Technically I was supposed to be out on the road today. Realistically, I was ready and in my biking gear and about to head out and then I didn’t.

First up, yesterday, I had to go around town and get my bike filed. Ana had suggested SoloBicis to be the best spot in town and she should know. I had been there a few days earlier to pick up some screws and knew where to go. It was a bummer that he diagnosed the problem to the levers and after a bit of examination we figured the levers were pretty much falling apart. Hmmm. 9 years of service and countless bumps on the buses is a good life for bike levers.

Unfortunately, they didn’t have replacement levers and I rode around town looking for a bike shop that would have one. Valeria had suggested a shop which had good collection of spares and luckily they had the levers, but probably not as tough as the dia compe ones I had earlier on. I suppose I didn’t have much choice and decided to get them.

Solobicis was a great shop and really helpful and they fixed my bike pretty decent. I rode around town and it felt like I could rely on the machine once again. It’s important to be able to trust the bike, given the time spent on it and the craziness one puts it through.

I ended up having dinner at a restaurant run by a girl from Singapore and it was pretty good food and conversation to end the evening.

On day 2, I was up at 7 and was planning to head on the road at 9 after doing a quick resupply at the supermarket. As it would turn out, I started chatting with Mark for a while and he told me a lot about his ascent of Aconcagua years ago and I was put in the mood to do some hiking. Volcan Santa Maria had been staring me in the face for a week now and I felt it would be a shame not to attempt climbing it. By the time I decided to hike, it was 11 AM and both Ana and Mark figured it was too late to attempt a climb today and suggested an early morning jaunt in the morrow.

However, the day was not going to be spent bumming around. Mark suggested that we could take the dogs up for a walk in the Lava fields of Cerro Quemado. This was yet another volcano and much closer to town and pretty much near the Sauna I had been to. It sounded like a wonderful idea and we picked up the pups and headed out.

It was a short hike, but was made interesting by us taking the wrong trail and heading pretty much into a near vertical scramble over rockfall. It was fun going up and pretty precarious going down. I was pretty impressed by my footing however. Though slow, I was able to get downhill with more confidence than I would have had a few years ago.

Once we got down, we found out the right trail and climbed up once again. The pups were getting pretty tired and thirsty and after we hit the lava field, we decided to turn back.

In the evening, I cooked up my trail favourite lentils for dinner and we spent the evening chatting about a variety of topics. Pretty awesome to be hanging out here with Mark and Ana, they have been such fantastic company and filled with so many interesting thoughts. Shrek might say, ‘like Onions’, every layer you peel, there is more interesting things to know about. It’s been a lovely day, gorgeous weather, good hiking and incredible conversations!

No wonder I feel stuck to Xela.

Route: Xela – Hiking Volcán de Cerro Quemado
Distance: 2.3 km
Ascent: 208 m
Descent: 267 m
Expenses: $ 76.47
Comment: Xela’s got a hold on me…

Track Notes