Florida has treated us to some spectacular lightning strikes the last few days – cloud to earth vertical forks so brilliant I was actually blinded when driving on I-4 the other day. I’m hoping they aren’t a portent for our upcoming trip to Ecuador’s Avenue of Volcanoes. It is true that Cotopaxi, which is the highest active volcano in the world, has started to show signs of activity. While I have read that an eruption is not considered imminent, the mountain is degassing, letting off five times the normal amount of sulphur. So, we can add that to the obstacles we’ll have to contend with. I suppose there’s a chance that the mountain could be dicey enough that it is closed to climbers – but there are plenty of other mountains in Ecuador – not to mention the highest peak, Chimborazo, which we are already scheduled to climb. And at least it is a dead volcano.
So when I’m not scouring the Internet with search terms like “latest volcanic activity on Cotopaxi,” husband J and I are in the throes of last minute gear assembly and packing for Saturday’s departure on Copa Air. Our to do list includes items such as “cut 60 feet of rope into two 30 feet lengths,” buy GUs (for me) and those square gel energy things (for J), and “locate long underwear” (it’s amazing how things can get lost in a not particularly large house).
I have also reached that blessed moment where I feel I can finally taper back on the training. I had my “PR” – to use a term of all you Crossfit people out there – on the stairs last week, 9 times up and down the building with a 25 pound pack. I may do more stairs but without the weight, as the pack is soon to be filled with climbing gear. And any really long runs are coming to an end just in time – because I’ve discovered that running in 90 degree heat and 90 percent humidity is no fun and certainly does nothing good for your splits (times for each mile).
As these months of training draw to a close and the days of packing ensue – all I can hope is we’ve done what it will take. And equally important pray that the volcano and mountain gods will look kindly upon these poor mortals as they venture up.