El Volcán Pacaya

“You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.  You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.” – Gungor (from the song “Beautiful Things“)

So…I have not done the greatest job of keeping up this blog over the last week or so.  My apologies!  This post is one I’ve been meaning to write for some time and just haven’t gotten posted, so please pardon my tardiness.

Jumping pic atop Volcan Cerro Negro in Nicaragua – January 2013

A little over a week ago, I once again had the opportunity to climb an active volcano.  (Those of you who know me well will remember that I have some experience with volcano climbing from my mission trips to Nicaragua, as evidenced by the photo.)  Although I expected that this would be a new experience, I was surprised by how different the climb was from the journey up Cerro Negro – much less volcanic ash and rock and much more dirt.  And horse poop everywhere – because people there rent out horses to take you up the volcano and then if you say no at the beginning, they follow you for a while hoping you will tire out quickly and change your mind.  But, though different, this was definitely a beautiful experience!

I know you’re all dying to see the photos, but first I want to give just a little bit of background about El Volcán Pacaya.  Though there are many volcanoes in Guatemala – including Volcán Pacaya, Volcán de Fuego, Volcán de Agua, and Volcán Acatenango, among others, Volcán Pacaya is one of the most active volcanoes in this region.  In fact, there records of eruptions dating as early as 1524.  And there were 14 recorded major eruptions (and many smaller eruptions) recorded between 1961 and 2002.

We actually did not summit this volcano – as it is too dangerous currently to climb all the way to the top. You can even see smoke in a few of my photos.  (But don’t worry Mom – I am safe from any threat this volcano might impose.)

Without further ado, the photos…

A little pep talk from our guide before we began the climb…
And the climb begins…
The whole group taking a break mid-climb
Nature’s beauty!
Finca Missionaries pic (sans Marie – she did not come with us).


I’m not quite sure if what you see at the top of the volcano in this picture is clouds or smoke – because there definitely was smoke visible.
“…It’s the cliiiiiiiiiimb!” – Miley Cyrus (I know, I know – I did just reference that song)
We finally got up high enough to have a good view


Here’s where we really began to see the volcanic rock
Wait…are those what I think they are?!

Yes, those are exactly what you think they are: angelitos (more commonly known as marshmallows).  Because Pacaya is an active volcano, there was heat rising up from beneath the rocks and we could roast marshmallows (flavored ones, at that!) in minutes. We went through a whole bag within half an hour.

Ready to eat!
Cooked…err…roasted to perfection!
We were enjoying ourselves just a little! (Left to Right: Me, Allison – fellow missionary, Kathrin – housemate)


It got dark rather quickly – I think we spent more time roasting marshmallows that we were supposed to…oops!
Another beautiful view!
Antigua all lit up at night!

And yes, we did have to climb down in the dark, if you were wondering.  Good thing we had a guide…and good thing I was walking with Verónica because the flashlight feature on her phone lit up our path!

Yet another beautiful climb.  And a good workout too!

Spanish Words of the Day: volcán = volcano, activa = active 🙂

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  1. Your blog could become a book. Have you thought of a career in journalism. You write so well.

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  2. It looked like there was a lot more vegetation at the start of this climb than there was in Nicaragua which seemed fairly barren. True? About how far up the volcano did you get? I love the fact that you were able to roast marshmallows, but where was the chocolate and graham crackers?

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  3. It looked awesome but sort of scary coming back in the dark. That is the advantage of youth, I guess. Miss you. Praying for you everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. No actually I have not considered that. I enjoy writing, but just for me. And just about topics I am passionate about or things that have to do with my life. I am glad the blog is interesting to read – that is my goal.


  5. Yes! Much more vegetation and the soil was moist instead of dusty for most of the climb. We got maybe half or 2/3 of the way up I think…not sure exactly. We were higher and then went down a bit to this other area to roast the marshmallows. And good question – only graham crackers and chocolate could have made those marshmallows taste better!


  6. Yes! Definitely sort of scary. Thank goodness for the flashlight apps on phones these days! I totally would have fallen and broken something. It was so so dark! But that was just part of the adventure! Thank you for your prayers! Miss you too!


  7. Hi Melanie,

    It looks like you are having a great time. We miss you at St.Cletus. Julie says hello! Keep up the good work. God loves you and stuff.


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Bob! I am having a wonderful time! Life is a whirlwind, but all of my experiences here have been beautiful! I miss you all too and am praying for you! I did not manage to get a letter out to you for you to read on the retreat next weekend, so an e-mailed letter will have to do. I’ll be sending that to you this week! Give Julie and the kids my love and the teens and CORE as well! Prayers and hugs!


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