
The sun arrives!
In my loaner bag enjoying the view - it was so cold we had to watch the sunrise in our sleeping bags:
We returned to camp from the top to have mosh for breakfast which is like oatmeal:
With my goal attained, Amber and I left Xela for lower elevations to see more Guatemalan sites.
* Despite wanting to take it easy, Amber hurt her knee walking me out of our hostel at 4:45 am which put her out of commission for a day, but she kept herself occupied with reading and writing blog posts. When she fell flat on her face on the concrete, with her head in a planter, she made a noise similar to the lady in this youtube video (posted here with Amber's permission).