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.






Caves.




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.

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

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