Clouds on the summit at approximately 6:00 a.m.

Clouds on the summit at approximately 6 a.m.

 

View toward the summit around 7:45 a.m., from halfway up. It cleared off, but it's still a lot steeper than it looks!

View toward the summit around 7:45 a.m., from halfway up. It cleared off, but it’s still a lot steeper than it looks!

 

At the top! Looking southeast down Guatemala's long chain of volcanoes.

At the top! Looking southeast down Guatemala’s long chain of volcanoes.

 

And northwest, to Volcanes Tajamulco and Tacana, the latter partly in Mexico.

And northwest, to Volcanoes Tajamulco and Tacana, the latter partly in Mexico.

 

The view east across the highlands.

The view east across the highlands.

 

And west directly down into Volcan Santiaguito, Santa Maria's creation, which erupts on schedule every 45 minutes.

And west directly down into Volcan Santiaguito, Santa Maria’s creation, which erupts on schedule every 45 minutes.

 

Also to the west, the mountains drop over 10,000 dramatic feet to the Pacific (whose shoreline we could just barely see in the distance).

Also to the west, the mountains drop over 10,000 dramatic feet to the Pacific (whose shoreline we could just barely see in the distance).

 

The hikers: Fernando, Jose, Lacey and I.

The hikers: Fernando, Jose, Lacey and I.

 

Volcanoes to the south.

 

 

Volcanoes to the north.

 

 

Volcan Santiaguito.

 

 

View to the east.

 

 

Volcanoes to the south again.

 

 

Before heading down, we picked out some favorite Xela landmarks.

Before heading down, we picked out some favorite Xela landmarks.

 

And got back in time for lunch.

And got back in time for lunch.

 

Santa Maria.

 

 

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