Full Moon hiking

Telica Travel Blog

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A moon-lit stroll anyone?

It was full moon today and what else is there to do on a full moon than go for a nice walk? A company called Quetzeltrekkers organises a monthly trek up the Volcano Telica, not far from Leon, on the night of the full moon. That's right, we hiked up a volcano at night. It was a bit strange, when we were preparing our rucksacks, to be packing fleeces, gloves, wooly hats and scarves, as it was 35 degrees and we were dripping with sweat simply from packing a bag. Would we really need all these layers?

We met up with the other trekkers at 1030pm at the Quetzaltrekkers office and after sorting out bags and water supplies etc we all bundled into minivans and were taken to the start of the trek. At 1230am we started the walk along a very rocky dirt track.

It was warm in Leon
 Despite being the middle of the night, the moon provided just about enough light to see where we were going and it was still very hot.

At around 3am we started the real ascent of the volcano itself (up until then we had just been walking towards the base of it). It was about 1 hour of quite strenuous uphill along a narrow path. Once at the top, we could see in the near-distance the crater edge of the volcano. This is when those layers that we packed came into use. We had climbed to 1061m and it was very cold and blowing a gale-force wind. For the first time since leaving South America in December, we were wrapped up in our fleeces, hats and gloves.  

This volcano is very active with the last eruption only 2 weeks ago.

Sunrise
Slightly concerning but fun all the same. We trekked up further to the crater edge and here it got a bit scary. The edge of the crater was a sheer drop into blackness and we could just hear the gurgling of the volcanic lava at the bottom. It was like looking into the unknown and very scary as the edge was loose rocks. Any one of us could have slipped or stumbled and fallen to a rather nasty ending. There was a heck of a lot of fumes and smoke pouring out of the crater and the smell of the sulpher was so overpowering. Quite hard to breathe when you get a face full of that stuff.

We stumbled back down to the edge of the volcano wall over very loose black rocks and from here we watched the sun rise over the valley.

The sulpher fumes from the crater
There are volcanoes everywhere in Nicaragua, every direction we looked in we could see volcanoes rising from the ground. The scenery was stunning as the sun washed the valley in light. Just as the sun rose in front of us the moon was dipping behind us and just for a moment, the sun was in front and the full moon behind us. Just amazing and well worth the overnight hike to see the sun rising and the moon falling at the same time.

At around 7am it was time to descend and we were soon stripping off the layers once we got out of the chilly wind. By 8am it was boiling hot and very dusty. The walk back took us a few hours until we came out into a little village. Just before the steps leading to the village we explored a large piece of ground where dozens of holes had formed with spurting volcanic mud belching from the ground.

Simon had gas
The sulpher hit again as the fumes flooded out of the holes. Very strange.

After giving some village boys food that we had left over from the trek, we headed up to a comedor in the village where we ate some much-needed food at around 10am before catching the local bus back to Leon.

Back at the hostel, we realised how filthy we were as we were covered in dirt from the dust track. Even our legs and feet were covered in dirt, despite having shoes, socks and trousers on! Needless to say, we passed out exhausted after we had showered, and slept until 6pm, woken only by hunger!!!

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A moon-lit stroll anyone?
A moon-lit stroll anyone?
It was warm in Leon
It was warm in Leon
Sunrise
Sunrise
The sulpher fumes from the crater
The sulpher fumes from the crater
Simon had gas
Simon had gas
The little village of Santa Rosa d…
The little village of Santa Rosa …
Volcanic mud - probably a bit too …
Volcanic mud - probably a bit too…
Looking back on the volcano we cli…
Looking back on the volcano we cl…
Filthy and exhausted!
Filthy and exhausted!
Another one of the sun rising over…
Another one of the sun rising ove…
Telica
photo by: siri