Hello to everyone who has been following X Ray’s progress as we give you this instalment from the foot of the Cerra Negra in Nicaragua.
Since our last update we’ve walked over 125km, and after spending several days in the rocky mountains we have now descended to the flat roads surrounding the smoking Volcan Momotombo which has loomed over us for the past few days. Temperatures have increased as we headed south, often reaching unbearable proportions in the middle of the day. Subsequently early starts have been implemented to avoid this, with 3am deployment a common occurrence.
We were paid a visit by Fieldbase’s Dave, Holly, Ale and Jemma whilst we stayed at San Martin – their food drop and messages of support from home were much appreciated, and provided a view of the world far removed from the one we’re in!
Alongside Kelly’s birthday previously, we also celebrated VM Caroline’s birthday, who was 29 on Wednesday. In true trek style – apple juice and energy bomb cake was distributed at 3am, and I’m sure Caroline won’t forget blowing out the candle before embarking on a day of 21km walking.
Over the past few weeks we have continued our wildlife observation, especially amongst the pigs, cows, horses and dogs which roam freely on our route. Mark made the error of leaving his porridge unattended one morning and returned to find a pig with a nose for Raleigh rations, snuffling away in his mess tin. Our accommodation one night also had an animal related incident of note. The routecard informed us we would be staying in a barn – it did not mention that it was overrun with chickens, which quickly made their homes in our rucksacks; several members waking up from afternoon naps to discover they’d shared accommodation with feathered friends.
The past week has been, for many, one of the toughest of their lives – both mentally and physically. The distance has begun to take its toll and had you passed out in the Nicaraguan countryside, you’d be forgiven for mistaking us for soldiers returning from the battlefield as we limp from village to village, bandaged head to toe in zinc oxide tape (Rosie is literally mummified). Nevertheless camaraderie and morale remains high as we enter our final few days and the scale of the challenge we faced had brought us closer together.
Today we arrived at the base of Cerra Negra where we will spend the night and climb the volcano with the Bravo group in the morning, before heading to our finishing point at the lagoon. Soon we will be back in Costa Rica, at Fieldbase, regaling tales of what has been a truly fantastic and unforgettable experience.
Thank you for reading
X Ray 3 out, Deacachimba!
The author Sam would like to wish little sister Molly a very happy 9th birthday. And who are we to deny such a wish. Happy 9th birthday Molly!