At the crack of dawn we stumbled out of bed to the annoying sound of our alarm clock and roosters. After scarfing down a chocolate muffin, a croissant and a couple cookies we were energized and ready to climb a volcano. Or so we thought. We headed out the door with confidence and lots of optimism for the day that lie ahead of us. We arrived at the meeting point and waited for the rest of the group to arrive. After talking to the guide – Francisco – he assured us that this will not a walk in the park. Still feeling confident we set off on our way.
As we made it out of town and onto the main road, we were already dripping with sweat and having second thoughts. This was not even the beginning. To reach the entrance to the park was about a 35 minute battle constantly uphill. Once we reached the top of one hill there was another one just around the bend. Confidence was down and optimism was low, we were starting to realize that this was going to be a long and grueling day.
Once we reached the park entrance we automatically collapsed onto a bench and guzzled half a litre of water. The guide gave us a short break to recuperate from not even the beginning of the main walk. Soon enough we were on our feet and ready to go. What came next was 3.5 hours of grueling, muscle burning, physical and psychological exhaustion.
Every step we took required so much energy and it was hard not to just stop and turn around. Every 10 – 15 minutes Carling repeated that she was done and could no longer continue. I reassured her that she can make it and to just keep going slowly. After 1.5 hrs we were at the half way point, and that was the easy part. Francisco let us know that it just got harder from here on. Exasperated, Carling said “This view is good enough for me…”
Two and a half hours of moaning and groaning, step after step of burning quads, stinging calves, buckets of sweat and a few pep talks we finally made it to the summit of San Pedro volcano, standing 3,020 meters (9,850 ft) tall. We were rewarded with one of the most magnificent and breathtaking (whatever we had left) views of our lives. It was definitely worth it. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with completing the most physically and mentally demanding thing we have ever done is indescribable. We will spare you the gory details of the way back down. With swollen feet and sore knees we are planning to sit in our rocking chairs and watch the sun go down.
PS. Seriously though, we cannot put into words how hard this was and how exhausted we are at the moment. We need you to know this.