Climbing Volcan Barú was easily the most difficult task of my life. Being an un-athletic, asthmatic with no proper gear. I was in for a crazy adventure. When traveling there are towns that are popular to visit because of certain attractions. Maybe they have national parks, beaches, great nightlife, and for Boquete it was Volcan Barú. It was popular to leave late in the night so by the time you make it to the top you can watch the sunrise. And being on top of the tallest point in Panama and probably all of Central America, it was possible to see both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
I was told it was easy and not to worry. It gets a bit cold but that’s alright. Well have I mentioned how out of shape I’m in! Like getting up too fast gets my head dizzy. So anyway, our whole hostel jumps into this bus in the middle of the night and we get dropped off at the bottom of the Volcanoe. All we have is some headlamps to light the way in utter complete darkness. As we proceed up the Volcanoe I’m already cramping up and sweating. This is only kilometer two. The whole hike is 27 and a half kilometers long and the first half is all uphill. But we keep trudging up, me at the rear. The far far rear.
I making my way as best as I can in the dark and the farther up we go the more mist and cloud are becoming one. It starts raining sideways so after a few minutes my poncho becomes useless and my clothes are soaked. It’s like this for the three or so hours. The higher up we go the colder it gets. But the longer we rest the more we get rained on. Either way we were fucked. So going against all the advice we head up as fast as we can. We are one kilometer from the summit but it’s only four in the morning. We decide to wait for the sun to start coming up so we can summit safely . All we found for shelter was an abandoned hollowed out rest stop. It was cold and we all huddled for warmth for two and a half hours. We tried to talk each other through it but one by one people started falling asleep. As the cold started to make me feel warm I drifted in and out of sleep until someone’s alarm went off. We all woke up, and proceeded onward. That was a very scary moment and I do not advise anyone falling asleep when they are huddling for warmth in almost below freezing temperatures.
As we summit Barú we notice there were too many clouds from the rainstorm blocking the view. You could not see four feet in front of you.
Some people in my group were upset but I couldn’t stop smiling. There were times I wanted to turn back and times I thought I’d might die. But my resolve was like iron and I accomplished something I thought at times seemed impossible. Pushing yourself in extremes environments causes change and you will like that person much better than the version of yourself who quit.