Monday, February 23, 2009

Go With the Flow

By Graham

We were walking on a small trail winding in and out of the Costa Rican jungle. In the distance we could see our destination, Volcano Arenal. One of six active volcanoes in Costa Rica, Arenal looks just the way you would imagine: It’s a perfect cone. Rain forest covers the lower slopes, while higher up the mountain is bare volcanic rock. Steam pours out of the crater at the top.

About halfway along the trail, we heard a sound like thunder. What could it be? Was it a storm? Emerging from the jungle, we came face to face with a wall of volcanic rock. It was about 20 feet high and was formed during an eruption in 1992. When we reached the top, we all gasped. We had a great view of Arenal. We hiked over the old lava flow until we reached the end of the trail. We could go no further because of the danger of being caught in an eruption. I climbed to the top of a very tall rock. There I sat and watched the mountain.

Suddenly, I saw dust billowing up on the right flank of the volcano and heard the rumbling noise again. An eruption sent half-molten boulders bouncing down the mountain. They sounded like a wrecking ball destroying a building. Because we were so far away, the boulders looked like little black marbles, but they were actually about the size of a tractor-trailer. A massive cloud of dust and smoke exploded behind them.

We all thought of how painful it would be to be flattened by one. Now we are excited about hiking the dormant volcano Tenorio.

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