The most epic adventure I took in 2017, and probably in my entire life, was the one where I took a huge risk and climbed the tallest volcano in Central America. This was huge challenge for me physically as I'd never done any real backpacking and it required climbing 13,000 ft. I had no idea if I would suffer from altitude sickness, as this was a common experience for those not native to the land.
I've travelled to 30 countries in my 29 years on this planet, and this was by far the most unique experience i've ever had. It was excausting, scary, and sometimes even painful, but the payoff was well worth all the effort.
On my way up, I even drank bad coconut water and was terrified I'd suffer from food poisining if the altitude sickness didn't get me first. Everything turned out absolutely fine. After 8+ hours of hiking straight up volvanic ash (which is like sliding two steps back with each step), we set up camp at sunset and prepared ourselves for quite the show.
The fog started to roll in, we didn't know if we'd even be able to see the overlooking volcano after all. We started hearing massive eruptions, which resembled the sound of a car bomb going off. As the sun was showing it's last stretch of rays, a gush of wind instantly cleared the skies, and Feugo showed us its lava going straight into the sky after all. It's hard to put into words how large these eruptions actually were. Some of them seemed to be as large as the volcano itself. The trails of bright red lava pouring down the sides of the volcano, were absolutely breath takingly vibrant and moved incredibly fast (as a kid I always envisioned being able to outrun the lava).
We were so lucky because our tour guide told us that the past 2 weeks had been fogged out for other tourists, while we got the show of our life all night long. We proceeded to have dinner with campers from all over the world, ooing and ahing at every new eruption. Laughing with a glass of wine about how unreal the experience was.
The eruptions proceeded all night, it was too hard to sleep. You could hear campers yelling in excitement as the eruptions increased through the morning.
We all woke up at 4am to continue our trek to the tippy top, this was by far the most challenging part. We were exhausted from the trek and lack of sleep. I was dehydrated and the air was thinning as we rose to our 13,000 ft elevation. I had to take several stops on my way up. I instantly felt 75 years old and could hardly see with my awful rental headlamp.
Once we arrived to the top 1.75 hours later, we were greeted by the most stunning sunrise over the clouds. And there was Feugo, dancing little lava dances in the sunrise.
The first part of the trek down was incredible - since the lava rock is so boyent, when you jump on it it gives you this sense that you're bouncing on the moon. And if you fall, it doesn't hurt. So we ran down really really fast, as if we were skiing. It all felt like such a dream.