"Preparing" for the Trek-- Because Unless You're Running Marathons Every Other Day, You're Not Preparing!
For those of you who don’t know, MegaPaca is this awesome second hand thrift store that also receives all the excess clothes that didn’t sell in the States. For example, say the Gap can’t get a certain style of sweaters off the shelves in time for a new products arrival. So they send it to MegaPacka to make room for new products and MegPacka sells you this $50 sweatshirt for Q25—or $3.50. It’s any shoe-string budget traveler's heaven!
On the Micro Bus back I got to doing what I do best: planning. From what shoes I was going to wear down to what I was going to eat the day of. God forbid I should go to the Friday Night Potluck and find my body riddled with food poisoning at the top of the Volcano. Later that day I spoke with one of the teachers at my school, Mary, who I knew had recently conquered the Volcano. It was there that I received my first real bit of information about the trek I miraculously decided I’d be taking.
At the summit, hikers have a crystal clear view of the Central America Volcanic Arc that includes active Santiaguito (and many others) which is considered to be a vent for Santa Maria and also the most active Volcano in Central America.
Trekking the Monstrosity
We started hiking at 12:40AM.
We reached the summit at 6:03AM.
We may have escaped the wind, but there was no escaping the cold: our Iphones blacked out, unable to function in such a harsh environment. Even my Android had problems. Our prepacked ham and cheese sandwiches froze solid, as did my granola bar and a friend's bottle of water. The forecast had told me it would be 41 degrees with 8mph winds at the top-- I swear it lied. I've never experienced cold that cold in my life! Granted, I'm from Florida but I was not the only one still shivering underneath two pairs of pants, a sweatshirt, a jacket, a beanie, gloves and 2 hoods.
It took all of what little energy we had left to dart out from the rocks, snap a few photos of the sunrise and race back into shelter. Asking someone to take a photo of you was like asking them to commit suicide: it required that the other person leave our boulder shelter, de-glove a thumb and risk exposure to the winds and brutal cold. No joke! It was not something us exhausted, malnourished and sleep deprived hikers asked lightly.
Though the trek up was difficult, the trek down was excruciating. Here's why: hiking up required physical and mental endurance to push on-wards. Since the summit was still waiting, the motivation was easy to find. But on the way down we were battling sleep deprivation (24 hours for most of us) and the physical pain in our toes, ankles and knees without the goal of reaching the summit to motivate us. We were all suddenly a lot more prone to bitching and tripping. Simply put: we wanted this hike to be over. And it didn't help our egos any when the local women came scurrying along with their picnic bags and sandals either!
The Full Moon Santa Maria Hike took:
5 hours and 20 minutes up
3 hours to hike back down
burned 3,401 calories
was 12.81 miles long
and took 2 days recovery!