Hello everyone! Emma here. Today I had the honor of leading the whole delegation through our extreme fun day which was hiking up the Cerro Negro volcano and sand boarding back down. We started out the day with an early morning wake up call at 6am. After the process of waking up and getting ready for the day, we headed to Imabite for a delicious breakfast. Following breakfast, we met our awesome Quetzaltrekkers leaders, Brooke and Rich, who split us into two groups. Climbing into the back of two trucks, the whole delegation started the scenic drive leading up to the base of the volcano. After we finished our hour long and windy drive, both trucks arrived at the starting point of our hike. Before we started our hike, Edgar had our entire group write down something that held us back the most in life and wrap that piece of paper around a rock we found at the base of the volcano.
After hearing all the safety instructions from Brooke and getting our backpacks of equipment, we started our 45 minute trek up the side of the volcano. Throughout the hike, every one of us pushed our mental and physical barriers. Only taking a couple of breaks to eat bananas and take some very important pictures, we finally reached the top. The entire group was very happy to put our gear down while we took the opportunity to look into one of the large craters Cerro Negro has to offer. While taking pictures, each member in our delegation took our rocks from the base and threw them into the cater signifying us overcoming what was holding us back. Then it was finally time to slide down the volcano!
Before we sled down, Brooke led us through a safety lesson as well as showing us the mechanics of controlling the board and speed. We also had to put on safety suits to keep the many black rocks from sliding up our clothes, as well as goggles, masks, and gloves. We had to put our backpacks in front of our stomachs so we honestly looked like a mixture between oompaloompas and Ghostbusters.:) Brooke and Rich worked in tandem to signal when a ‘lane’ was clear (similar to lifeguards on a water slide) and with two Red Cross volunteers at hand, we were ready to take on volcano boarding! One by one we slid down the slope, going at our own individual pace. Athena broke the record of the day going at a speed of 65 km/hr and was met by applause for making it down safely and with excellent technique! Each and every one of us slid down no matter how big our fears were in the beginning. The group was full of smiles as we finished our awesome field trip with veggie burritos and a nice ride back to our hostel.
The rest of the day ended up being pretty relaxed. People took long showers to wash off the black dirt that somehow still managed to get on our skin, and napped in the amazing hammocks to recuperate from the exhausting morning. This amazing experience helped the group bond in our last final days and while we are all making the most of our remaining time here in Nicaragua, we are all excited to see our families soon.