Jackie and Mike vs. the Volcano

We had a blast yesterday hiking up Volcano Maderas, but it pretty much kicked my ass. I thought I was in pretty good shape from all the biking we’ve done, but those muscles didn’t help me hike 1300 meters up…and back down. I can barely walk. I was really dreading our bike ride to Moyogalpa this afternoon, but it turns out that my body hurts much less when I’m back on my bike. Guess that’s where it’s accustomed to being these days. Anyways, back to the volcano…

We got up nice and early, ate breakfast, and set out toward the volcano at 8:00. We were in the company of our guide, Manuel, and Eva, a Polish girl who helped translate some of our guide’s more complex sentences. After an hour of hiking we were pouring sweat, but we were barely starting to climb. Mike paused to ring out his shirt, and we moved on. We saw quite a bit of wildlife including howler and capuchin monkeys, beautiful birds, and even crabs (don’t ask me what they were doing 1000 ft. up on the slopes of a volcano). Things really started getting interesting when we made it up into the cloud forest, though. It’s a whole new ecosystem to me, and the plant life is amazing. Mike hasn’t uploaded the photos yet, but I can’t wait to post them. The trees are so tangled and twisted, and everything is covered with hanging vines and moss. It’s really wet and muddy too, which makes for a sloshing good time. I felt like Tarzan, swinging around on branches and vines. After 4 and 1/2 hours, we reached the top…at which point we began our descent into the crater.

We only went down into the crater about halfway, where we found an excellent outcropping of rock from which to view the crater lake. We sat down and ate lunch, resting up for our long hike back.

Down is always harder for me because my knees aren’t in the best shape, but we slowly worked our way back to the bottom. It turned a bit treacherous when a good old-fashioned tropical rainstorm decided to dump a little water on us. Suddenly our path was a muddy, slippery river, steeply winding its way down the side of the volcano. Everyone slipped some, but luckily none of us twisted an ankle, took a really hard fall, or careened of the side of a cliff. The rain pissed off the monkeys, who became particularly vocal on the way down. Eventually, just after the sun went down, we made it to the bottom. We limped into our hotel at 6:30. Mike and I ate well, took hour-long cold showers (to get all the mud off), and went to bed early.

Today we woke up a bit sore (Ha! A bit…) and took our time checking out and leaving Hacienda Merida. This afternoon we biked halfway around the island to get to a town called Moyogalpa. I had tire problems, so we stopped to get the tube patched, but an hour later it was leaking again. By that time it was getting dark, so I just pumped it up a few more times so that we could make it to town (which we barely did by nightfall). Tomorrow we’ll catch a ferry from here back to the mainland and then head to Costa Rica.

I’ll be posting pictures from our epic Volcano Maderas hike soon, but for now here are our favorite pics from the dock at Hacienda Merida:

I didn’t know lions could fly!

I’m a copycat, but I like this photo anyway.

One last thing: the answer to the latest poll. “One person less, one tortilla extra” is actually a Honduran proverb. The rest are Nicaraguan. Good job if you guessed right! I’ll try to come up with a new poll soon!

5 Responses to “Jackie and Mike vs. the Volcano”
  1. Karen Brady says:

    I LOVE the flying lion picture! Takes my breath away. What an amazing excursion you had on the volcano. Glad to hear no one twisted an ankle or anything. You guys are very agile. People my age have enough trouble staying on the sidewalk and avoiding holes in the ground next to it and twisting an ankle. (OK – that would be me – but I’m fine – really…) I’m afraid you might have a hard time adjusting to a couple weeks in Iowa after all you’ve seen and done. But I can’t wait to hear more stories and see more pictures first-hand!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Awesome pictures. You’re quite a bit more adventurous than us. Going up into a volcano!-are you crazy!?! Just kidding. We can’t even handle touring a cave without 3-4 of us wanting to go back. These are experiences you will never forget! Enjoy it. It will be good to see you in Iowa City. Mike, Rose, and family.

  3. Dr_Omega says:

    Wizard of Oz had flying monkeys,now we have flying lions. I am sure there must be a story or movie there!Fun pics!Glad you survived the death hike.Iowa City & Buffalo will sure seem tame & boring but I think you both need a little dose of normalcy ~whatever that means! M

  4. Laura says:

    someone I know collects postcards from all over the world and is lacking most places in central america. would you guys be willing to send her some if i give you her info. speaking of postcards- I’m checking my mailbox every day waiting for one.

  5. Kristen says:

    those pictures are amazing and i’m excited to hear more and see more pictures about the volcano hike. sounds pretty amazing. yeah, like they said, I hope iowa isn’t too boring for you! 🙂

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