Hiking Pacaya

My mom is in town visiting and we used our first morning here to hike the Volcano Pacaya, one of the only three active volcanoes in Guatemala.
I have altitude-induced asthma, so within the first 20 minutes I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up. The group consisted of 11 tourists and a guide, and they were flying up the 2 hour steep trail without stopping nearly enough for my feeble lungs. Despite my protests, my mom rented two horses to take us up the hill, figuring I would be able to hike down fine. She was right. I rode my horse for about a half hour and then managed to slowly climb the rest of the way up hill, and it was worth it.
Our group chilling on the Volcano
The first hour and a half is through what appears to be a thick jungle environment, but when you come out at the end of the trail, you see more of what you would expect from a jungle. Lava, ash, steam. We were able to climb under this big boulder that is over a hot spot, which basically makes the gap under the rock a sauna.

 Me, popping out of the sauna cave
Also at the top, stray dogs running around hoping tourists would leave their snacks behind. I left a little pile of peanuts for one especially cute dog who came over and nudged me with his sad nose.
 Stray volcano dog that just wanted some peanuts
The hike back down the trail was no problem and only took about half the time it took us to get to the top. I’m fine doing hikes at my own pace, but when I go in groups I always feel pressure to keep up with everyone else. I should know by now that this is not a good idea and listen to warning signs from my body. I can remember being hospitalized as a kid and breathing off a machine, but my mom told me today that I was actually in the hospital a lot more than I remember.
Anyways, for a fun day trip outside of Antigua, Pacaya is your man. (woman?)


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