Tuesday, November 08, 2005

that volcano was a bitch

yeah, so it´s two days post-volcano hike and my legs are a hurtin´. we started out around 7:30 a.m. on sunday. my group reached the top around 1:00 or so which was about an hour behind the fastest people in our crew and about 30 minutes faster than the slowest. why i do these things, i have no idea because as i stood at the base of nearly every switchback, i was like ¨are you EVEN kidding me?¨ because i´d be staring at the most vertical of vertical trails i´ve ever been on in my life. mossy, wet rocks lined the trail near the top, and it was insanely dangerous.i didn´t really know what to expect from the volcano, but it exceeded my expectations in every area. first off, i wasn´t expecting such an awesome change in the biodiversity as we climbed higher. it was really hot and muggy near the bottom where we started. as we got into the area that is home to the coffee trees and other fauna it began to look more and more like a rainforest, but it also got a lot colder. i expected the colder climate, but not the humongous trees and vines and orchids. most of the time it was hard to really appreciate everything because i was very sure my lungs were going to collapse right there on the trail - but during our (frequent) stops, i tried to examine the plantlife around me. so, i was saying before how chinchontopec has two peaks - well, we climbed the higher ¨chichë.¨ we were saying how we should get t-shirts made that said ¨we climbed the chiche¨ but then we decided maybe not, because when we actually wear them in el salvador, people would stare at us and we would offend people because basically in english it would mean ¨we climbed the boob.¨ and also, people might wonder which chiche we actually climbed, because there are two. anyway, i´m rambling. but i just wanted to put down in the record books that i actually made it to the top and back and although i was SO over the volcano by the time we reached the bottom (at 5:00 p.m.), now i´m actually looking back on the hike with fondness.

later this afternoon we are going to hear the story of the sole survivor of the massacre by the salvadoran army at el mazote (in morazan) during the civil war here. it´s going to be really hard to listen to, and i´m not looking forward to being depressed. but it´s pretty incredible that she´s coming to speak to us about it. our training has focused a lot on the history and politics of el salvador the past couple of weeks which has helped a lot of us understand the situation during the civil war more.

tomorrow the environmental ed group is going to denninger park, which is in a protected forest area near the beach. i´m pretty excited about that. then on friday we get to start our travel weekend......the beach. not much else has been going on...just recovery from the volcano. it´s weird because here, during training, if nothing really happens for just, like, one day - i´m thinking ¨nothing´s really been going on.¨ whereas, in the states, if i did one major thing a month, it was SOMETHING. we´ve just got so much going on during training. i´m sure when we get to our sites, things will slow down majorly. we´ll see though............

lastly, i´m going to try and post pictures from suchitoto and field based training on the entries where i wrote about them.....so look for those pics. and when i snag pictures of the volcano hike from aaron, i´ll post them too!!!


one of the trail views

view from about a quarter of the way up

view from somewhere near the top

courtney and i somewhere on the trail