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Guatemala 2006

Volcan San Pedro :

The day starts at the dock of Hosteria de Toliman, with Volcan Atitlan winking at us from the left and volcan Toliman brooding behind the trees:

From the left to right: Volcan Atitlan, Volcan Toliman, Cerro del Oro (foreground), and our destination - Volcan San Pedro:

Estela, Ana Cristina, and Marco discuss the day to come, as Volcan San Pedro looms ever closer:

As if to remind us that Mother Earth is alive and kicking in this region, a nearby volcano sends up a smoke signal:

We arrive at the dock at San Pedro de Atitlan as the Sun creeps down the nearby crater walls:

A ten-minute ride in minivans brings us to the Headquarters of the Reserve, a few hundred feet above the town:

The trailhead, starting out through dry thorn and oak-scrub, with some crops fields admixed:

As we climb out of the dry scrub and into the prime coffee-growing belt, we look back on San Pedro de Atitlan:

At the point where the coffee gives way to forest (c. two kms up the trail), there is a large and sturdy platform from which you can enjoy a spectacular view of the west end of the lake (and take a well-earned rest!):

The flat, even ridge visible on the left side of this photo looks man-made, but is the work of Nature... the lake was formed in the crater of an enormous sunken volcano:

Another three kms up from the look-out, and there is our quarry - a Horned Guan! (CLICK HERE for more pics):

After that, everthing was downhill... literally! Looking back at Volcan San Pedro from the lake shore, we could make out the tiny dot that was the mirador (about half-way up, on the far right), and figured out that we had gotten about two-thirds of the way to the top:

As the volcano receded in the distance, we reflected on the day:- nervous anticipation; early bravado; belated humility; euphoria mixed with exhaustion; aching satisfaction... a day that drew us all closer, in shared achievement: