Volcano climb number 15347

Trip Start Jan 23, 2007
Trip End Dec 24, 2007

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Wahoo - our final weekend in Granada was a corker!

Having Volcan Mombacho loom over us for the past 7 weeks has been a real annoyance - mainly because the days that it was perfectly clear and just ripe for the climbing, were the very days when we were unable to do so.

And so it was, that the day we decided to climb its 1300 odd meters, our 7am start was greeted with some low cloud cover and uninspiring views. Suitably encouraged, went set off anyway with a couple of our housemates, Katie from Houston & Monica from Lithuania, and got to the correct place at the correct time to board the Unimog (think the big army trucks you pass on the desert road) that was going to do all the climbing for us.

The ride to the top started off easily enough - the cobbled road gently sloping up through coffee plantations to the first stop made the Unimog seem a bit overkill, but the rutted, muddy and incredibly steep track that followed it made us grateful that we getting the ride. The views on the way up were quite limited by the bush cover, and belied the distance we had climbed.

Once we arrived at the top, we took a moment in the visitors centre to look at a large number of snakes and other creepy animals, all lovingly preserved in jars of formaldehyde. The visitors centre was very much like any number of tramping huts in New Zealand, so we felt very much at home.

Unfortunately, we had to wait about an hour for a guide to take us on the longer of the nature walks, so we did one of the shorter trails first. While not exactly strenuous, the short walk did offer great views over Granada, the lake and nearby Laguna de Apoyo, so we returned to the visitors centre ready for our guided walk.

Unfortunately for us, our guide turned out to be a Canadian volunteer who, while very likeable and talkative, didn't know a thing about the flora and fauna, or least didn't let on that he knew anything.
Coupled with this was our need to catch the last Unimog down the hill at 4 o'clock, and we were starting a 4 hour walk at 12.40, we powered around the course fearing we would be late. When we stopped, or dropped back to enjoy the bush, once we caught up with the group they were all anxious to charge off again. All this power-walking had the net result of the walk taking just over 2 hours and us getting back to the visitors centre about an hour earlier than we needed to. The others were full of 'yeah we walked it so fast' - we were slightly disappointed.

This disappointment was exacerbated because walking through 'cloud forest', as they call it here, looks and feels incredibly similar to bush back home - right down to the ferns and mosses, the gravel track and the moist leaf mould on the ground. It was a bit strange, as Sam in particular had always thought our bush to be very unique - not so it seems.

However, on the bright side, the weather and temperature up there was decidedly Kiwi, so we were able to relax in the cool for an hour before heading back down to Granada.

Sunday - well we slept in for hours, checked our emails and returned home to relax! Nada mas!
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