When Pedro had been in primary school, a teacher of his taught him about the youngest volcano in the world, Parícutin. It was born in 1943, and to Pedro that was the greatest thing in the world. So when he came to Mexico he decided that we had to go, even though it was one heck of a detour from Mexico City. He of course didn’t just want to see it, but also to climb it, so we arranged a rest day in Uruapan with our host Javier and got up early to head to the town of Angahuan where the trail starts.
We took a bus and when we got off were immediately met by people trying to offer to be our guides. We knew we would need a guide, but wanted to do it cheaply so when they started at expensive prices we knew it wasn’t worth haggling and kept heading to the town to find breakfast. They followed us and even though we turned them down a good few times they seemed to think that we’d be going up with them, they were wrong. We found a remarkably delicious place for breakfast where for only 30 pesos we got eggs, steak, beans and fresh avocados as well as freshly made tortillas. After eating we explained our situation and within 5 minutes had a friend of theirs that was willing to guide us for a reasonable 280 pesos instead of the 600 that the original ones had wanted.
I had my ninja shoes, and Pedro his bike shoes. They’d taken a beating climbing the Volcan de los Tres Virgens back in Baja, but they were the best option he had. The guide warned us about elevation sickness, but having been in DF for months the jump from 2,300m to a peak of 2,800m wasn’t going to be noticeable.
We started with a lovely walk through the woods where we immediately realised why we needed a guide. There was a path for those who take mounts to the top, but for those on foot there are so many options that criss-cross it would have probably seen us getting incredibly lost, and at least not knowing the shortcuts that our guide did.
After the woods we arrived at the lava field which just seemed to go on for ever and then more. It started out as a nice change, but the rocks were incredibly sharp and I could feel them all through the soles of my Vibrams, and also meant that every time I stubbed my toe it was incredibly painful, and that happened countless times in the hour+ walk across and ascent to the peak. Because the volcano only erupted in 1943 the rocks have not had time to erode to the smoothness of on other volcanoes like Fuji, the other big volcano that I’ve climbed.
At the crater I sat down to enjoy the view, while Pedro and the guide walked the whole way round it. It also made for some cool pictures of them being really small walking around.
On the way down we got to cross the same lava field, and it seemed to stretch out even longer than it had the first time. My feet were starting to tire a little and that really didn’t help. When we eventually made it back to the forest it was so lovely as the ability to feel everything through the sole became a benefit as it was so soft after the knife-like rocks. Pedro’s bike shoes had also taken a beating and was worried that they would fall completely apart.
On the way down we got passed by a pick-up truck that saved us thirty minutes of walking and took us to the ruins. Pedro explains them in the video, but basically when the volcano erupted people hid behind the church praying to be saved and were not. I’ve not been to Pompei, but it’s how I imagine a small part of it looks.
Back in town we went back to the same restaurant, and Pedro devoured two plates and a bottle of beer before we headed back to Uruapan as we were out riding the next day. We had climbed the youngest volcano in the world, and Pedro had achieved a dream from 6th grade, a successful day!
Top of Paricutin
Sitting on a volcano