Volcano Boarding

Leon Travel Blog

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We weren't due to meet for the Volcano Boarding until just before 13.00, so I spent the morning exploring Leon. I have to say I loved this place, it was Colonial, so a little bit like Antigua, but a little dirtier and it felt like it had much more of a "soul"! I guess that was because of the trouble in the past. Walking around the city, I found a painting on a wall which depicted the violence (i know nothing about it really) but it was quite a powerful image. Further on I found a beautiful church, which I think is one of the most beautiful in Leon; I was very lucky as the caretaker was just about to lock the gates as I wondered in, but he let me into the church and to stroll around and take it all in. There was a little nativity set which had been made up by the alter which was pretty nice.

Having had my little bit of Culture, I met up with the group and prepared myself to go flying down a Volcano on a small piece of wood and metal! We jumped in the back of a pickup and drove for about an hour to the Volcano, I think it's the youngest in Nicaragua and fairly small at only 700m high. Grabbing our boards from the pickup and bag with lovely orange overalls we started to trek up the windy path to the top of the Volcano, stopping a couple of times on the way up to take pictures, enjoy the views and learn about the Volcano. Reassuringly we were told it was well overdue for it's next major eruption and also within the past few weeks there had been an earthquake in the region only fractionally too small to trigger an eruption. Maybe the board seemed more sensible, as it was now the quickest way down.

We reached the top of the board tracks, and dropped our stuff and then walked a little bit further up to the summit and looked down into the sulfurous crater. We nerves gangling we made our way back to our stuff, dressed in our orange overalls and goggles, took the obligatory group photos and were given a brief instruction of how to sit, how to steer, brake and go faster.
I'd already decided that it was going to be best for me if I went first rather than put it off, so positioning my board at the top of the slope I sat down.
Sh#t that's steep!
(43degrees apparently)
With that I was off, steady at first and then picking up speed dramatically. I started veering off course and reached a speed I was happy with, so I decided to try and steer and pat my feet to maintain a constant speed (as we'd been shown), big mistake! I started "fishtailing" wildly and after a matter of seconds I found myself side on to the Volcano, rolling down with my board well above me.
Dusting myself of I scrabbled back to my board, jumped back on and tried again! Bump! I was flying through the air this time, while my board had stopped digging it's self into the Volcano grit. I managed to stop my falling and crawling back up to my board on all fours I set off again, almost forgetting to put my goggles back down ( i remembered when I nearly got hit in the face by flying grit). I made it to the bottom and clocked a pretty poor speed of 24KPH - to be fair to me, they measure the speed at the bottom of the hill when all the sane people are braking to a stop. Still I was at the bottom and I'd survived! I felt amazing! I looked like I'd just dragged myself out of a Coal Mine.
I then got to watch as the rest of my group came sliding, falling and rolling down the hill.

We changed out of our overalls, dumped the boards in the van, jumped in ourselves and made our way back to Leon, looking forward to our complimentary Mojitos which came as part of the deal!
We all showered, washing volcanic grit out of places that we couldn't fathom how it had got to, and changed ready for dinner. After dinner we went out to a local "club" for a few drinks and a little dance, topping off what was a fantastic day!

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photo by: Chokk