Jake Gordon

Almost Dead

28 July 2003

But I’m not, which is good. Climbed Volcano Agua just south of Antigua yesterday, camped out at the top, then climbed back down again today. Quite a bit tougher than San Pedro volcano, about an hour longer to get to the top of this one. Went up with Mossi, some Irish bloke. We started the hike at around midday, and it was pretty hard going. We had plenty of supplies with us though, which was good, although also made our bags heavier. Went right through the clouds about half way up, and stayed in them all the way to the top. Which was damn cold, and its a good thing we got there when we did, because it got much worse straight after.

At the top there were radio masts and little huts - we knocked on one of the doors and asked how much it would cost to stay. Just a quid each, in the same room as him, whilst he played/worked on the two way radio. Pretty damn cool! Played cards loads, and practiced my Spanish… I was quite impressed with that.

At 5.20am we woke up for the sunrise, having not seen the sunset because it was so damn cold and cloudy outside. Sunrise was sweet. Although not as spectacular as the one at Lake Atitlan a week or so ago, this one was experienced above the clouds!!!

The Lonely Planet (aka ‘bible’) said to take a guide (at a cost of around 10 squids each, yeah right!) partly because we were likely to be raped or robbed by machette wielding armed bandits along the route. Thankful none crossed our path, although we made a ‘slight’ error on the way down when we kinda lost the path and decided to go down the marginally steeper part… which got steeper… and steeper, etc. Crap! We were climbing down these stupids rocks, rocks as soft as anything, and falling away as we stepped on them and grabbed them for support. And it just kept getting worse. Plus the fact we could only see about 10 metres what with being in the clouds and all. Well, we got down to one bit, and we looked down and no bloody way were we ever going to get down there. So we looked the other way and were about to start climbing a 10m sheer face when we decided we didn’t particarly want to die today, so bit our lips and had to climb back up the daunting rocks we’d just climbed down… without all those loose bits of rock which we’d already kicked away. Bliming scary stuff, but we eventually got up to a bit then crossed over to some grassy type stuff.

Oh, but that wasn’t the end! We had to climb across this shit for ages. At first we were climbing down, hoping we’d rejoin the path at some point. But then we got to a load of trees and bushes which not even Indy himself could cross. So we had to go all the bloody way back up again. Argh! And the path just wasn’t there. So we decided we’d just sit there and let nature take care of us… then decided that was a bit silly, so kept on climbing. Finally, after about an hour’s detour, we found the path!!! Needless to say we were pretty damn happy about that one. We were alive and in once piece, and you can’t complain about that. We sorta decided to take the easy route the rest of the way.

Going to Honduras at 4am. Hopefully won’t be quite as silly as I was today.

Next: Honduras Previous: School's out for summer!!!

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by Jake Gordon, some rights reserved