Volcanic Morning

After a long 10 hour hike up the flanks of the Acatenango volcano in Guatemala we pitched our tents in the rain. No view, just fog and water. We sat around a campfire to warm our wet feet. Our guide told us that we might not be able to go to the summit if it would continue to rain. Late at night we heard what we thought was a thunderstorm, however, it was nothing less than the Fuego volcano erupting. Still we couldn’t see anything as the rains continued pounding on the roof or our tent. Around 4am it stopped raining and our guide rushed us; “only take your camera and a bottle of water and let’s go up to the summit!”. We hiked in the dark, with the light of our head torches guiding us in a snake like motion. Almost two hours later we were just below the summit and saw the first daylight. Slowly the edges of the surrounding volcanoes became visible. This was what we were here for, the breathtaking view of the Guatemalan volcano ridge. In front it’s Volcán de Agua and in the back you can see Volcán Pacaya. After all the rain and the long hike this was great reward which was about to get even better as Fuego decided to erupt.*

 

* I summited Acatenango in July 2017. I’m very aware of the fact that the eruption of the Fuego volcano in 2018 took the lives of many as they had no chance to escape from the villages and farmlands on the flanks of Fuego. It shows how volcanoes can be majestic beauties, but also very deadly. For me as a tourist it’s easy to say that the eruption of Fuego was one of the greatest experiences during the trip, this is the luxury of being able to visit a place like this and not living there and working of the fertile lands to make a living.

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