On the morning of Monday, March 29th I sat with a freshly brewed cup of hot coffee, a smile on my face, and pen in my hand as I flipped to the back cover page of my Bible titled ‘Bucket List’. I slowly crossed off the chicken scratched words ‘acatenango volcano hike’. This epic overnight hike takes you to the 13,000ft summit of the most beautiful dormant volcano in Guatemala with incredible views of its neighbor, the active Fuego volcano (mentioned in this blog post from last month). The hike has been on my bucket list since I heard about it on my race in 2018 so when our squad got word that we were going to Guatemala, I knew it was time to cross that baby off the list and I couldn’t have been more stoked to do it with h.
The plans were made, the bags were packed, and the shoes were laced up and ready to go as 30 some h-squaders started our 8 hour hike up to our campsite near the summit of the volcano. Let me tell you, no amount of training could have prepared us for this hike. It was one of the most physically exhausting things I have ever done. My Ohio lungs were screaming as we hiked seemingly never ending steep switchbacks upward. As we the elevation got higher and the ash got thicker, breathing got harder. It felt like eternity but then, all at once, the steep climb evened out. We made it above the clouds and were nearing the tree line so we knew we were getting close to where we would camp for the night. As we turned the last bend we heard a giant thunder-like sound and suddenly, there it was… Fuego erupting in all its glory. It was SO close to us. Below is our first glimpse of Feugo when we rounded the bend.
Tears filled my eyes as we hiked a bit more to camp with fuego still in sight. I thought, “God how did you make something so majestic?? And why would you be so good to me to bring me here to see it?!” We arrived at camp, set up our tents, partook in communion with the BB’s, and watched Fuego erupt while eating our dinner. Does it get any better than that? Below are some pictures of camp!
As I stood outside my tent, taking in the sun setting over the clouds and reveling in the Lord’s beauty I thought to myself that the view was so incredibly worth the struggle of the hike it took to get there. Then instantly, Jesus whispered, “This view pales in comparison to the beauty of being in relationship with you and you better believe that having you was worth every bit of suffering it took to get you.”
I was a freaking puddle and instantly thought of Hebrews 12 that says…
“For the joy set before him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3
We were the joy set before Him! Jesus endured the cross to have us. Like what?! He walked through the most unfathomable rejection, mockery, torture and emotional, physical and spiritual abuse. But He would do it over and over again for the joy of knowing us and having us with no separation. That is a message that will never get old and how good is He to lead me to the top of a volcano in the middle of Guatemala to remind me of that beautiful truth.
We sat around the fire roasting marshmallows and watching Fuego erupt into the night. The next morning we woke at 3:30am to finish the hike to the summit. The winds were severe and the temp was extremely cold, but again it was worth the view at the top. Here are some pictures of our evening by the fire and our morning summit!
This was an experience I will never forget. And although I may never experience the beauty of that view again, what I do get to experience is the beauty of relationship with Jesus in every moment of every day and there is truly nothing better than that!
Until next time,