Leon Travel Blog› entry 74 of 424 › view all entries
Another day, another volcano! This hike was to have a different ending though as instead of walking down the mountain, the descent of this volcano was to be much faster than walking and well, a lot more fun! Someone not too long ago came up with the great idea of volcano boarding, which is basically as it sounds - climb up a volcano and then whizz down it at lightning speed sitting on a board!! Apparently the Australian bloke who came up with the idea invented the current 'board' after trial and error. They tried mattresses, plastic tables upside-down and even a fridge door! But the current board is made of wood, plain and simple! A bit like a sledge really!
After a bumpy, dusty jeep ride past farms and waving children, we trekked up Cerro Negro, a small volcano of 726m, which is apparently one of the youngest volcanoes in the world.
Once at the top, we peered down into the yellow sulpher-stained crater and once again breathed in that awful sulphur smell. The wind was so powerful and we leant forward over the crater edge to let the wind support our weight. Good job the wind wasn't going the other way.
Then it was time to clamber into our bright orange 'prison' suits, get our goggles and gloves on and have a go at volcano boarding! We had a practice run first on a small slope to get a 'feel' for the board and have a go at the brakes (feet on the ground).
The practice run was scary enough and then we walked a bit further around the volcano to a much steeper part that went straight down the mountain. Have to say that when we were preparing to go, we were all bloody terrified. There were 6 of us and when it was time to get going, we were all very reluctant and nobody wanted to go first. Eventually, the German bloke in our group volunteered to go first. As we all stood nervously awaiting what appeared to be certain death, the ground seemed a long, long way away and the volcano side that we were to board down was incredibly steep. It seemed almost vertical.
OK next person to go..... an english bloke who went next fell off several times on the way down, not doing a lot for our confidence. Then the next 2 went, a Dutch-Kiwi couple from our hostel, and then Simon and I had very little choice but to face the steep descent. As we sat on our boards and prepared to go, we said what we thought would be our final words to each other, and then off we went! We flew down that volcano so flippin fast it was hilarious! What we were so scared of turned into what became incredible fun in a split second! At one point, I was going a bit too fast and thought I would go flying so I put the brakes on (ie both feet onto the soft ground either side of the board).
It was a fantastic experience and what took us 1 hour to climb took 30 seconds to get down! The only problem was that the soles on our shoes were almost completely worn away from the friction of 'braking' on the rocks! Ooops.
We then watched the sun setting over the valley and we could see Volcan Telica, the volcano we climbed on the full moon night, smouldering in the near-distance, as well as the highest volcano in Nicaragua just beyond Telica.
Once back in Leon, we headed back to the hostel with our Dutch-Kiwi boarding pals and proceeded to drink several beers as a celebration of being alive. But not before having a much-needed shower as we were once again filthy. Little volcanic rocks were lodged everywhere, even up our noses! Nice.