Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Kolden Report: From the top! Nicaragua, May 18th, 2014

     Hello, kids!

As I climbed, I began to realize the enormity of the volcano.

I happened upon this overlook, thinking it a quaint place to rest or even exchange wedding vows if you party was small. 

I should have "bought yours ticket", apparently. 

I couldn't help but wonder if the view would equal the climb?

It WAS hours until 4pm.  I had the time.

The volcanic rock was sharp!  I wished I had not been wearing sandals.

Brilliant blooms took my mind off of the "grasses that bite" and the super sharp volcanic rock.

Beautiful bells of red.

Member of the orchid family? 

The "mouth" of the mountain.

Volcano bonsai?

The BIG picture. 

Strong winds and landslides.  Perfect!

Steeply sided caldera.


Oddly distorted panorama of the caldera. ( It seems no correction is applied for the curvature of the earth.)

The size of it all.

And yes, the view from above was certainly worth the climb.

Fortunately, the strong winds were blowing the gases away....rather than toward.

I thought about walking the entire caldera but was prevented by a blockade on the north.  The wind was SO gusty, it was probably just as well or I may have been blown right off the side.

The big picture is always worth the climb.

And again with the curvature distortion.  Look at the horizon! 

Tourist group preparing to rappel down to the caves. 

Surrounding countryside appears somewhat populated with a mix of agricultural land. 

Steep and deep.  (And did I mention VERY windy?)

It seemed to be the trail at the top of the earth!

Observation areas?  Sheep corrals sans gate? 

I wondered if the gases stunted the growth of this tree or perhaps helped it?

On my descent, I met a large group ascending.  Two young native men saw me and said something in Spanish.  Then, one turned to the other and as they passed me said, "My MOTHER!" And they both roared with laughter.  I got a kick out of it too....

From the looks of the plume, the stiff east wind was quite a gift indeed.

Almost spent.

VERY long seed pod.

As I watched the groups snake their way up toward me, I realized how fortunate I was to have had the top all to myself!

More buses pulled into the parking lot, unloading more tourists.

Folks from all over the world were arriving in a steady stream.  Language of all kinds could be heard.

Having come and seen, it was time to vamonos!

Up next:  Masaya Market.

"They key is to keep company with only those people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best." -  Epictetus


Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Kolden Report: Masaya Volcano, up close and personal. May 17th, 2014

     Hello, kids!

The day had come.  We were going to visit Masaya, an active volcano! 

Cousin Jay's casa on the left, street view. 

Uphill with a load.

Big and little Jay.

Tree takeover.  But what IS it?

Upon closer inspection, it looks like tiny balls of fungus.

It must be very tough or you'd think when the wind blows the branches, it would break apart. 

Remnants from a volcanic eruption.  Parque Nacional Volcan' Masaya!  (Masaya National Volcanic Park)


Having spied the stairway to the cross, I attempted to make the trek, imagining quite a view from the top.

Only stay 15-20 minutes?  What is IN those gases?

It was not to be.  I considered climbing over but imagined myself shackled in a Nicaraguan jail and the urge passed.

There were a few tour buses in the parking lot but not many other vehicles.  I always enjoy having few people breathing my air!

Long road out. 

Panorama of the area. 

Tourist trap.

Love those outfits!  Wonder if they are government mandated?


Due to east winds, the gaseous discharge was not a concern. 

Helena, still packing her pretty pink purse, inspects the wall.

I found it quite artistic....volcanic rock at the bottom and smaller chunks decoratively inserted into the concrete upper.

The gang. 

Looking into the abyss, I envisioned tales of star crossed lovers flinging themselves to their death, to live in eternity.

Expulsion of rocks?  I had mixed emotions about observing THAT.

Straining to catch a glimpse of what lies below.

Map of it all.  There were actually TWO volcanoes here!  Nindiri and Masaya.  Nindiri is smoking more and enjoying it less. 

Freedom for five.  Not sure what that means though....

I didn't see any rangers but I was ready to obey if I did.

Stable hands prep the few remaining horses for tourists and try to wave me over for a ride.

I decided to hike to the top of the caldera. 

  As I steadily rose, the view grew grander.

Brilliant yellow blooms, punctuated with pea-like seed pods. 

Up next:  To the top!


"Embrace wisdom and she will honor you." - Proverbs 4:86