I went volcano boarding and lived to tell about it!
04.22.2017 - 05.01.2017 90 °F
Okay, so I know what you're thinking. Who in their right mind would hike an active volcano just to slide down it?! And those were exactly my thoughts as well....at first. I stumbled across volcano boarding in Nicaragua on social media and was intrigued. For months I would troll instragram and travel blogs to find out if this was really something I wanted to do. Turns out, i'm more curious and adventurous than I thought.
For the past few years I have taken birthday vacations, so this year I decided what better way to celebrate another year of life than by doing something that terrifies me?! After all, we all know that life begins outside your comfort zone! I threw caution to the wind and booked my trip to Leon, Nicaragua, which happens to be the only place in the world you can volcano board. I decided to take the tour with a non-profit volunteer group, Quetzaltrekkers (http://leon.quetzaltrekkers.org/) who's mission is to give back to the disadvantaged youth. I mean, if i'm going to do something life affirming shouldn't the proceeds go towards something meaningful?
I arrived in Leon the day before my big adventure and decided to have an easy night and get plenty of rest. I went to the Quetzeltrekkers office to pay my $30USD for the tour (there's no turning back now, right?!). Then I went back to my hotel room and wondered aloud "what did I get myself into?".
THE BIG DAY!
Having barely slept the night before, I arrived at Quetzaltrekkers office at 8:00 a.m. feeling nervous, excited, and a slew of other emotions. As other people arrived and we bonded over the thought of what was to come, I felt more comfortable in my decision to be daring. I exiplained to everyone in the group that I was terrified of heights and was greeted with the same response, "if you're afraid, why are you doing this?" to which I replied "because you can't let fear control you", and they all agreed.
The drive to Cerro Negro was an adventure in itself. We packed into a covered truck and hit the bumpy dirt roads of the countryside, which I fondly referred to the ride as getting a "Nicaraguan massage." After an hour of driving, we arrived at the ranger station at Cerro Negro to sign in. After which, we drove further up the road to the point of no return (otherwise known as the entrance). Once we disembarked the truck, it was time to strap on our backpacks and boards, apply our sunscreen (which is a must! It's very hot and exposed) take pictures, and head off for the adventure of a lifetime!
There's no turning back now!!!!
I couldn't have picked a better group to experience this adventure with. Fran and Job, our guides were amazing (it was Job's first time boarding down the volcano!) The hike itself wasn't hard but I must admit I struggled with the heat/humidity as well as carrying my board/gear and contemplated turning back a few times, but with the help of Job (my awesome guide), and my new adventure friends offering words of encouragement to help me push past the pain, reminding me an epic adventure was on the other end of the hike, I was able to channel my inner badass and rally.
We're halfway there!!!
Once we made to the halfway point, we were able to take a break to take pictures and admire the gorgeous views.
We hiked a bit further to the descent area. There were had a brief orientation on how to control your board and it was time to suit up.
Suit up, go forth and be awesome!!
After putting on our gear, we queued up and waited our turn to go boarding.
What goes up......
I have to admit, volcano boarding was very exhilarating!!! My only regret was that I didn't go faster!!!! If you ever have the chance to do something that scares you, do it!!! You never know, you just may end up loving it!