This was by far the most challenging thing I have ever done. I won't sugar coat it. A month ago 6 hikers died on this very volcano from hypothermia, and seeing the crosses people have made for them along with countless others is a rude awakening to how powerful nature can be.
That being said, I hated nearly every lung busting, leg trembling, fall, slip, and cry minute of this hike. I had my brief moments of introspection where I tried to find the beauty through all the cursing in my head, but those moments were truthfully far and few between. However I knew it was altering my soul, and looking back on it now I realize the severity of those alterations. An experience like this gives you no choice but to be entirely present. To completely feel the pain you’re in, how depleted your mind and body feels, how utterly human you feel.
Acatenango is a consistent 40+ degree angle hike (with nearly straight up climbs mixed in), increasing altitude up to 13,000ft, through 4 different microclimates; starting with hot and humid jungle to cold, barren volcanic rock.. which means you may as well of been hiking in gravel. Take two steps up, and sliiiide one down. You did all this with your gear on your back and for 5 straight hours. Get to base camp, eat, “sleep”, and wake up at 4am to begin another hour and a half hike to the summit.
Half way up that morning, I cried. I was so fucking exhausted, so frustrated and cold that I wanted to quit. Half way up, I almost did quit. I sat there as my legs refused to ascend another step, my lungs gasping for what oxygen was left, and I had to dig deep into realms of myself I didn’t even know existed to keep going. I remember looking down at my tear soaked gloves, my headlamp lighting the steep path ahead, and from some place I’ve never touched before.. I kept moving.
Because of that, I saw something most people will never see in their lives. I got to stand at the peak of a volcano as the world woke up beneath us. #acatenango #acatenangovolcano #fuego #fuegovolcano #volcano #antigua #guatemala #hike #wanderlust #sunrise #illneverforgetthatview