Preface: During my second week of school, I caught a cold. It came on fast and strong, but only lasted two days.
The following Saturday, I decided it was time to attempt the climb to Indian Nose.
There were four students from the school. The school’s gardener, Delfino, agreed to be our guide. We left at 7:00 a.m.
The path climbed steeply from the get-go. After about 40 minutes of hiking through coffee fields we arrived at the first summit where a cross and Virgin Mary stand to protect the town. This is fairly typical in this part of the world.
I was already breathing hard, both from the climb and a bit of cold residue. But I decided to go for it. We continued to climb steeply for another hour when we reached a lookout halfway to the summit.
By now I felt my diminished aerobic capacity as well as overcare in slowing down the group. We continued on to about two-thirds of the way up. At that point, a trail goes off to Santa Clara on the other side of the mountain and a much higher starting point. I decided to return to San Juan and said goodbye to the group. I had to make peace with my “hiker” self-image, ego, blah blah blah; but I did and hoped to return again.
Fast forward about a week.
Two days ago, I planned to go the Xela (Quetzaltenango) for a day trip. Xela (the Maya name and pronounced “shay-la”) is the second largest city in Guatemala, and located well up in the highlands. I packed for a day trip and stopped in town for breakfast, grabbing the last table. Two women came in and I invited them to join me. They are sisters, Yolanda and Carmen, both teachers from Switzerland. We had a great time getting to know each other and spent almost 2 hours in the restaurant. As a result, I missed the 8:00 and 9:00 chicken buses to Xela and caught the last 10:30 bus.
So I am riding the bus up the hills above Lago de Atitlan, bumping along, and thinking by the time I get to Xela, I’ll only have an hour or so to look around before I have to catch a bus back. I decide to get off in Santa Clara and attempt a solo Indian Nose Summit from the back side.
I followed directions and walked for about 10 minutes out of town. I found the unmarked trail and began a much shorter, but still steep climb. After 15 minutes, I was treated to a great view of San Pablo and the lake below.
I was getting excited now! I could feel that my goal was at last attainable. I continued to climb and after 20 more minutes I reached the summit.
So I hung out for about 20 minutes in deep appreciation for myself, the incredible beauty, the people of Guatemala and the field environment in general. There was no one else there and I just soaked in the heart of the moment.
And then up the trail from San Juan come those intrepid alpine trekkers, Carmen and Yolanda.
Needless to say we had a happy reunion. Then we did a little rock climbing.
Then more time was spend laughing, telling stories and of course taking fun photos.
Well, a couple more hours and then one last group photo before the decent.
Later, over dinner in San Pedro, we made plans for a reunion in Nicaragua or Costa Rica.Tweet