Today was a day of adventure.
My terrific friend Carlos (Shaggy) invited my present roommate, Anna, and I to climb the Santa Ana volcano. This became an adventure, not just because we were climbing a volcano, but also in part, because Carlos had no idea a) how to get to a route that we could take to the top b) whether such a route even existed on the side we wanted to try from.
After stopping to ask for directions many, many times, we pulled off the paved road, popped the truck into four-wheel drive and started making our way up. When we couldn’t go any further, we left the truck and began the hike. The weather was gorgeous – sunny but nice and cool at the high altitude.
We had Carlos’s 6-month old white shepherd puppy, Dingo, with us too, which made it all the more fun.
The hike began as a brisk walk up a steep road.
Eventually, as we guessed our way up and tried a few different routes, the road became a narrow footpath. Then the footpath ended when it came to a T with a dried riverbed and/or landslide leaving. This became our new “path”. And it became steeper. And we climbed with a fierce dedication towards our goal of reaching the crater.
We had some near vertical pieces and had to heave the puppy up sometimes. Eventually, when we got to a point where we could no longer pretend that this was a real path at all and when it ended in bush and we couldn’t get anywhere without a machete, it looked something like this…
Disappointed not to have a recently (2005) erupted volcanic crater in front of our faces, we turned around to find that what we had was pretty darn good too:
As usual, the picture doesn’t do the moment justice. But it really was a breathtaking view. We tried to get at the crater again (Carlos was especially determined) from a slightly different route, but with the same result.
The descent was a bit tricky (but much quicker!) and eventually, about 5 hours after we’d left the truck, we made it back and headed into Santa Ana for a quick bite and some of their famous, Sin Rival icecream.
Now, I’m back in San Jose Villanueva, scraped and scratched and cut and bruised and grinning from ear to ear.
Tomorrow, Keily and I head over to meet the mayor and then to the community of Arada Vieja to begin our first week of interviews.