The day of Concepción!

Isla de Ometepe Travel Blog

 › entry 17 of 31 › view all entries
Awaking early, I got dressed, checked my bag for everything I needed and met everybody at the van. We drove literally 3 doors down and stopped for breakfast ... surely we could have walked?!
Breakfast out the way, we met with our guide (he was in jeans!!!) and set off once again toward the bottom of the Volcano. Part way along the dirt track we hit a particularly viscious bump, and the van ground to a halt with a whine. The driver and our guide jumped out, had a bit of a look, got the tool kit out, did who knows what, jumped back in and off we went again. It didn´t take long to get to the start of the hike, we were handed ous sandwiches for lunch, we we stuffed in our packs and off we went, tramping down the road. This eventually turned into a bit of a path leading through fairly dense jungle/forest, the path got steadily steeped and within minutes we were absolutely dripping with sweat, and all slightly concerned about only carrying 3L of water each if we continued on like this. As we progressed on the path got steeper again and we were starting to step and clamber over medium sized rocks. Still we pushed on in good sprits, resting every so often. Finally we got to the look out point and Marijana stopped and agreed to wait for us (even though we could be 8 hours or so); the view was somewhat patchy anyway as the cloud was beginning to swirl around the volcano. The rest of us intrepid "athletes" pushed further on and up, a bit further Anna & Eliza decided not to continue (Eliza was feeling light headed, she´d been suffering for a few days, and they were both quite tired and not enjoying the hike). So it was down to the four Brits, Swiss Martin and our Nicaraguan guide. For Queen and Country we soldiered on. By this time we weren´t simply stepping over rocks, as hauling ourselves up massive boulders, using our hands to pull us up and plants around the track to help. Julie an I were at the back, but were happily plodding on, somehow enjoying what we were putting ourselves through; the view had long gone, we were in a damp cloud and couldn´t see up or down ... it was now just a personal achievement to reach the summit and nothing more. For no particular reason the two of us sang "The Wheels on the Bus", still it passed some time, as I plodded an hauled myself further up this horrible volcano. We were still stopping frequently, but at least by this time we weren´t concerned about our water consumption as the sun had long since disappeared with the dense cloud.
I was now well at the back, but still going up, and still finding it amusing (the great British sense of humor!), I was using my hands and arms to haul myself up rocks, using branches as ropes to pull on and keep myself moving.
We reached Black Valley...
This was an area with near vertical sides, and huge black boulders all the way up for as far as the eye could see. There was no grit on track now it was purely moving on all fours over the boulders on our way further up. Twenty minutes later and we´d completed this particular obsticle. More and more and more, boulders and I was dropping further behind, but determined to get to the top, and way too stubborn to give up.
Finally after four hours we´d reached the summit!
Actually we were about 20m short, but it was as close as we could safely get.
There we stood on rocks in the cold cloud, it was somewhat unimpressive and we had the same view we´d had for the past 1.5 hours, we took a photo of us all together and then down came the rain. Hard and cold.
Throwing on our jackets, we turned and started to make the difficult (even more so now due to the weather) descent back to the ground. Within minutes my legs had turned to jelly, and I was now officially not enjoying myself, but I had to get off the volcano, and this was the only way. Martin started telling me about how I should look out for the loose rocks, as they caused his brother to be air lifted of a Mountain in the Alps; and by the way the air rescue wasn´t really an option here. He then also told us of his Uncle who fell into a crevice on an Alps Mountain and wasn´t found untill it was too late ... great, cheers mate!
Still as Julie and I continued on, at the back again, (but this time Martin making sure we kept safe) our conversation turned to potty humour and we were soon having a great laugh.
The rain came down even harder and we stopped, our guide who was only in a t-shirt and jeans had dived under a bush for cover and the rest of us stood there shivering. After a while we decided this was silly and we pressed on. The rain stopping and starting randomly, each time harder than the last.
We got to Black Valley and started slipping our way down that, causing minor land slides with loose rocks as we descended. By now my feet were no longer attached to my body, or so it felt. After 6 hours of cursing we finally made it to the bottom and the van, I was hobbling now and could only walk at a snails pace. I had done it though, and had a manic smile on my face. Back to the hotel we celebrated with a cold beer, hit the showers (cold) had dinner and went to bed absolutely shattered but feeling good about myself.
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Isla de Ometepe
photo by: Clarafina