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Americas Social Forum 2008 

Monday, October 6, 2008

marc vs. the volcano

Right now I feel like Ernesto Guevara on his 39th birthday when he wondered how much longer he could continue on his chosen career path. Maybe I need to hang up the idea of climbing volcanoes. San Pedro just absolutely did me in today. When I summitted Acatenango when I was 23 years old, my fellow climbers said that Guatemalans liked the paths to go straight up so that they could "feel" the volcano. That one almost killed me then, and even tho San Pedro is much lower the equally steep path (up up up) really did me in now that I'm so much older. Equally bad is the descent, with the constant pounding on the body as we lost altitude more quickly than we had gained it earlier in the day. What should have been a 3-hr round trip (about 10 km, I think) took us three times as long. Running out of water and getting sick just adds to the fun.

But, nevertheless, I pocketed another volcano, and in this regard Guatemala treats me much better than Ecuador (where my record is something like 10-1). We had nice views from the top before the clouds quickly moved in (a half hour later and we would not have seen anything). And the hike took us through interesting changes in vegetation, past coffee plantations and corn milpas up into primary forest stands. Plus I got a better picture of the town of San Pedro. It really is a normal town (at least compared to the other ones around the lake), and the only thing that is weird is this tourist district plopped down in front of it in which should be the town's milpas and water front.

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