BootsnAll Travel Network

Trip Report: Volcan Tajulmulco

Here is the photo trip report from my hike up to the highest point in Central America, Volcan Tajumulco at 4220 meters above sea level.  As you may recall, it was a difficult hike, not so much because of the hike itself, but because of my weakened condition of food poisoning from the night before.  Plus the breakfast combination of black beans, eggs, tortillas and platanos with cream only created additional havoc on my stomach. 

It was an early wake up call at 4:30am, and we all converged at the Quetzaltrekkers headquarters at 5am where we rode the backs of pick ups to Minerva bus station, and then caught a chicken bus to San Marcos, arriving around 7am and having our gee-oh-so-yummy breakfast.  I was in the bathroom twice, but fortunately for me before all the toilet paper ran out!!
At around 8:30am we took another chicken bus to the trailhead–as the bus was very crowded, half of our group had to stand for the 90 minute ride.  I was able to get a seat, which helped but the twisty, bumpy and winding road just amplified the nausea and sickness that I was fighting.  I still don’t know how I managed to get up the mountain — I credit the guides for taking it nice and slow and for helping me out as much as possible, even offering to carry my fully loaded pack to our base camp.  Once again my stubborness sets in–30 minutes prior to our basecamp, we all collect and carry firewood, of which I take a pretty decent size and strap to my pack.  We started around 10am, and arrived to basecamp at 4pm, where I then spent the next 12 hours huddled inside a tent, fighting coldsweats and then feeling very very hot, on and off throughout the evening.  On with the photos!!
Trailhead, 30 hikers strong putting on our sunblock.
Hiking the dusty trail with views all around.
It’s a steep, slow climb.  What is funny is that we pass a group of locals heading down the mountain, sporting dressy shoes and regular clothing.  Our group with all of our fancy gear and packs must be amusing to the locals that go up the mountain on a regular basis.
Long stretches of land with sheep in the distance.
Views from the trail.
Another view from one of our frequent breaks.
Hiking up to basecamp.
From our basecamp, the view is impressive.
And another view from basecamp.
I hiked the summit, or rather climbed and rested, climbed and rested, and here are the beginnings of the dawn.
Clouds meet up with the horizon.
The sun begins to peek.
Sun rising.
Fellow hikers enjoy the spectacle.
I’m so cold and still sick, the smile hides my pain!
Hiking back down with the shadow of the mountain creating a cool effect.
The group heads down the summit and towards basecamp.  We take a different route back to camp, so there is not much climbing down.
Hiking in the shadows.
Continuing the hike down.
Enjoying the view from basecamp.  We have breakfast of oatmeal with granola, cinnamon and sugar.  It is the first real food I have eaten for the past 24 hours.
Back down down down the mountain from basecamp.
Another view hiking down.  We managed to lose one hiker for about 45 minutes.  I was the third to last hiker, and I waited for the other 2 as the main group went ahead.  When only one showed up, we waited for 10 minutes and called out for him, to no avail.  So we caught up with the main group, explained the situation, and then the 3 guides headed back up the trail where they managed to locate him.  To this day I still don’t know what happened–he didn’t seem injured or anything, so I suppose he just lost his way on the trail.
We reach the dusty road, and the winds smother us in clouds of dust as each step results in a big PUFF of brown.  I wear my bandana over my face to offer some sort of shield from inhaling all the dirt.
Almost back to the main road, where we will catch another crowded chicken bus back to San Marcos, and then another chicken bus back to Xela.  The bus back to San Marcos was the fullest I have ever been in.  It was hot, sweaty, packed, uncomfortable and quite the unpleasant experience, as you really couldn’t move your position or feet for much of the ride back.  Once in San Marcos, we had a very late lunch at that same comedor which consisted of tortillas, mashed potatoes, pasta, and a little bit of veggies.  Oh yeah, black beans too.
Bags off the buses!!  And then a 30 minute hike back to headquarters, where we check in our borrowed gear and head on in our separate ways.  It is only then do I feel like I’m getting back to normal.


3 responses to “Trip Report: Volcan Tajulmulco”

  1. Katie says:

    Loving the beautiful pictures. Are you over your cold yet? Take care!

  2. Sarah says:

    Great pictures Edwin! I really love the ones of sunrise! Seems like the view was worth the trip- I hope! Take care.

  3. Mike Jones says:

    Dan Update.

    He moved out of the storage container. The lack of toliet and lack of Shower, along with the other drawbacks of living in a storge container down by the river caught up with poor dan.

    He has moved back home with his mom.

    He had been out of work for well over 2 months.. That is until yesterday!!

    He starts his first day as a cook at one of my uncles restruants. A job he turned down some 8 weeks ago becasue he wanted to drive strippers-escorts around as a “driver” for 15.00 a day.

    With the inflation of gas here in the US close to 3.00 per gallon now, and driving a stripper some 30 miles a day for 15.00 should have been enough to let dan know he could not survive on this, and that the profit margin was quite low. BUt it did not become clear this job was not for him untill the strippers stoped paying him for his service. He was driving them around for free.

    Not having a job for weeks and weeks this lifestyle caught up with him. He had to quit being a “driver” for escorts-strippers and find a new career. Here it is some 2.5 months after being fired at Sherri’s for showing a picture of his unit to a waitress and getting fired, and he still hasnt had a job since.

    That is until yesterday.
    Dan swallowed his pride and accepted the job of being a cook for my uncle.

    Normally Id send out a public health warning not to eat at the establishment dan works at, but becasue he works for family, and no one will see dan in the Kitchen, I will keep the name of the establishment secret.

    But at the very lease I will tell you not to eat in Scappose Oregon.

  4. Mike Jones says:

    I just checked my records…

    Dan was making on avarage as a “driver” 4.50 a day.

    Thats his daily wage.. 3-4 times a week.
    (some days she didnt even pay him)

    So on Dan’s best week of work he was making a little over 13.00 per week..

    Living in a storage container with no toliet, running water, or shower.

    Now if some silly Mexican comes up to you and tells you BS about how they only make 30.00 a week working, and have bad water and toliets, and how all Americans have no idea what its like to live in poverty in Mexico, you can tell them the legend of Dan.

    Bridge the borders between us and them.
    Tell them the legend of Dan. Tell them, it could always be worse, they could make 13.00 per week, have herpes and no money for meds. No running water, no toliet, no shower, and everytime you eat a burritio you briain bust and fry your brian cells.

    Tell them. Tell them the legend of Dank.

    Bridge our borders. We as a society are not that much better off.. So long as dan is a product of the ole red white and blue.

    God bless us all.

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