The whole group at the peak of our hike, with Pacaya in the background.

During the entire trip, my anxiety was building for our hike on Pacaya, an active volcano thirty minutes away from Antigua. I am not very athletic and legitimately thought I would pass out if I hiked the entire time. Thankfully, Dr. Hale decided to arrange horses to help us out of shape folk finish the hike. On the way up, I tried my best to start without a horse, but quickly realized I needed help. Immediately, we were on a sharp incline, and I was instantly out of breath. I got on my horse for the day, name Stevie, and rode the rest of the way in peace. At the midway point of the hike, there was a scenic overlook that displayed a beautiful view of the nearby mountain chains. Once we made it to the top, we spent a while looking at the peak of Pacaya, and the other volcanoes in the distance. Our hike was one of the closets ways to view the active volcano, it’s illegal to hike all the way up because of the danger from the hot ash and lava.

On the way down, I wanted to walk because it was kind of scary going on the horses downhill. About twenty minutes into the hike down, I slipped on some gravel and fell on my knee, scraping it pretty badly. I should have taken it as my sign to get back on the horse. But I didn’t hurt any joints, so I decided to continue to walk. Only a few minutes later, I roll my ankle on the slick rocks. My horse handler and tour guide had to pick me up and put me on a horse because I was unable to walk. After a bit on the horse my ankle started to feel better, so I knew it wasn’t broken. Once the hike was over, we loaded back into the van, and I iced and wrapped my ankle when we returned to Casa Herrera. Although I got hurt a couple of times, the excursion was definitely worth it. I had a great time riding a horse and am thankful I got to experience such an amazing view!