My journal from day 2:
Up at 6am to church bells. Rice, beans + “tortugas” for breakfast @ local family. Puppies. 10:16 up record hill (best client time). Shoe untied. Lunch nap. Stepped in poop. “Salem” – Israeli metal band. Beers in small town; store in courtyard. Sunset. Church karaoke. Don Pedro’s home w/ fire pit + christmas music lights. Shower. Dinner in hall w/ fat baby big cheese calendar. Don Pedro sang.
Chalk graffiti in town.
One of our guides, Brandon, finishing “Record Hill.”
QT treks to the lake have a competition for the best time up this hill (with packs). Anything under 14 minutes is considered good, with the best time (9.02) set by Santi, the guide who’s done it 20+ times and recently ran a half marathon in 1:17. I set a new client-best on the hill with a time of 10:17, despite having to stop and tie my shoe. I then rapped “Backseat Freestyle” by Kendrick Lamar and coughed uncontrollably for the next 15 minutes.
Don Pedro and his family host 10-20 Quetzal Trekkers two times a week, every week. Their son used to work for one of the organizations supported by QT, and when a QT hike was robbed while camping out some years ago, they offered up their home as a safe place to stay. They prepare homemade food, allow us to their firepit and shower, and let us sleep in their home. On the night we were there, Don Pedro sang us a few songs as we unwound before bed.
On our final day, we woke at 3:45am for a 45 minute hike to the mirador to catch the sunrise over Lago Atitlan.
Up at 3:45. Hike w/ cops in dark to overlook. Layout bags. Sunrise. Oatmeal+PB&J breakfast. Hike down. Pineapple @ overlook. Hill of the cross. Guard shack at bottom (sign in). Clarine bee in hair. Coffee cooperative (La Voz). Lunch @ weaving cooperative. Got bags back + granola. Tuk-tuk w/ Clarine to San Pedro. Hotel Tepepul Kaan. Met Justin from Antigua. Old man w/ beard & avocado. Dinner @ Buddha bar. Marisa from Detroit.
One of the weaving cooperative’s signs
After saying goodbye to the trekkers, we caught a tuk tuk to the next town over and checked into our hotel. Justin, who we originally met in Antigua but who’s been living in San Pedro, stopped by and we went out for dinner. Our waitress was from Detroit, and Clay and I both crashed by 9pm. It was a long but very rewarding day.