It rained like a mean bastard thro the night. The roof leaked a little at the spot I had hammock’d and I was too lazy to put up my rain fly and decided a towel on top would be a good enough solution, and it was. With the amount of rain falling though, I figured I might not be able to make it for the hike in the morning. Got to play it by ear.
I got up leisurely at 6 ish and hung about with a cup of coffee. It was still overcast, but the rain seemed to have cleared a bit. I was still thinking may be the trail would be super muddy to climb up and was in two minds about the hike. That’s when I met the couple of young Spaniards and their guide. I chatted with them and mentioned I was planning to hike myself. Then Andrea, one of the girls said, “Porque No?”, literally “Why not?”. I figured there is no perceivable reason for me to wake up in the morning than to do something fun. So I figured I’d join them. The guide asked me for a very nominal 100 COR and I figured its all part of the cost of tourism anyway.
We started off a bit late I reckon, at 8:20 and we climbed a gentle but steady pace. The first half had some rudimentary sort of trail laid out and pretty slippery wooden planks as stairs. After the mid way point though the route turned pretty hard as and was bogs and stones and was a bit slow going. I reckon I’d have climbed a bit faster if I was by myself, but the company was fun and the girls were singing out loud and the guide was a fun chap too. So it was fun overall. On the whole, I reckon we did climb at a good clip.
We eventually got to the top after about 3:30 hrs of hiking and got to the crater lake too. There was an impromptu picnic and after a few minutes I was starting to feel the chill due to elevation, rain and the gusts. There were few other hiking groups up top and one of them was a surprising one for me. I met Charlene, from Wisconsin. However, the surprise bit was that she was Indian. I haven’t met anyone from India in these parts, let alone traveling by herself and hiking up a good volcano! Props to her. She was a tough nut, a trail builder in her neighbourhood and even built parts of the PCT!! She gave me a few tips of things to do in the Mid-west USA and when I met her again at the trailhead, she even donated her supplies to me! Awesomeness!
After a while at the top and starting to feel the chill, we decided to head back and it was a precarious slippery route back. I always enjoy the climbing bit, the descent it a bit of a gamble for me. I made it on one piece though.
The volcano was a good one, on a good day I reckon the views would have been worth it, but even otherwise, as a nice hike in a tropical Jungle, it was pretty good one. The climb was moderate and the trail made it more difficult than it really was. I hope people learn to build good trails, it would make these wonderful mountains more accessible to people I reckon.
Route: Volcan Maderas to Hike
Distance: 11.4 Km
Road: Mud Tracks all through. Rain just makes it dirtier.
Expenses: SG$ 24.80
Comments: A really fun day of hiking, Good company and all.