You have to make the most out of each day, even if it means to have to get up at 5 am with a slight hangover and climb up a volcano.
18.01.2006 23 °C
I really don't know how I did it. A few hours ago, I had difficulty finding my room in the dark. A few hours later, still dark, I was waiting in the reception with the Karin, Micha, Kristy, Anthony, Don, Rada, Ofri, Gareth, Chris and Tina to go for the 6km Volcano Madera hike and swim in the crater lake. Of course, nothing is perfect. I was not in my hiking outfit. I did my best just to wake up.
We had breakfast at a cafe with little chicks running around. The size of my cafe negro con leche was not even enough to make me conscious. My hangover was not bad, just fatigue. A nice English breakfast and a little hammock definitely helped.
So the hike began. My hangover was gone by the first kilometer. We stopped at a viewpoint to look over Volcano Concepcion, an active one erupted just a few months ago. About half way up, we were inside the cloud. The trail got muddier and harder to climb as we went. At some point, my entire shoes and jeans were in the mud. For someone only 5 feet tall, climbing slippery rocks and trees more than a feet high for more than 30 minute at a time is tremendously demanding. My determination pushed me up each step. By the time we reached the highest point of the volcano, my excitment had overtook my physical exhaustion. We were very eager to jump into the crater lake, only a 20-min downhill hike away.
Going downhill was a real killer to my legs. By the time we reached the crater lake, my enthusiasm had disappeared. I decided against swimming if it meant that I had to take my heavy jeans off, and back on. It was too much to handle. I took the time instead to rest my muscles and get ready for the 5 km down hike.
As expected, going downhill was worse. I have phobia to it. Mentally, I felt like the 20th mile mark of a marathon - running with your mind, not your body anymore. I slipped more than a few times. Everyone did. Luckily, Ofri was behind me for a while making sure I was ok. But I was still very cautious and slow. I wish I had longer legs so I could climb or jump over those slippery rocks.
A decade later, we finally reached the dry land. I secretly thanked god for pushing me this far. I can definitely compare the level of difficulty of this hike to the heavy snow race in Central park and icy water race in Cleverland. This day will be remembered as another successful challenge to myself, physically and mentally. Inca trail -I'm ready.
Back to the hotel, the first thing I did was to go to the lake and washed all the mud off my shoes and jeans. I finally managed to take off the 10 lb I have been carrying for hours. I had such a sense of accomplishment in the warm water of the lake.
After a cold shower in the dark with no electricity, I went for dinner. It was Karin and Micha's last night. They decided to stay in Nicaragua with their friends rather than going to San Jose with us. Karin was very well-prepared and spoke fluent espanol. I've already asked her to keep me updated on her asian loop in August so maybe I can join her to Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia, all the places I longed to go for a while.
Micha insisted on another drink to celebrate our accomplishment. But we were so tired at this point and could barely move away from the reception bench, the celebration drink will have to wait, when I visit Germany. I gave them a big farewell hug before going back to my room and crashed.