One of the many things that I have learned on all of my travels, is that you can make millions of plans before starting your trip and feel that everything is totally under control. The reality is, however, that things change constantly…but in the end it will always work out one way or the other.
This morning, at around 6am, I woke up in Guatemala City after a well deserved 3 hour nap, and we started organizing our things, gear to pack and so on, picked up our pristine motor home (3 beds and shower!) – a mini apartment on wheels which has been purchased and brought down from the USA and never used before (probably like my brain). Our 9am departure of course turned into 2pm (that’s Latin time for you!). Traveling on Guatemalan roads can stress you out to the point of a nice ulcer! …huge kudos to Bernier our driver; as for me and Juan Carlos, we were just trying to relax, but as I started to drift off we started to notice a strong smell of burning, and our front brakes were smoking 😦 .
We managed to stop at a gas station with alas not a mechanic in sight. All “experts” on the case, we discover that the truth is we have no idea what’s wrong… I only knew that the brakes where red hot. Running across the road in search of a cricket (jack) since ours is missing, I encountered a group of young teenagers working on a truck to replace a tire. They look at me with strange faces as I ask for their tools, but a smile and 20 pesos later I walk back with all the tools necessary for the job. After lifting one of the wheels we discover that the brakes pads where stuck against the disk. The “experts” come with the wise decision to find a mechanic, and few miles walk later (with classic directions …”oh yes from the tree make a right turn and from that cow make a left…” I found a nice guy covered from head to toe with grease. Without any question he offered to help us and we climb into in his fully pimp-style car. Back at the gas station he took one look at the brakes, grabbed the biggest hammer he had and after few whacks all was fixed… I loved it!!! Explanation? After a year half the brakes on this vehicle get sticky.
So for the moment everything is going well… I am enjoying a wonderful time with the team. We have been driving for many hours, are almost there (about 3 more hours to go), and will enjoy another night with sleep. At 6am we start our challenge beginning with the with the two highest volcanoes: Tacana (4093m) and Tajumulco (4220m). At the end of the day we will be backtracking 3 hours to climb San Antonio (2750m).
Is on in the morning , starting feeling my Fly from USA lest said that since Sunday morning to Monday night I sleep around two hrs, uff!
I;m amaze about the enormous amount of logistic that this trip is entail from transportation to have the right person waiting for us in the middle of nowhere to guide us or show us the way, some of the routes in this volcanoes follow almost impossible jungles with not proper trail. This evening we have a invitation with the mountain Club where we done a talk about our project, about my toughs about our the need of the new generation to be more involve with the outdoors, how we all need to help them with this, I was so grateful to receive a honor diploma from the club for my merit on the sport and my passion on helping others, yet the most amassing gif for me this evening was not this , was the chance to meet some amassing an inspiring people like Mckenzy who as climb one of the Volcanoes a total of 1200 times, or other who as meet and spend time with Edmund Hillary on Everest Base Camp. Yes this trip so far started with the most developing to be fantastic!
On Nov. 10 Willie Benegas and Juan Carlos Sagastume will begin a journey to climb all of Guatemala’s 37 volcanoes in only ten days! This will entail over 150 miles of running and a gain of over 150,000 vertical feet- all with very little sleep. The trip begins in the country’s northwest, travels through the remote central regions where the indigenous cultures still thrive, and ends near Guatemala City one and a half weeks later. Each of these volcanoes is free standing, and some are still actively erupting. Willie is a veteran climber of many of the world’s mountain ranges, including 9 summits of Mt. Everest, and a record 52 summits of Aconcagua. Juan Carlos is a native Guatemalan who has rowed across the Atlantic ocean, run the 240 km Marathon des Sables through the Sahara, and placed second in the 500 km Yukon Arctic Ultra Marathon. Juan Carlos has climbed many of Guatemala’s volcanoes in the past; all but one will be firsts for Willie. Follow along on their trip as they post videos, record podcasts and update blogs on TheNorthFace.com and PatagonianBrothers.com. Find them on Facebook at The North Face or Benegas Brothers pages. Wishing you a fun-filled fall season!