The next morning we unloaded our bags and began to gradually ascent the sweeping trails up the dormant Volcan de Acatenango. I intelligently paid for a porter, as we’d be hiking a total of 25 miles over two days.
The smoke from the active Volcan de Fuego was already very apparent. The thunderous bellows and falling rocks came later.
Up we went…
Apparently it was not uncommon for stray dogs to follow groups for the entirety of their hike. This little guy was no exception.
After a long day of hiking we began to hear the thunderous roars of the active volcano and were pelted by the occasional spray of falling rocks. Our guide made it clear to us that this was the most active he had ever seen the volcano.
We arrived at base camp exhausted, but hastily set up our tents for the night. We’d be returning to them after our next journey, which was down the adjacent valley and back up the the slopes of Fuego as it blew its brains out on us.
The rightmost peak in this picture was our destination:
The ash cloud cast a shadow over the clouds… and I was on could nine! I couldn’t believe the sight that lay before me. Our guide was just as excited as we were, he restated that in all his time guiding he had never seen anything quite like this.
It would only get better…
Down we went into the valley.
We turned to face the beast before us, and began to be hit by its rocky spatter.
Rain made of rocks:
They were small at first, but they grew larger as we climbed up Fuego’s slopes. Our guide stopped us and debated turning around as the rocks were growing in size. We had come too far to turn around. We all put on some shades and hats to keep them out of our eyes.
Arriving at our destination, we caught glimpse of sunset and the resulting shadow that the massive volcano cast over the city we had departed from that morning.
All the while, Fuego roared on.
As darkness fell we were treated to the sight of a lifetime…