We ventured far into a pitch black cave; Up to our eyes with water, we dodged stalactites that dripped small droplets echoing through the cavern, building the suspense with every step we took. The shiny walls gave some perspective of dimension, but every advancing movement was a risk in itself. Walking and swimming through the river inside the mountain with candles had an uncanny affect on me. A personal scary moment was the climb up a rope, upstream a waterfall within the damp atramentous cave. The only thing illuminating my side expedition was a candle dangling from my mouth. When all of a sudden, my only source of light was extinguished by surges of falling water, I was left with the navigation of the sounds of my partners.
Semuc Champey aside, yesterday we arrived in Antigua for today's volcanic climb. I got up early and made pancakes with Brenden for those who survived yesterday's lunch. The climb up and down the active volcano was a total of 10k. There were sites where the ground was cracked open and high levels off heat gave out. These holes have been giving off heat since the 2010 eruption (not uncommon for Guatemala's active volcanoes to erupt). It was so hot we literally pulled out marshmellows and cooked them over the vents. The scenery was covered in solid ash and formations decorated the landscape scarring the volcano's base with red tint. So yeah, I'd have to say that today was pretty heated.
- Will Stonehouse Salinas
Photography by Will Stonehouse Salinas