I was toying with the idea of staying on at Quetzel Trekkers for a while longer and while discussing it with a few people I came to the conclusion that it was time to go. I think it is better to leave while a bit melancholic (I had to look that word up) then leave when I was happy. I have reached my best fore date and it is time to toss away the dirty, nasty, ripped and volcano beaten clothing. With that, yesterday was my final hike with Quetzel Trekkers. During my pre-hike talk I mentioned to the guest that this was going to be my final hike and thanked them for being a part of it. When taking the photo below they started shouting for me to get in front and strike a pose. It was a nice moment of support from complete strangers. Thank you to Kathi and Ken2 for assisting me on this final hike and giving me center state. This is always a team effort.
|Final hike up Cerro Negro with a large group of anxious volcano boarders|
I want to thank Mitch, Megan, Carina, Chichara, Erlan, Eric, Rolando, Caro, Kathi, Grace, Kieran, Jake, Christian, Halle, Ben, Ken2, Teresa, Sophie, Lotta, Theo, Ipalito, Bismark, Victor, Caña, Cerro Negro, Telica, Momotombo, San Cristobal, El Hoyo, Las Pilas, and Coseguina. This was nothing without all of you.
|Now that is a crew!|
There were vegans, lactose intolerant, gluten free and celiac. Bragging personal trainers who learned that they were not in the shape they thought. There were tears, long rests and puking hikers. Great meals and betters stories. Hikers you thought would crush the trail and did not and hikers who you thought would suffer and leading the way.
In the end there were always smiles, a knowing sense of accomplishment, long hugs and a sincere thank you. The tipping cow was fed and our beer supply intact. The was the battle for hiker supremacy on Trip Adviser and bragging rights for the moment.
|Ipaulito. The coolest driver with QT|
Finally, the nerd in me has kept some stats. There has been 291 hikers on 41 hikes from 25 Countries.
HikersUSA 55, Canada 55, Holland 38,Germany 32, France 24, England 20, Sweden 12, Switzerland 9, Australia 10, Finland 8, New Zealand 3, Spain 3, Israel 3, Belgium 4, Costa Rica 2, Ireland 2, Lithuania 2, Italy 2, Austria 1, Belize 1, Denmark 1, Greece 1, India 1, Scotland 1, Turkey 1
Cerro Negro 25, El Hoyo 9, Telica 5, San Cristobal 1, Coseguina 1
From these hikes and the incredible people I was able to meet and talk with I created a list of observations. They are generalizations but were consistent across all hikes.
In the best shape / healthiest - Swiss
Most out of shape/ unhealthiest - Americans
Biggest complainers - Americans
Most questions - Germans
Never shut the fu** up - French
Quietest - Belgians
Loudest - Everyone compared to the Belgians
Cheeriest - Dutch
Friendliest - Dutch
Tallest - Dutch
Most appreciative/sincerest - Dutch, Swedes
Best post trip hugs. Dutch woman
Quickest post hike beer (either at the ranger station or La Paz Centro) - Canadians, Australians
Strongest Hikers - Swiss
Weakest Hikers - Americans
Rudest without really realizing it- French
Calmest - Swedes, Finns
Flashiest gear - Americans, Swiss
Best tippers - Americans
First to talk Politics - Americans
First to ignore political talk - Everyone Else
Biggest trouble makers in a fun way- British (Including Irish, Scottish and English)
First to ask for a discount - Anyone under the age of 23 because they are "soooo broke"
First to need help on a hike - Anyone under the age of 23 because it is "soooo hard"
First to offer help with the hike - Canadians, Americans, Swedes, Finns,
First to let us know something could be done better - Germans
Best recipe - banana pancakes
2 medium/large bananas
1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
Mash up 2 bananas in bowl until it's mush. Stir in the peanut butter and 2 eggs. Add a little cinnamon to the batter. Then mix it all up ! Oil a pan and make amazing pancakes. I like to add honey and lavender on top when they're done. But it's a healthy and delicious alternative to pancakes !!!