What Kind of Vegetable Would You Be?

Last Friday, our tour guide posed this question to our group during our informational meeting the night before we set out on a 3-day, 2-night hike from Xela to Lake Atitlan. Anna chose her favorite: butternut squash. Mike said he would be an onion because onions have layers.. After the meeting ended, we went home to say adios to our family and tucked in early because we had to be back at the office at 6:30 the following morning.

We didn’t get many great stories out of the hike, but there were some highlights and some great photos, so let’s do some bullet points:

– All of our photos from the hike can be found here.

– Lucky us, we got the one hike per year that included Guatemalan teenage girls and their barely non-teenage supervisors. Yaay. The group we enlisted with, Quetzaltrekkers, is a non-profit group that donates all of its funds to a school for former street children. Some of these students were the girls who came along. Good cause, nice organization and all that. But when these girls were playing horrendous music (e.g. Eminem’s Love the Way You Lie) loudly on their phones in the middle of bucolic splendor, turning on the lights in our group sleeping room long after lights out, and chattering and listening to music throughout a spectacular sunset, we were not the only hikers who wished we had not gotten so “lucky.” But the fault was not that they were acting like the teenagers they are, the real problem was their supervisors not doing anything to stop them because they were far more concerned with being their friends than doing any actual supervising. Ok, here endeth the rant. Putting on a happy face:

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– We were comfortably on the older end of this hike. Several of our fellow hikers were “taking some time off” just like we are. They, however, were taking time off from COLLEGE. Our guide was 21 and she was not the youngest person on the hike. Barf.

– The first two days began with our two biggest hills. They were not fun. The second day began with a hike up “Record Hill,” so named because the guides keep track of the fastest ascents. Current record: 9:02. Our time: 19:45! We (read: Mike) was very proud of this time as it was in the “good” range. Anna was bummed the hill didn’t include 4 obstacles, a mud pit, 200 more meters of height and that she didn’t run up it on her hands. Here is the hill:

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And here is Mike celebrating:

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– The second night, we roasted marshmallows to make something close to s’mores. After the Israeli honeymooners and the Aussie birthday girl asked what s’mores were, a lengthy and impassioned debate ensued about how to make a proper s’more (quotes heard, “It’s a graham cracker not a biscuit!”).

– The #1 highlight of the trip was the sunrise over Lake Atitlan on the third morning:

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And a couple more photos of the hike that we liked:

Local children showed up to offer their encouragement…or to laugh at us. We couldn’t tell.

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Anna towering over nature.

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The “Cornfield of Death” which was a short, but incredibly steep climb through this cornfield seemingly growing out of the side of a hill.

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