Monday, January 20, 2014

Leon, Nicaragua: Hiking Giants

Our first real stop in Nicaragua will be Leon.  If you can believe, cause I couldn't, we hopped on another bus just a few hours off our Breaking Bad 18 hour busride.  Smashed in the back of a 14-person mini-van we took the 2 hour trip from Managua, Nicaragua to the second largest city, Leon.  The big reason we headed north to Leon is because Michael found a tour group that leads overnight camping/hiking trips.  I had decided a while back that I needed to throw myself into something uber physical and outside my comfort zone; because clearly roaches, food poisoning and caves haven't been enough. 

We spent a few nights in Leon just bouncing around; it's a cute colonial city with 10 churches in a 5 block radius and its own skate park.  Skate park?? WOWWW!!  I know, its not a ton to report on, but we did enjoy a beer on a roof. 

One of the churches with its historic lighting

Sunset over a skate park

Our hike started on the third day at 7:00am.  I figured we would get a backpack, throw a few light clothes in there and the heaviest item would be my toothbrush.  These guides weren't messing around though and upon arrival we had to fill a large backpack with water for 2 days, food, plate ware, sleeping bag, sleeping mat and then our clothes.  My bag was heavier than the one I came with holding 3 months of clothes.  

Here is what was accomplished in 2 days:
-1 hour drive to the first volcano
-2 hour hike up the youngest volcano in Nicaragua
-Throwing our bodies down said volcano, riding a "volcano board" which was basically a poorly made snowboard 

-I got a bee sting!!
-Hiking straight up a volcano, for 3 hours, with a 35lb bag strapped to me- much heaving happening at the top

-Setting up camp next to a massive crater that could have been a movie set from 'Aliens'

Can you find me next to the crater?

-Campfire, the most delicious s'more I have ever worked for, fall asleep at 9pm 
-Up at 5:30am for the sunrise..wowwww

-Put those shoes back on (ow, blisters!) and the bag on some sore shoulders and hike for another 4 hours down some seriously unstable and un manicured terrain 

-Finally making it to a lake for a shower/dip
-Put the bag back on and hike up another steep hill for another hour
-Take 2 buses back to Leon and crawling back into the tour office from exhaustion 

I only had two moments of being on the verge of tears, but those were outweighed with my feelings of accomplishment.  Michael was also, again, the definition of support and kept me going when all I wanted to do was throw my walking stick and pout on the side of the hiking trail.  
It was absolutely amazing and the perfect introduction to the kind of sights Nicaragua has to show off. Now, it's time for the beach.  Give me a hammock and food that hasn't been sitting in my backpack for two days.  

Finally sitting down and taking the pack off for the first time.  Heaven. 


  1. Look at you, Workout Barbie! So proud of you!! And these pictures are amazing. The yellow jumpsuit? And you gritting your teeth pretending to smile. Simply amazing. And yeah, that sunset makes me want to jump on the next flight down there. XO safe travels kiddos!

  2. You are my hero. I love this adventure so much!

    We miss you two back here, but you aren't missing much so keep going....

    Love, Lex