[:en]We were up when the town was still quiet. No cars, vendors or crowds. We walked fast paced through the old town. The city is slowly waking up.
Quetzaltrekkers, as I have already explained here, is a tour company that utilizes their profits to aid kids around rural Nicaragua. We meet with a few fellow travelers at their main office in Leon. We are given the option to user our own hiking bags or use one of theirs. Some choose theirs, i choose my own. We are then ushered towards a big table in the back, breakfast is served. Then, we are off. The city is completely awake now, cars, stereos, the mercado. We are guided by the same Canadian girl who took us on the Volcano Boarding trip for about 10 hot blocks, our bags are filled with 8 liters of water, food and our clothes.
The bus station at Leon is quite basic, just a handful of routes go through this town. We hopped on a refurbished American school bus turned rural transport. We are supposed to be in this bus for about 40 minutes and soon enough the very uncomfortable seats are all full. Then, the center isle. Every single space was being utilized.
We get off at no specific location. Just a corner with a road leading into the forest. We start by visiting the mud pits of San Jacinto, for here we start our trek up the volcano. A few liters of water, a lot of sweating and 3 hours later we reach the summit, it is now time to set up our tents before the sun goes down.
The crater itself is only a few minutes away from our campsite, we head that way to catch the last few minutes of sun before it goes behind sulfuric steam over the pacific. From here it is possible to see the Nicaragua Lake, the famous volcanic trail and the pacific ocean. A few meters behind, actual lava can be seen from the edge of the crater. It definitely presents us with a sight worth the hike up and every single ounce liter of sweat.
I’ve been spoiled over the years when it comes to watching the stars, I’ve seen the Milky Way clearly without any sort of devices from multiple locations including the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree. But nothing prepared me to the magnificence of this night. Billions of stars can be seen, even the smallest that you never see are our shining like their big brothers and sisters. The tent I am traveling with came in handy this time around as I removed the rainfly to allow us to see the stars while laying down. The physical activity of the day has taken a toll in our bodies and before we know it we are out. Morning comes too fast as we are awaken by the guide telling us is time to go check out the sunrise. Jacket on and shoes back on my feet, we walk the 5 minutes to the top of the crater, the first sun rays silhouettes the volcanic range and a million colors are becoming more vivid as we sit on the rocks waiting for the sun to come up.
Again, all the sweat was worth it.