Now that’s gonna sting!

An excellent day of volcano boarding. At 1 pm, I got in the back of a huge Mercedes Benz truck. Managed to snag a bench seat, rather than one of the stools in the middle of the truck. Yup sounds safe to me…sit on a stool…on a moving vehicle…over 45 minutes of dirt roads…

Got to Cerro Negro, the youngest volcano in Nicaragua. It’s erupted 23 times since they began keeping track of these things. The last time was in 1999. I’m pretty sure it’s due to blow again. Thankfully, it didn’t choose today. Hiked up the steep incline for about an hour. It’s both steep and rocky and I was breathing hard in sections. Lord knows how those young things who had a smoke break before we started hiking felt! And I say those young things in all seriousness. Besides the Irish guy with the Dublin Marathon tshirt I was definitely the oldest one on the trip. And yet, among the top five to reach the summit. Ha!

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Then we pulled out our awesome safety gear. The ugliest orange jumpsuits, patched in many places — think chain gang, but not as cute– and our cheap goggles. Looking pretty good! And the wind was so strong at the summit that I’m pretty sure we could have used our suits to set sail. The funniest thing was this really tall guy got a jumpsuit that was not only miles too short, but the wrists and ankles were also cuffed with elastic. He looked like he was wearing the stupidest pjs ever.

I situated myself on the board — my toboggan really– leaned back, held the rope with 2 hands and shoved off. And it was going so well. I was flying. And staying on course. And looking really good without being obnoxious about it, you know…and then I just don’t know what happened. I wobbled. Then I wobbled again. And then I was rolling…and I remembered the guide saying cover your face…so I did. And I eventually came to a stop midway down the volcano. Brushed myself off and got back on the board, and sailed through the end at 29 km an hour. (Today’s fastest time was 85km. The record is 90.) It was only really at the base of the volcano that I was able to assess the outcome. Ankle– think I hit it with the board. Kind of swollen and achy. Left forearm…it’s been in better shape…

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Of all the stuff I packed, why did I not bring polysporin with me? Imagine the worst burn you’ve ever had. Then pick gravel out of it. (Thank god for the Irish guy with the marathon t-shirt who, because he is a grown up and thinks of these things, brought some sort of liquid antiseptic that smelled so much like old hospital that it had to be real medicine. Even after a shower, I still feel like I’m getting whiffs of it…) I held my arm close to me the entire way back because bouncing around in the back of a packed truck just meant that it kept getting knocked against stuff, which each time sent me squirming.

So I get back to the hostel and reach for the advil. Only to realize the ONLY liquid I have to down it with is warm beer from a can. Or unfiltered tap water. Warm beer starts to look pretty inviting.Oh yeah, and even after a shower, I still pulled a bit of rock out of my back teeth. After volcano boarding twice, I am now certain of one very important thing …this is clearly not my sport.

But I had fun, and really, I’ll probably live through the night. And it’s really just an abrasion and it probably won’t leave a scar…

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