The Volcano Izalco Hike
Along with the team from Southwestern University I hiked the volcano Izalco that sits at 6,398 feet above sea level. It's last eruption was in 1966. You start off from Cerro Verde and with a guide and a police officer begin the descent on a woodsy trail. After you have walked down somewhere between 1500 to 1700 stairs you are ready to start the trek up the volcano. From the top of the stairs I tracked the hike all the way until we reached the crater and it said it was 2.17 miles and it took us 57.19. I did not track it on the way back but I am positive it lasted longer because you have to go back up all those stairs which was definitely the most strenuous part. Once you are hiking the volcano it is very unstable, loose rocks and gravel which makes it difficult going up but you are able to kind of slide your way down. I was the second person to complete the hike and I did it at 3 hours exact, it was probably a little less because we hung out on the crater for a while but my pace was considerably faster than most. It was most definitely a challenge but well worth it. I would recommend quite a few things for this more than average strenuous hike. You can do it without but I would have loved to have some hiking spikes or even cleats. I was wearing my running shoes, which never hurt my feet, but weren't ideal for the slick terrain. However, I am very glad I did not wear my Keens, which are closed toed, but have openings because rocks would have continually entered in the shoe. You should bring sufficient water. I had my Nalgene bottle filled and by the time I completed the volcano hike it was empty and I still had to go up all those stairs which was really hard when you are dying for water. I should have brought at least two more bottles with me. I would highly recommend a walking stick; which significantly helped me. This is a difficult hike but worth it. The view is beautiful and seeing the smoke coming out of the earth was breathtaking.