The next port was Guatemala and the Pacaya Volcano. We had a group of people to go with us, Trixie, Rhys, Natasha, Mike and his wife, and of course Greg and I and Ciaran and Aodhan. The climb started in a little village where 17 children tried to sell up walking sticks, and two of them got into fisticuffs over who bought who’s stick... I ended up giving both of them a dollar. The climb started with a fairly brisk uphill walk through woods and pastures. We emerged onto a gravel slope that was reminiscent of a moonscape. We had to go downhill a little and then uphill. The downhill was fun, as you would sink in as you jumped from foot to foot. Our shoes got filled with gravel. The next part was large rocks. It was really moon-like now, and the ponies that some people had rented for $18 had to be left behind. We were starting to get very thankful for our hiking boots. After quite a climb up some of the most rugged terrain I have ever been on, I was beginning to wonder why the hell I chose this stupid tour anyway. I was exhausted, and rocks were slipping under me. It was getting a little scary to be honest. I was about ready to give up. I was starting to get a little resentful of Greg’s shiny new lightweight hiking shoes and why I had my old treadless wonders that slipped down with every step up. Finally the guide took us off the path a bit across the rocks and was very excited to show us something. He said not to step on the white powdery parts of the rocks because they were a little hot... I took the kids across, careful not to put my hands down. I could see some red parts glowing under some of the rocks - in some of the cracks. Still not really worth the climb I resentfully hyperventilated to myself. I could almost feel the soles of my shoes melting beneath my feet - a little scary; no a lot scary. Why the hell was I here on a live volcano; why would I bring my kids? I took one more step and I saw it. A small channel of lava flowing down the hill. Oh My God! It was real lava. It was way to hot to look at for more than a few seconds. We went back to the path and continued up. The climb was near impossible now, with knife sharp rocks on the path and rocks on either side that were too hot to touch. It was worth it. It was all worth it. Everything. We came to a place that was more level, and there was a big cave of cooled lava, with lava pumping out of the earth, and pouring down the side of the mountain into a tunnel of cooled lava. I have never seen anything like it, and may never again in my life. We stood no more than a couple of metres from it and roasted marshmallows. They roasted instantly and perfectly. Lava roasted marshmallows are delicious! We stayed for about 15 minutes, and took photos and watched as our guide prodded the lava with a stick. The guide started to get a little nervous because rocks were starting to fall down the side of the mountain above us - remember, this is an active volcano!! We left and high-tailed it down the mountain. Unforgettable. At the end of the trip we found out that the sticks were just for rent - they wanted them back to rent to the next people:-)