Wednesday, May 5, 2010

La Cima - The Summit

It amazed me that no one asked what the summit of Volcan Santa Maria was like! I was waiting to save it for Part 2.

So, here it is:
Wet, cool, and slightly ashy I was still a happy camper.

You have to imagine though, for a moment approaching the misty, rocky top and hearing chanting, singing, and wailing here and there. Generally only the women wailed. But, you can't see anything yet. Evangelicalism with twists of Maya at it's best!
Take a good look at the photo above. Helena and Carolina are approaching me and there is a large circle of figures to their left. That's one of the three church services that were taking place as we created our own sacred place to thank the manys, eat some food and descanso (relax).
Most of the rocks where covered with white letters of prayers or expressions of love. Both to God and to Christ and to Carlos or Juan or Maria. Cristo (Christ) was the most popular.  
Even though the active Santiaguito Volcano is around the corner, the wind picked up and I got the chills. Suddenly and forcefully. What a surprise! But, I got to enjoy my first peanut and jelly sandwich, which was a religious enough experience!
Ash fell lightly and peacefully along with light rain. Occasional bursts from Santiaguito reminded us that, despite the thick mist and clouds, there were toxic sulfuric fumes plumed into the air every half hour or so. We stayed only a half hour. People get sick up their from breathing the air. At 10,000 and some change feet, I was feeling fine.
On our hike down, the air began to oh-so-slowly clear. But it was clear enough to see the tops of one of the mighty pines...which we couldn't make out on the way up...reminded me a little of Avatar. I'm a dreamer...

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