>Look for the signs.
That’s what they told us. The advice for a volcano hike. These signs didn’t have a billboard appearance or even exist physically. But I’ll call them signs:
1. Taxi cab driver doesn’t know where trail entrance is. One a.m. in the morning and he picks up a random bicycler to locate unknown trail.
2. Night full moon hike. How are we supposed to see signs. “if there’s a ‘no’ written on a rock, its the wrong way” Really? Also, what does a smiley face mean painted on a rock?
3. Four of us in total. After 30 minutes into the supposed 4 hour hike, only my headlamp is working.
4. No more trail. We’re looking for footprints or signs of humans. We decided to take a locals trail……trusting Guatemalan trails. Fail. Yes, lost on an active volcano, check that as a new one!
5. Trails ends. We decide that its a good idea to push through the jungle vines, wild, untouched trees/chaotic growth that is almost unimaginable for hours. It always felt like we were almost out or near the summit. Even after climbing a tree 10-15 feet, we still can’t see relief.
So, with our guesstimate of 150 meters to go. We turn back, cutting our losses. Track our own trail back and call it a day. Missed sunrise. Missed the eruption of Santiaguito. Annnnnnndddd might go back tonight.
Need sleep. This traveling thing is intense.
Tips/directions to all of those who’d like to actually summit this 12, 375 ft volcano:
-maybe take your hike through Quetzaltrekkers
-if you want the adventure as well, get dropped off at the tienda in Llano de Pinal (taxi no more than 20Q/person)
–from there, hike up the rocky path.
–when you see a line of 30 or so spiky trees, take the forked road LEFT
–then a sign about Santa Maria shall appear.
–not too long after take a Right, on the left side of the garbage can along the path.
–This is what I’m told. I’m not saying you’ll reach summit, but these directions were given to me after attempt number 1!