Wednesday, March 21, 2007

la luna llena en apaneca

so on the 3rd was the full moon hike at my site and i decided to take everyone to laguna las ninfas, since it is pretty much my favorite place in all of el salvador. it's a pretty easy hike, it only takes about an hour to get to the top and to the place where we camped. anyway, the day of the hike i still really wasn't sure how many people were coming up. i knew the core – about seven of us from my group – were for sure gonna be there. and i had gotten a couple random text messages and e-mails from some volunteers from the newer ag4/ee group that swore in in november of last year saying they were coming, as well as a couple people from other groups. but 'round about 6:30 p.m., there were about 20 people that showed up! like i said before, it was a little overwhelming....everyone in my house, walking through apaneca, eating at the pupuseria. it was totally an invasión américano. antonio came too and i think he was even more overwhelmed than i was, just because i don't think he ever thought that in his lifetime he'd be hiking up to the top of laguna las ninfas in the middle of the night with 20 peace corps volunteers. but he was a trooper and was the real guide of the hike. i'm sure you all know by now (from all my previous entries about hiking), i'm not the fastest of hikers and prefer to catch my breath and hike slow than see who can make it to the top fastest. sure, that might be code for "my ass is slow," but that's just the way it goes and you know, what's the big deal – we all end up at the same place anyway....what does it matter who is up there first or not?

so as we made our way through the pueblo, we were approached by one of apaneca's finest bolos, who was probably dumbstruck at the huge group of us with our backpacks and headlamps headed his way. after passing him and his loud rants about us being his amigos and all that, we crossed the highway and headed up the dirt road and trail to the laguna. i stayed towards the back with courtney and mark and when we caught up to the rest of the group at the laguna, they were all standing on the wall (built on one side of the laguna to keep the water inside) in this huge line like a sentinel, with their headlamps pointed at us. then somebody took a picture of us emerging from the steps leading from the dried-up creek bed. we were like "what the hell??" so then we made our way through the forest and up to the top of the mountain and it was so beautiful. it was the night of the lunar eclipse, so the moon still had a bit of the red coloring to it (the actual full-on eclipse had ocurred around 5:00 p.m. or so, so we missed that). the valley where juayua is located was lit up so beautifully by the moon and the lights of that pueblo, and you could see the volcanoes shrouded in the clouds in the moonlight.

we hiked a bit farther up and found a camping spot. we set up the tent, hauled up some rocks to make a campfire pit, gathered leña and mark started the fire. soon enough we were opening our bottles of wine and boozing it up while listening to bluegrass and it was such a great time. again, i think antonio was a bit taken aback at our idea of fun – but it's just because salvadorans don't really do this type of thing. but he was enjoying himself and after he got used to the idea of us putting marshmallows on the ends of sticks and sticking them in the fire, all was good (you realize how american you are when you do something like this and salvadorans look at you like you're crazy....haha).

that night was mighty cold, and the wind moved in somewhere in the early morning (yes, the same wind i was talking about earlier that lasted for three days and nearly took off half the roofs in apaneca). the view of the volcanoes and the valley the next morning was beautiful and we made it down the mountain with no problems. despite the wind, it was a bright and sunny day and i realized that i really had the best weather for the hike (it actually rained this past saturday, which would have SUCKED for the thank god the rain came a week later than the hike....). it was fun hosting the hike, but i have to admit, it's kind of stressful having everyone come to your site (especially such a huge number) and expecting you to show them a good time, you know? everyone who came though was totally awesome and super chill and i had a great time hangin' with all of them....couldn't have asked for a better group of people to share the hike with!

megan, york and anna

me, courtney and kate (and smoke)

molineros x´s 3!

antonio trying to avoid the campfire smoke

¨the core¨ (hee hee), tara, kate, york, courtney, mark

the beautiful view the next morning overlooking the valley and volcanoes

the silhouettes of kate, me, courtney and tara (kate´s not really that gigantor tall....just happened to be standing on a rock..)

the amate tree down by the laguna. kate and tara are trying to climb up to it. yes, the tree is THAT big!