Friday, February 3, 2012

Volcano Concepcion

My guide Luis, who I met at the docks, booked for me a hike up the volcano Concepcion. At first he was to be my guide, however in the morning he showed up to the hostel (on time) which a bad cough. He had it when I first met him, but it had gotten worst. There was no way he could do a strenuous hike in any altitude. He had a backup plan; his best friend Nine would lead the hike.

We met Nine down the street at another hostel where a nice Danish couple joined the expedition. The young lady was a dead ringer for Gweneth Paltrow and her boyfriend very tall and skinny. She and I hit it off; she is a cardiac nurse with a very kind spirit. Her boyfriend was not as talkative, a civil engineer, specializing in bridges.

The 4 of us were a good team up the volcano. I the oldest and fattest was the slowest, but I did not keep them waiting. We made it up the volcano in about 5 hours, with a few water a cookie breaks. We saw many monkeys and parrots. Just the howl monkeys; the white faced capuchins stayed hidden.

We made it past the base, and past the treeline. Above the treeline the view was obscured by fog and clouds, and the wind was very dangerous, so dangerous that all 4 of us agreed it was not safe to go to the very top. The top is made of rock scrim which is very slippery in the fog and wind and completely unstable. This is a classic cone volcano that is steepest at the top, and still active. The last eruption was in 1957, however, there still rises active gasses and sulfer vents. Last year a German tourist was overcome by the gasses and fell off the mountain.

My pictures are not great, mostly of fog.

After sandwiches and Oreos (I have been eating a lot of Oreos) we headed back down the mountain. We were about an hour early for the chicken bus, so we called a taxi bus. Our guide had negotiated a deal on the mountain, nut this driver attempted to rip us off in city. I was fine; I had pre-paid my rate to Nine. But in the ensuing argument with the driver and Nine, Peter (the civil engineer) though he gave 500 c to the driver, and was getting very angry. The driver disappeared leaving our party of 4 in the street. It got a little ugly, since Peter though he was misted ripped off, but in a moment, he found his money, and apologized in embarrassment. Nine and I high tailed it to the other end of town where Luis (still coughing) met us at the bar, and many beers were had. We joked about the hike, and since I was about 20 years older than these guys, we were amigos, me just a brother. We joked about their girlfriends, and us tourists, and the 2 of them tried to keep making business deals all night long with other tourists and myself. I conceded - I booked a second tour for the next day with Nine, to see the waterfall 80m!) and the other volcano. And 4 hours later Peter and his girl came and apologized again. It is an island - word gets out quick of all the dirt.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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