A Non-Hiker Hikes San Pedro

By Bree Norton

I’m not someone who enjoys hiking but occasionally I forget this fact. Perhaps because I know the reward at the top is always worth the strain of getting there.

Having forgotten I don’t like hiking, a friend and I decided to climb Volcan de San Pedro one Saturday morning. It was a cloudy morning and our guide told us this did not bode well for the view at the top. Should the sky remained full of clouds, I was convinced the hike would still be worth the effort. I adore clouds and love nothing more than a cloud crowded sky. So the prospect of having to hike through a cloud forest, even if it meant no view at the top, was an exciting prospect for me.

Volcan de San Pedro is inactive and reaches a little over 3000 meters up from the town. We walked through, corn fields, coffee fields, amongst moss drenched and vine choked trees. Mother Nature’s palette of colours is simple but spectacular in this part of the world. The greens are the definition of green, trees with deep brown bark exposed red flesh and occasionally the sky above cleared of clouds and showed a blue to rival that green that was passing us by.

If you can afford the US$12, definitely take a local guide with you. We received some insights into the bird life on the volcano and had extra protection should any banditos have crossed our path. Practical reasons aside, your guide probably needs the money more than you do.

The steam coming from our backs, created an eerie presence in the still and chilled slope. As we came nearer the summit the trail became enveloped in a faint cloud. It looked like the visible breath of the behemoth we were climbing and was interrupted in places by the fingers of the sun reaching through the undergrowth. These fingers illuminated the clouds in stripes and made them look alive they turned and swirled it’s grasp.

By the time we reached the top the clouds had cleared. We really had the best of both worlds on our hike up Volcan de San Pedro. Walking up through the mystical clouds that then cleared for a buena vista across the lake and down towards the town of Santiago.

People who enjoy hiking won’t need convincing that this is a morning well spent. However, if you are someone not so partial to hiking perhaps this may appeal to you. Not only is the final destination absolutely worth it but also because of the rewards this land offers on the way up. Take your time and do not to miss the detail in your ascent. There is distraction in the detail that will help you get to the top and make the experience even more satisfying.

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