Quetzaltenango(Xela), Highpointing Central America at Volcan Tajumulco

Things are well, Terry and I went to visit the most mountainous region of Guatemala at Quetzaltenango but all the locals call it Xela (Shea-la). Really, I hadnt planned to do anymore serious hiking but when I learned that the highest point in Central America was just a few miles from where I was I decided that an ascent was imminent. I think I need a 12 step program, Hikers Anonymous.

On Monday I dragged poor Terry around from trekking service to trekking service to find someone that was willing to do what I wanted, when I wanted and how I wanted it done. I have never heard "Its not possible" so many times in my life. Finally I found a place called Atlantida Travel on 14 Av. that was willing to help me out. Hansy, the trekking arranger, said he would make a few phone calls and came up with a wonderful man named Mynor who was willing to meet my at 5AM on Tuesday and run me around in more than a few chicken busses to get me where I needed to be. Thank you both!!!!

Now these numbers are estimates at best as I am doing conversions, but the Volcan Tajumulco is 4220 meters high which is 4220mx3.3ft/m= 13,926 ft. We started around 9800 feet yielding a 4100 feet rise, 5 miles up 6 miles back(different return trip). Now if you read the rest of the blog one would assume that this should be a piece of cake for ole Cham. Wrong!

I learned things are a little different at 13900 feet than they are at 4000 feet. Needless to say I spent most of the hike gasping for air. Mynor must have thought I was a hiking lightweight. It took me 5.5 hours to get to the top, but I redeemed myself by only taking 2 hours on the downhill. If you are wondering what the top of the Volcan looks like here it is:

The place is really beautiful, nobody was there other than a few local people and their mules, some collecting firewood. Kudos to Mynor for putting up with me and chasing the chicken busses.

Right now I am back at Panajachel getting my laundry done and I just made arrangement to fly to Tekal tomorrow from Guate City. Terry left yesterday to return since his play is opening in Camden on Friday, I wish him luck with it.

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