The Hike that almost Killed Me

I apologize folks, this posting was originally published when my blog was a baby and I don’t think many people read it.  So I am reposting it since many were curious when I shared some photos taken during my hike to the top of Pacaya.  During this adventure I learned the hard way that I had let myself go.  I was a bit hesitant about hiking a volcano, but I thought “Hey, I used to ride my bike 40 miles a day.  I’ll be fine.”  Of course it had been two years since I was riding my bike every day.  Granted I walked to work each and every day, but that was only 25 minutes each way on a level surface.  Not much of a challenge.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I was completely out of shape.  Just the hike to the base of the volcano wiped me out.  I was out of breath and my legs were dog-tired.  The views, though, were amazing.

Then our guide pointed to our destination.  I was horrified!

How in the world would I force my tired body to the top?  To make matters worse, the climb was much harder due to the ash and volcanic rock.  It was like climbing a mountain covered with ten inches of snow.  Once you plunked your foot down, it sunk several inches.  Then you had to exert to not only dig your foot out but to move it forward.  And repeat the process all over again.  If you weren’t dealing with the ash, the volcanic rock was just as difficult to step on.

At first I was self-conscious about being out of shape.  That only lasted the first twenty minutes hiking in the ash.  After that I only wanted to make it to the top, even if I had to crawl.  Careful though, as you get closer to the top don’t touch the rocks.  They are hot!

I made it to the top and saw the lava flowing out of Pacaya.  Almost missing this experience proved to me that I needed to get into better shape.  I did not want to suffer so much to see something so beautiful and amazing.

Last weekend I was in an outdoor store that was going out of business.  This is a shame since I love these types of store.  But it didn’t stop me from buying stuff, including a pedometer.  Even though I have been better about exercising since my Pacaya experience, I thought more encouragement wouldn’t hurt.  I have always done better when I can see progress.  So I thought the pedometer would help me get outside more and walk and add up the miles.  Summer is approaching and I want to enjoy.  Thanks for reading this and if you are reading it for the second time, I really appreciate it!

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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55 Responses to The Hike that almost Killed Me

  1. niasunset says:

    WOW! What a great experience… Should be amazing. Beautiful view… beautiful photographs. Thank you dear TBM, with my love, nia

  2. So cool – glad you lived to tell your story!!! 😉 Thanks for sharing again!!! 🙂 **

  3. Silvia says:

    AMAZING photos and well done for you. I was thinking about walking the Camino de Santiago but I am in worst shape than you surely. Maybe one day.

  4. Elisa says:

    What an amazing challenge and accomplishment! Thanks for sharing the story along with the great pics.


    • TBM says:

      It does feel good knowing that I was able to do it, even though it wasn’t pretty. And I was sore as heck after. But I did it. Thanks!

  5. Caroline says:

    Oh how I know these thoughts “But I used to do this all the time”. Sure. Used. x years ago…
    The photos are great.

  6. patricia says:

    I like your title. I think we can all relate to some outdoor experience that nearly killed us. The bike ride, the wave surfing…It makes me laugh now. Beautiful photos as always.

    • TBM says:

      Oh we still chuckle over how silly I looked conquering the volcano and the pain I was in the next day. I could barely move my legs. I haven’t tried surfing yet. I should add that to my list. Thanks Patricia.

  7. I also climbed Pacaya during my 4 months in Guatamala. It is where I discovered that I get altitude sickness. The hike, as you describe it was bad enough. (Interestingly I had just recently recovered from a bad ACL sprain.) But right around 8000 feet, the last 500 feet or so, I truly thought I was going to die. It was impossible to breathe.

    • TBM says:

      This would be a really difficult hike for those who suffer from altitude sickness. And an injury! You are a trooper. Fortunately I never had an issue with altitude sickness. I was just out of shape so I don’t have any excuses besides letting myself go. Glad you survived. Altitude sickness can be quite serious and now you know, which is good.

  8. It makes it worse, sometimes, when you see the final destination! But it’s all the more satistying when you can look back upon it and say, “I did that!” Nice story, TBM.

    • TBM says:

      When I looked up and saw the dusty trail I briefly considered sitting down and watching the others. Thank goodness I didn’t!

  9. Valentina says:

    I went on Mount Vesuvio in Italy hiking to the top, but it wasn’t as strenuous as your hiking, at least it didn’t seem at that time, so many moons ago. It’s beautiful though to be connected to the earth.

    • TBM says:

      I really can’t wait to go to Italy. I want to make sure I’ll have plenty of time to see as much as I can. I love feeling connected to the earth…there is so much beauty.

      • Valentina says:

        Hiking and biking trails everywhere in Italy from North to South. Just like any country in the world, there is so much to see, it’s impossible to see it all in one trip.

      • TBM says:

        Italy is one of those countries that would take years and years, if not a lifetime, to absorb as much as possible. With the art, architecture, natural beauty, cities and rural areas, it would be hard to really enjoy all at once.

  10. Beautiful shots. I couldn’t even imagine having to hike that and I’m in pretty decent shape!!! How is the working out going? Did the pedometer work? 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend.

    • TBM says:

      The working out is positive right now and so far I am enjoying the pedometer. It is fun to see the miles add up. Thanks!

  11. orples says:

    It looks like the guy on the horse has the right idea … my kind of exploring! 😉 Judging from your photographs, it looks like country worth exploring, too. I love those lava shots … very colorful!

  12. Fergiemoto says:

    Wow, quite an adventure! That’s amazing and awesome that you accomplished it! Yay!

  13. scrapydo says:

    Good on you for starting to get into shape for another big adventure. Lovely post, I enjoyed reading about it.

    • TBM says:

      I have been really focused this last week about working out…I hope I can keep it up. Thank goodness I live in an area that is beautiful to walk around–that keeps my interest. I was never the type to enjoy a gym.

  14. Madhu says:

    Wow! Good for you! You have inspired me to try and get to a live volcano before i get too old!

  15. Gilly Gee says:

    This is absolutely amazing and I am in awe of you TBM! I know what you mean about posts from way back and when they are as good as this I’m glad you reposted, well done!

  16. Novroz says:

    I am glad you are okay TBM.
    The view is breathtaking…but wow the struggle to get there!! You awed me.

  17. wolke205 says:

    Wow wow wow!! Stunning photos, worth the hiking 😉

  18. Jackie Cangro says:

    This reminds me of a funny essay by Sloane Crosley. It’s called Up the Down Volcano. She describes her adventure scaling a volcano in Ecuador. She was woefully out of shape and unprepared. You have very similar stories!

  19. Absolutely amazing and definietely worth a second spin. I didn’t catch it the first time, so I’m pleased to be seeing it now. Great work and worth the hike.

    • TBM says:

      Thanks…it was a wonderful experience and a great learning experience. Do not hike a volcano if you haven’t climbed a hill in the last year 🙂

  20. zelmare says:

    It must have been an awesome experience. Love the pictures. 🙂

  21. Robin says:

    Wow! That looks like an amazing hike! I’m measuring my fitness with a pedometer, too. Here’s to being fit enough to climb to the top. 🙂

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  23. petit4chocolatier says:

    This looks incredible 🙂
    Good for you!!

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