Sunday, July 8, 2007

Volcan Pacaya

The climb up the volcano was long and we used the services of some local young men and their horses. Along the trail we had a great view of a nearby lake and a geothermal power plant, that harnesses the heat from the volcano. The trail wound through a forest and there were numerous tiendas, where it was possible to buy drinks and snacks. Eventually we exited the forest into the lava fields. This was as far as the horses could go. Walking on the dried lava was difficult. We kept cracking the crust and the rocks were very sharp.
We saw numerous formations in the dried lava. It was fun to picture what the scene would have looked like while the lava was still flowing. We soon reached an area scattered with very hot vents. They were lined with powdery sulphur and the air was super hot. Our guide threw a stick down into one of the vents and it laid there for about 15 seconds and then spontainiously combusted right before our eyes.

Our guide had told us that no one had seen flowing lava for 3 days and he wasn't very hopeful for us to be able to see it. We let him know that we really wanted to and he told us if we we willing to climb high enough and far enough he would do his best to guide us there. The whole area was so interesting that it was no hardship to climb further.

The further we went the more of our group turned back. It was really hard going. Eventually it was Joanna, Tyler, Hannah and our guide Ronny who made it to the head of the lava flow. It was located about 100 yards below the crater, and was about 20 yards wide. The flow was picking up dried lava rocks as it went, so it was realy slow. At the head it was about the size of a large van and was rolling along at a very slow pace.

We took turns posing in front of the lava flow but because of the flow picking up up at the crater, large lava balls kept flying down the hill that we would have to run out of the way of. Joanna and I had a goal of melting the bottoms of our shoes on lava and I am glad to report that we were successful.

I don't know how to describe the heat. The whole time we were within sight of the lava you could feel it in the air. When we got to within 20 yards of it, it felt like when you open the oven door and are standing too close. You could spend a few seconds there but then would have to retreat.

I am sure that many of you are wondering if I am alright in the head. Not only taking myself to this spot but bring Joanna and Hannah with me. We just thought we had come all this way and there was a person willing to guide us to see it. It wasn't an opportunity that we could pass up. It was an awsome example of God's power. The view from the top was like nothing I had ever seen before. We were higher than many of the clouds around us. We had views of surrounding volcanos and valleys. Right below our location was a field filled with horses that looked to be the size of tiny ants. The whole experience was amazing and will be something none of us will ever forget.


Whindy said...

What an awesome experience. Hannah, you were amazingly brave to get that close to lava......and incredibly determined to have climbed that high. Way to go!
Miss you!
Mrs. Whinfield

Annie said...

Wow, that is just amazing! Hahaha, I know you're right in the head Tyler, don't worry. It would have been really cool to see, but scary!