"After an intense, three-hour ascent up 8,371-foot (2,552-meter) Pacaya, one of Guatemala's most active volcanoes, it was an utter joy to let gravity do the work and just slip-slide down the ash on the summit trail. During the entire descent, my guide, Karen Ayala (pictured below me on the slope), and I were laughing hysterically partially due to the sheer joy of zooming down the face of the volcano, and partially because we were terrified by the fact that we were, indeed, zooming!"
Do-It-Yourself: "Most people base themselves in Antigua, but I was in Guatemala City at the time. Before embarking on your trip, be sure that you are dressed appropriately. It gets very brisk and windy as you climb higher, so bring layers. Also, don't wear sandals. I saw one woman wearing sporty sandals who, every few minutes, had to stop and remove all the volcanic grit that got stuck to her feet."
Photograph courtesy of Irene Yung
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