I don’t write many posts for the blog, but this is one that got me a bit excited. Virginie and I went to León, Nicaragua for a few days and when I heard you could slide down a volcano on a piece of wood, I got pretty excited. For one, how many times in your life do you get to climb a volcano? Even better if you get to ride down the side on a little toboggan!
The day started as most tours usually do. Everyone meets up early in the morning and gets in some form of transportation. True to Nica style, we all piled in the back of a truck equipped with seats. The group of us left the city and headed down some dirt roads. Little did we know, there’s a lot more traffic out in the middle of nowhere than you’d expect!
Despite the delay, we eventually made it to the ranger station that sits a short drive from the volcano we’d spend the better part of our day climbing.
Once we all had our turn at the bee infested bathroom (don’t ask, we have no idea why there were hundreds of bees there) we all piled back into the bus to head to the base of the volcano. Never before had I seen so much black Earth. All the other mountains around were covered in trees and grass, but the one we’d be riding is still a very new volcano so it was still pitch black.
I had originally planned to carry the toboggan up the hill in my hands, but the tour guides had other plans. Apparently, they wanted us all to become little airplanes so that the high winds on the top could carry us away! (Not really… but almost.)
The climb wasn’t as bad as I had thought it would be, but it also wasn’t the easiest. I’d say most people could handle it at least once.
The view from the top of the volcano was amazing. Our tour guide pointed out a few volcanoes in both directions that were still active. We were even lucky enough to witness them erupt!
Unfortunately, this is about the time where our camera battery died. We’ve got a few pictures, but they were taken with a cell phone so they’re not the best. Hopefully you get the idea though!
This is about the time where it starts to get scary. Now we’re on the top. Looking down the two little paths on the side of the volcano where we’ll be riding a little piece of wood with the help of our friend, Gravity.
From here, it’s all rocks and ridiculously steep. I’m pretty much gripping my little handle (which the tour guide admitted is useless) for dear life as I sit on my board looking down.
What if I fall off? What if there’s a big rock that I hit?
Too late! It’s go-time!
Who even thought that was a good idea? Hey, let’s ride down the side of a volcano and kill ourselves!
Luckily, I only fell… once. To be honest, it didn’t even hurt. The little rocks that made up the volcano are so light since they’re full of air pockets. Between that and the sheer steepness of the hill, it’s actually softer than falling when snowboarding.
When you get to the bottom you can watch everyone else come flying down. As scary as it might seem to be the first one down the hill, it’s also the greatest perk to watch your fellow volcano-boarders wipe out!
Once everyone was at the bottom, it was time for a snack. The group walked to the truck where bananas and cookies were awaiting us before… you guessed it… let’s climb again!
The second climb was actually my favorite, to be honest. This time Virginie and I dumped the backpacks and boards and climbed up so that we could WALK INSIDE OF A VOLCANO CRATER!! How cool is that?!
Inside the volcano crater we could find all kinds of cool rocks and if you dug even an inch under the surface, you could feel the heat coming out. I ran off by myself into the deepest part to explore and see what secrets I could uncover.
It’s been a while since I felt that much excitement (think Christmas at 5 years old). How often do you get to explore a volcano’s crater?!
Alas, the group was waiting for me. Virginie called me back to them and we were back to the climb. Since I didn’t have a suit to get into this time, I went for a little walk when we got to the top. To my luck, I got to witness a slightly more rare eruption of another volcano!
I was pretty sure that everyone else in the group was more interested in the adrenaline than the actual volcanoes, but I turned around as casually yelled, “There’s a volcano erupting if anyone’s interested.” Much to my surprise, everyone jumped up and came running! Turns out they were interested after all.
Here’s me with the volcano 🙂
Since we didn’t have boards this time, we got to go down like the tour guides did. On foot, running. Ever run down a steep hill before? Yeah? How about one where you sank halfway up your shins on each step? There’s no doubt in my mind that I would have face planted a few times had they not taught us how to run down properly!
At this point, we’re exhausted. We literally just climbed a black volcano twice in one morning under the scorching hot sun. Our bottles of water are empty and we’re dying of hunger! We all pile into the back of the truck and head back to the ranger station where we’ll grab lunch.
Best. Lunch. Ever. Either that, or we were just so hungry that our tastebuds would have thought leather was great! Want to know their secret recipe? You’ll have to go boarding with them 😉
And that’s it! If you’re in Nicaragua, I highly recommend going volcano boarding. We went with a non-profit who gives 100% of the proceeds to struggling children in the area, so that’s even better. Check them out at Quetzaltrekkers Leon!