The Volcano Hike: Interviews with our group
The much talked about volcano hike finally arrived and our groups departure was on our doorstep. We were scheduled to summit Acatenango, a massive Guatemalan volcano outside of Antigua, in 7+ hours.
The night before was filled with last minute acquisitions for our overnight trip. Some flooded the grocery store for bags of water while other stood outside Old Town Outfitters after they had closed, as we convinced them to let us buy last minute supplies. We went to bed nervous in anticipation for the unknown challenge that lay ahead of us. We woke early the next morning to eat breakfast before our tour guide, Diego, arrived. By 8am. we were on the road to the volcano.
I conducted post hike interviews amongst our group to provide insight into our Acetenango adventure. The following are various answers to the questions I presented:
Q. How did you feel a couple days before the hike?
"I was feeling nervous but not as nervous as I would have felt if I knew how hard it would actually be."
"I was really nervous because I never did anything like this before especially with climbing a big volcano and I don't consider myself to be the best hiker."
"I was nervous that I wouldn't be prepared for it physically and mentally."
"I was super excited because I had researched the volcano beforehand and I saw it was really challenging so I was kind of nervous but also excited to challenge myself and see what I could do."
"I was so nervous and I didn't think I was ready for it whatsoever."
"I was pretty hyped for it."
Q. During the hike, how did your body react?
"I am very out of shape so my body was not happy but I found solace in conversations with [Elizabeth, Mac, and Caitlin]. When we reached the top I felt a lot better and my body was much happier."
"It was pretty sore and tired but I was talking to people the whole time so I kind of forgot we were hiking and I just wanted to get to the top."
"I was extremely tired but my body was okay."
Q. How did you feel when you reached the summit?
"I was really proud of myself because I thought I couldn't do it and I was going to turn around. While climbing I was at the back, alone with Diego but he helped me make it to the summit and I felt a lot better after getting there."
"I felt so happy to finally get up there and right before it was really hard and I almost gave up but I didn't which was totally worth it because of the amazing view."
"So relieved! It was freezing up there but we were all so happy we did it together and everything we did was worth it. I've never been so happy in my life."
Q. Explain your emotions while descending.
"I felt like I was going very slow but once I got to the bottom I felt so accomplished for what I had just done."
"I was running and walking down the volcano just to get to the bottom as fast as I could which was pretty exhilarating. Once I got down I just laid on the ground and had to rest because it was so tough."
"I was happy that we all did it together but I was pretty antsy to get down."
"I was really proud of myself while trying to focus on getting down safely but also enjoying the descend."
Q. What was your highlight of the hike?
"Getting to the summit and realizing I did it."
"Getting to camp and seeing the view of Volcán Fuego for the first time."
"The summit and seeing the sun rise over the volcanos."
"Learning about myself and realizing how much I get into my head. That aspect now makes me realize how I can overcome that in the future."
Q. What did you find most challenging?
”The mental aspect was very hard because I knew my body could do it but my mind wasn't there and I kept freaking myself out saying I couldn't do it."
"Definitely the descend because I had hurt my ankle and it was putting a lot of stress on it."
"The hike down was really hard because my body was pretty exhausted at that point and I was ready to be done."
"Definitely my mindset, it was very negative and it was forcing me to solely focus on what I was physically doing which was hard to deal with."
We all had different feelings going into this incredible hike but none of us knew what we were getting ourselves into. As we finished, most of us felt more sore than anything else, but as we showered and rested we felt immensely satisfied with our accomplishment. It was without a doubt something we will remember forever. The view was certainly worth any of the short term physical discomfort we may have felt on our trek. I am forever grateful for this experience and know it will stick with me for a long time, if not for the rest of my life!