Mellow Expeditions - @emilychapillon

Mellow Expeditions - @emilychapillon

This week’s feature comes from @emilychapillon who spoke with us about her 2 day hike up Volcan Acatenango which consisted of many ups and downs. However, I think it’s safe to say the views they were greeted with at the top were definitely worth the whole experience! Here’s what she had to say..

Helloooo :)) During my travels through Central America last year I climbed the iconic Volcan Acatenango in Guatemala alongside someone who is very special to me. I met Joel working in Mexico and we had both joked about climbing it together one day; then one day the joke was a reality as we sat waiting for our group bus, munching avocado toast on the hostel pavement. There are many group tours you can choose from but we were on a tight budget. So we went for the cheapest. It’s a two day hike, with a night at the base camp, an optional hike to Fuego and a sunrise climb. The volcano stands at 3,976m and the weather is renowned for being unpredictable. We were given basic gear including semi waterproof jackets and hats, a pep talk and then off we went.

In every hostel you visit in Central America there is talk of the difficulty of this hike - mainly from girls who chose to attempt it in converse. But despite my confidence that it would be a piece of cake the immediate vertical feeling trail had us all puffing from get go. Half way to base camp we had our lunch surrounded by hungry dogs that would grab any bite they could get. Then the fun started. Torrential rain began to pour down and being the least well equipped group everyone got soaked. We tried to keep spirts high and continued upwards, slipping and sliding until the thunder and huge lightning bolts started to create panicked eyes. Our guides were hopeless. With the youngest member of our group being a ten year old French boy we were all pretty much left to own our devices and had a scary final hour trekking up through the storm.

When we made it to base camp everything was flooded. The tent was a wooden pole structure covered with a thick tarpaulin and puddles were seeping in. Everyone was drenched through and I seemed to be the only person who had a waterproof bag cover and spare clothes. The Volcano view was non existent. We all huddled into the tent, undressed and hung our stuff up. I lent all of my spare clothes around so that the group were all wearing one dry item and then we waited. Moral was low. Then one of the most memorable moments of my life unfolded as light seeped into the tent, I went to open it and we were exposed to the most incredible view of the Volcano in a series of explosive eruptions.

We all sat round a very smokey fire, did shots of tequila and shared stories. Every member of the group has at least one item of clothing or shoes that was melted by the fire in attempt to dry anything possible for the morning hike. It was probably one of the best days of my life.

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