|San Pablo La Laguna|
We set out for San Pedro, in search of Hotel Peneleu, Katy's lodging of choice in San Pedro. The last part of the ride was really amazing, as was the most intense switch-back descent I've ever seen. As with most roads in Guatemala, we were sharing it with everything from livestock to semi trucks, so a quick blip of the horn let people know to expect us around the next blind, steep 180 degree turn. The above photo is a shot Jill took from the top of the mountain, and here's a shot of part of it on Google Earth:
|It was scary steep|
We agreed to three nights at $4 a night, and went out for this amazing dinner:
|$5 red wine marinated steak and hand cut fries|
We got the boats for five hours and had a great time paddling around the lake, but found out that three hours was plenty of time in a kayak... Paddling in still water is work, and the lake is huge! Another meal at the steak restaurant and we headed back to our hotel to rest up for our six AM climb up San Pedro volcano.
When we booked the volcano tour, Maria told us to bring some water, and maybe a snack.
"Will we need raincoats?"
"No, no raincoats, just be here at six."
We arrived at six and met Francisco, our guide. He was 17 and didn't speak much English, but managed to explain that he goes to high school and climbs the volcano twice a week to make money. We figured that if he climbs it twice a week it can't be that hard, but we quickly found out that this was more of a reflection of his physical condition than the difficulty of the climb. We started in the middle of town, and spent the first hour of the hike on the road up to the volcano, which was probably a 5-700 foot increase in elevation.
Hmmm...winded at the base of the volcano, not good.
We rested for a few minutes, and started up again. After another 30 minutes of slogging along, we came around a corner and saw row after row of coffee plants. So, we could barely get up there, and local people were coming up, planting crops, harvesting them, and taking them down. The altitude at the lake is around 6,000 feet, so by this time we were at about 8,000. It was pretty amazing, but we were more amazed that we still had 1,000 plus feet to climb. On the last third of the climb the jungle was pretty dense, and the clouds started to roll in...
|Jill is at the base of the tree in the center|
And after about 4 hours of climbing, we reached the top, home of the best views in...no. It's cloudy, here are the pictures we got at the top.
|Soaked, exhausted and "smiling"|
|Francisco: "I could do this every day!"|
We go to the center of town, and a guy in a tattoo parlor shouted "ADD dog, what's up!?" We were relieved to find out that she was the town dog, and habitually found new friends to follow around. She kept following us until we got close to the restaurant, and then left down an alley as inconspicuously as she had appeared. I never thought I would be so sad to see a stray dog wander off.