Thursday, October 8, 2009

Beyond the Plantations...

Awesome hike up the mountains, past the plantations.

This morning we woke up at 4:45 and got up and ready to go up the mountain. We had to get up at that ungodly hour because there is one free truck-ride up to the plantations, and if we missed it we'd have to walk.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect... but... at this point I've learned to expect the unexpected.

The truck ride was interesting. Picture a big truck... one that is spacious enough to have about fifty Guatemalans plantation workers in the back. Then put them in the back. Then put two gringos in, just for kicks. Really, I was a bit unimpressed with the results. Sure, I was standing literally body-to-body with those around me and I elbowed a few people in the head and every bump made me a bit fearful I'd fall off, but how is that any different than riding on the Seoul subway system during rush hour? Well, I guess the difference is if you lose your balance on a subway you don't fall out of the subway train.

There were great views going up.

So one of Kyle's jobs in Guatemala is to take measurements of the volcano emissions. He's the guy that says, "Hey, that volcano's acting as if it's going to explode. I'm going to warn people so it doesn't kill us all."

Volcan Santa Maria y Santiguito

After the truck dropped us off. We hiked up the mountain about a half hour, maneuvering off path at the last moment. I was a bit skeptical when we trekked down a thickly vegetated slope, but it opened up into a high, rocky waterfall. We were at the top.

A little scary, but very cool.

Kyle then spoke of another waterfall, one that required a small trek up through the jungle. The "small" trek turned out to be... a bit rougher than planned. Several times, we tried to climb down through the foliage, only to realize that it would be a vertical drop off a few feet in. Nevertheless, it was fun.

I filmed some of it, if you care to watch. It's eight minutes long and might give you a headache, just to warn you. I sound weird, sort of like I'm doing a really bad impression of Ray Romano. Is that what I sound like all the time? Anyway, I watched this and was a bit unimpressed. It's just not the same as feeling the thorns digging into your legs or wondering if the next branch you grab is going to tear out and you'll slide down into the mud or fall into an ant hill or... well, you get the idea. But seriously, this was one of the few times in my life I sincerely wished I had a machete, not because it'd be awesome, but because it would be oddly and sincerely practical.

The first falls you see is what I described above.
The second is the more... adventurous of the two.

Anyway, when we finally made it though, it opened up into a beautiful, tall waterfall... it was eerily awesome.

I can't believe I didn't get a wide-angle shot of the whole thing. I guess pictures never really do these types of things justice, anyway.

Good times.


Book Look Column Author said...

wow - you are getting the total Guat package dear fellow. I must say I do love your pants - that I chose for you and oddly match your friend Kyle.Watch out when it rains, those paths are mudslides.

Donna said...

Hi Jacob- the shoes look great! The waterfall is incredible! We miss you! Say Hi to Kyle.
Be careful!

Donna said...

Hi Uncle Jacob,
That waterfall was totally wicked Awesome! Noah