Volcan Pacaya

One Antigua morning we woke up early to join a group to hike Volcan Pacaya, an active volcano about an hour and a half away. Pacaya's last eruption was exactly one year ago today, covering the surrounding areas in ash. We experienced no such excitement when we were there, though we could see smoke coming from the crater. We'd heard from others that you could hike all the way to the crater and peer into the lava (if you dare) or at least take some pictures standing next to active lava flows, but the upper hike to the crater wasn't allowed by the time we got there and the lava flows had stopped since the last eruption. The hike was still fun though and our guide was entertaining - he had a pet name for our group (the Pumas) and spoke limited English save for phrases like "OK Pumas! Let's go Pumas! We're running DOWN, lean back Pumas! Lean back!!" Then he'd take off down the gravelly path, dividing our group into the downhill runners or the I-prefer-not-to-break-my-leg people.

This one followed us up.
Stray dogs were everywhere. They'd figured out that hikers eat their lunch at the top of the volcano so they'd attach themselves to the first troop heading up and then stay at the top until the end of the day, waiting for scraps.

We got to hike over sharp lava fields, which made me worry how my hiking shoes would hold up - these are some rocks you definitely wouldn't want to fall on.

A volcanic specimen.

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