Rue du Pourquoi Pas

Parce qu’il y a toujours une route qui, quelque part, m’attend.
Carnets de route, photos de voyages, et pensées vagabondes.

Écrit par : Sébastien ChionFebruary 10th, 2016
82 English

It has been a long time since I have been woken by the bells of a church. I do not like it when it happens too often, but every once in a while, it’s nice. It’s a sound that I like. There is something calming. Reassuring.

We had to wake up early anyway. But in the end, I went back to sleep … to be woken up again by the bells. And go back to sleep. Finally, not so early… The official woke up finally took place at 6:30. No idea what time they ring the bells here …

Soon after, we are all set around two large tables. A man brings each of us a plate with rice, beans and scrambled eggs. There is no tea, but a very light coffee. I flinch, because I wanted a hot drink. Time to sing happy birthday to Ben, one of the three guides, and we leave. The group is enthusiastic and motivated, but we’re all wearing our coats. Cold morning! We will first stop after a minute, as soon as we get in the sun. Dropping our coats and singing happy birthday to Ben. And we leave for good. We follow a dirt road that goes up the valley. The scenery is amazing. I walk with enthusiasm, pleased to feel no pain after 18 kms from the day before. This time, we have 17 to cross. We walk on the mountainside for a while. The valley makes me dream. Another time maybe.


After a while and a first break, we leave the road to get to the bottom of the valley. Down the better to go to the other side.

After a few minutes walking the bottom of the valley, we arrive at the foot of the most famous passage of the hike. “Record Hill”. 200 vertical meters, gained in just under 800 meters. The place is called like that, because the big game is to time yourself. The three guides start one after another. I go next. I like this kind of physical test. I like the stupide side of the challenge. I only have ten kilos on my back, I think, but it rises steeply. It will take me 14 minutes to reach the top, pretty proud of myself. Ben did it in just over 9 minutes. Andrew needed a bit more than 8. It appears that less than 15 for the first time, it’s not bad. We will be three to reach 14 minutes. I am happy for that my legs recover quickly. As my lungs. I wanted to be in among the first to reach the top to take pictures of the arrival of each. Yes, I also took pictures while climbing. No, I did not stop for framing.

Après une longue pause bien méritée (et un autre « joyeux anniversaire »), nous attaquons la fin de l’ascension. Le paysage ne cesse pas de changer. Pas plus qu’il ne cesse d’être magnifique. Nous finissons par atteindre le haut de la vallée, et continuons sur le plateau. Nous arrivons ensuite dans un village connu des randonneurs sous le nom de « ice cream village ». Je vous laisse deviner pourquoi…

After a long well deserved break (and one more “happy birthday”), we attack the end of the climb. The landscape never stops changing. Nor does it cease to be beautiful. We finally reach the top of the valley and continue on the flat at the top. We arrive in a village known for hikers as the “ice cream village.” Guess why …


After this new break, we leave. Crossing the village is special. strange feeling. We are an attraction for all those people who have to ask what we play. They used to see passing gringos. Quetzaltrekkers done this hike twice a week. This does not stop people to laught at us. The children run to greet us. I’m really in the heart of Guatemala. I am happy. This is what I want.

An hour later, after passing through cornfields, and admired other beautiful landscapes, we stop to eat a delicious lunch. We sing happy birthday to Ben for the seventh or eighth time. Each time, he tells us a year of his life in reverse chronological order. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with a profile rather random, unpredictable and improbable. And I love the idea to mark a birthday by jumps in the past!

After lunch, we start the descent into the next valley. At the bottom of this valley flows a river that we will have to pass nine times. Most people slip on shoes made to go in the water (provided by Quetzaltrekkers). I prefer to go barefoot. I miss walking barefoot, and that makes a world of good after wearing shoes without interruption not necessarily super comfortable. And the cold water at river crossings, is a real treat! The dust of the road is soft and light. And I am happy.

At one point, Megan stopped me. The backpack, large pants, shoes hanging on the bag, going barefoot … she likes the pictures, thinks it looks like me. I smiled, thinking about this picture that Boulette made me a few months ago. Almost the same situation. So me… I like people to see me like that. Because I think that’s the way I am, indeed.

We cross the river one last time. Fifteen minutes later, we are faced with the other famous passage of the day. “Corn field of the death.” A wall that we must overcome. After that, twenty minutes flat, and it’s over. I like to test my body, test its limits. Know how much energy I still have after such a day … so I follow Andrew, catch up with its speed. I’m sweating. My legs are protesting, but they follow. For years now I have an arrangement with my body. We get on well me and him. He did what I asked, and I let him eat all he wants in the evening. I breathe faster, but I’m hanging in there. I follow Andrew to the top.

And twenty minutes later, indeed, we arrive at destination. We are greeted with delicious smoothies. The bags are dropped, people are relaxed, we take all the food together in joy, good humor, and quietness.

Soon after, everyone finds the fire. The shamalows circulate. People keep talking for a while. The firsts go to bed at 19. The lasts at 21. It must be said that we have to wake up at 4 am the next day. This is the condition to see the sunrise over the lake!

Once everyone is asleep, I pull out my notebook. I write for a while. To enjoy the quiet of the night. And the last calories of the firewood. I know the night will be short, I know that tomorrow will be my last evening at the Iguana. So I better not stay awake to long. Anyway, I’ve written what I have to. I’ll find my sleeping bag, and enjoy a well deserved rest!


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