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El Salvador 2008: Day 8 – Volcano Climb

Saturday was our scheduled “day off” to relax, refresh, and have an opportunity to enjoy El Salvador. We broke into three groups for the day – one group went swimming, a second toured some historic sites, and a third group – Mark, Ron, Paul, Tom, and Vince (from the Diocese) – climbed a volcano.

The Parque Nacional Los Volcanes contains three main volcanos, including Volcano Izalco, the youngest volcano in the world. It was merely a hole in the ground until 1770, when is began to erupt and grew to nearly 6000ft high. It stopped erupting in the 1950s, and today can be hiked bottom to top and back in four hours.

Volcano Izalco

The park is high enough that it is noticeably cooler, and today there was significant cloud cover obscuring the normally magnificent views. We first needed to hike down a steep slope through rain forest to get to the base of the volcano, and then hiked nearly straight up to the top. As we approached the top we noticed it was getting warmer – the cool cloud cover was starting to mix with steam for vents near the top.

Hiking down to the base of the volcano

Tom at the base of the volcano

Paul at the summit – steam vents in the distance

Vince, Paul, Mark, and Tom at the summit

The hike back down the volcano

Heading back to the edge of the rainforest

Ron and team stop for a water break

A view from the hike back through the rainforest to the starting point

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