I know what you’re thinking. How did you get from Peru to the End of the Road? Aren’t there a few countries and several thousand miles in between? The truth, it seems, is that we’re not very good bloggers. Or, at the very least, we’re not very timely bloggers. Despite this fact, we wanted to share an important milestone. After 18 months of travel and 36,000 miles, through 16 countries and 2 continents, we have finally arrived at the end of the road. Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world and we drove here. From Massachusetts.
After our hike in El Imposible, we decided to stick together as a group a bit longer and visit the renowned feria gastronomica, or food festival, in the small mountain town of Juayua. I mean, who doesn’t crave some freshly grilled iguana after a long hike in the sweltering heat? We arrived in town just in time to watch the vendors pack away their culinary delights and soon found out the festival was wrapping up for the weekend due to the national election that was taking place the next day.
One year ago today, Zach and I pointed Blue Steel due West and began the adventure of a lifetime. We started our trip in CT so it seems only fitting that we are back here today celebrating one year on the road. It is also fitting that the northeast is experiencing somewhat of a heatwave, with record temperatures and brutal humidity. It’s as if we never left Central America. Though much has changed since we’ve arrived back in the states, not the least of which is the fact that we both have to go to work today!
Our plan to make it to Parque Nacional El Imposible before dark seemed reasonable enough. Distance-wise, it wasn’t far and the border crossing into El Salvador went smoothly, leaving us plenty of daylight for the trek. Between the four of us we had three maps and a handheld GPS. The fact that the road to El Imposible was in a slightly different location on each map didn’t phase us at all. It wouldn’t be the first time we used a less than mediocre map (or, no map at all) to navigate Central American roads. We’re experts, we thought. Besides, even if we got lost we had twelve weeks of Spanish class between us – we could easily use our new skills to ask for directions from the locals.
We departed Antigua early in the morning with plans to hike Volcan Pacaya. Well under a half day’s drive from Antigua we planned to get there early enough to hike to the summit before the clouds set in. Fast forward 3 hours and a number of U turns later we still had no idea where the hell we were. As we lovingly discussed with each other how we would revise our plans we decided that our chances to summit were quickly evaporating. Instead of waiting around to hike the following day we followed our standard break glass in case of emergency procedure. When all else fails and we continue to be grumpy, we move on. For us, a change of scenery will almost always reverse the flow of karma and result in a change in mood. We decided to make our way to the black sand beaches of Monterrico on Guatemala’s southern coast.
From Caye Caulker we continued our travels through the small country of Belize, heading west towards the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. We had heard good things about the Belize Zoo and, even though zoos are really not our thing and even though it was expensive ($15 USD/person), we decided to stop. The zoo is filled with over 100 rescue animals native to the area, including jaguars, ocelots, howler monkeys, tapirs, and various species of birds, including the largest in central America, the Jabiru. While the jury’s still out on whether it was worth the entrance fee, it was cool to see many animals we may not get a chance to see during our travels.