The hikey people are back! We were almost lost roaming empty Western Australia beaches and flat-bottomed gorges where hiking boots, not to mention hiking pants, became obsolete and turned into space-wasting items I did not wish to carry anymore.
After a devastating realisation (panting during salsa classes) of how out of shape we truly were the hiking adventures started to scare me. What if climbing Acatenango is a repeat try from 8 years ago in Bali where we set out to climb Gunung Agung during the rainy season and I was not exactly fit for it after weeks of partying in Kuta? Me and my friends still refer to this adventure with disgust and resentment because after climbing three hours in pitch black dark, heavy rain, holding onto a torch while trying to climb vertical rocks we had to turn back. Because it was dangerous. Because “we don’t really recommend doing this during the rainy season” (after they took our money). Screw you Agung.
Luckily Acatenango could not have been more different. Good paths, sunny weather and professional hiking gear got us to the base camp in about 4 hours. Steep climb and definitely not an easy one, not sure if the Bali-me would have made it so effortlessly.
The only thing left to do at the base camp is to look at the Volcano Fuego and take photos. Sometimes I wish I’d have more patience to figure things out well before I have an actual need for it and this time it was my precious camera. I sat on our hostel googling “how to take volcano photos” and a staff member was happy to show me couple of things. And only this way, 7 months after buying the camera, did I found out that my camera actually has shutter speeds up to 60 seconds (I thought 1 second was the longest..). Now I mourn for all the amazing starry sky photos I could have taken in Western Australia!
So, considering I just learned this and never actually experimented with longer exposure times I’d say couple of these volcano photos turned up quite nicely. Of course I missed at least five massive eruptions that would have made even greater photos but then again I heard some people going up there multiple times and before getting the money-shot. I don’t think I have the patience to become an actual photographer, too much waiting around with your thumb on the launcher. Although this part got much comfier when I discovered I can actually use my phone to take the pics remotely. No more sitting on the ground finger placed on the shutter! Downside was that campfire chats distracted me from the volcano and thus I missed many of the opportunities Fuego offered us that night.
Second part of the Acatenango-trip is to wake up around 3.30am to hike to the top (3,973 m) to watch the sunrise. Climbing volcanic sand should be familiar to us after Mt. Doom excursion but doing it in the dark without snow adds some excitement to it.
When you finally make it to the top, you freeze your balls of. I brought all the warm clothes I have with me and got a proper jacket from the hostel and I was still struggling at the top. Wind makes -2 C feel like – 15 and taking photos is another type of challenge when you don’t want to take your gloves off. The views are definitely worth all of the suffering and I am just glad we got to see so much as some groups only see clouds or even worse, they get rained on for two full days in addition to not seeing anything..