OverviewThis is the story of a spectacular journey we took through Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador between December 18 2008 and January 5 2009. Participants were my wife Kimberly, my six year old son Kessler and my four year old daughter Shaylee. We climbed several rugged mountains, explored deep gorges, climbed to beautiful waterfalls and saw much wildlife. The photos will tell most of the story.
Copán Ruinas-December 19 2008These are some photos taken of the incredible Mayan site Copán Ruinas in Honduras near the Guatemala border. While not really mountaineering (unless you count climbing ancient stone steps) and the walking around the ruins is fascinating and a must do for anyone in the area, so don't miss it. An estimated 18,000-25,000 people lived there at one time during the period 400-800 AD.
Cañon de Sapo-December 20 2008Cañon de Sapo is an interesting slot canyon near Copan Ruins right on the Honduras/Guatemala border. While many people visit the main ruins in Copan few make the trek into the canyon. Along the way are other lesser known Mayan ruins (such as the fertility site) and some nice forest and scenery. The canyon itself is a real challenge and has several slippery climbs to get all the way through.
Because the canyon is little know, we asked a local guide if he could take us through. We were told that it would be a difficult trip for children, but that we could try it. We had to climb over many trees and rocks along the way and the kids enjoyed seeing the hidden Mayan ruins and petroglyphs.
The gorge itself was both beautiful and technical, but it had some fixed ropes making climbing through easier. Kessler and I made it all the way through while Shaylee and Kimberly made it most of the way.
El Pital-December 22 2008We decided to head to El Salvador to climb the highest summit there. We climbed the peak from Rio Chiquito.
Although a steep and narrow road does reach high on the mountain, there are trails up as well and they pass through some nice pastures and rainforest. We decided to climb the mountain entirely on foot.
Since the top is in both countries and a monument marks the border, Shaylee wanted to eat lunch in El Salvador, Kessler wanted to eat lunch in Honduras, Kim ate lunch in both counties and I paced all over the place all over the top. We completed the round trip on summit day in six hours. It was a steep eight miles round trip, but Shaylee was on a mission to prove that she is as tough as her brother.
Montaña del Celaque-December 24-26 2008This was the big climb of our trip. Shaylee, Kessler, Kimberly and I spent Christmas climbing in the Montaña del Celaque National Park. Shaylee and Kimberly did not make it to the summits, but did climb to Campamento Don Tomas (where we spent two nights camping), quite a good accomplishment for four year old Shaylee. It was a rugged climb, but Kessler and I climbed three summits in Celaque including Cerro Las Minas, the highest mountain in Honduras.
After several long and bumpy bus rides the day before, we woke up at 5 AM in order to catch a ride to the trailhead by 5:30 AM. We started up the mountain at 6:30 AM. It was a pretty steep climb with many tricky stream crossings, but overall it wasn’t too bad and we made it to Campamento Don Tomas by 3 PM.
Late evening I saw and owl and spider monkey, but the kids missed the monkey.
The people of Gracias must really know how to party because all night we kept thinking that someone was hiking up the trail with a boom box. It was actually the party going down in the city far below and quite a long ways away! This went on until about 4 am.
Shaylee decided that she didn’t want to try for the summit, so Kim and Shaylee stayed in camp while Kessler and I went off to climb the mountain (8 AM). There were some steep and challenging climbs over roots and rocks and some climbing though a misty and mysterious cloud forest. There were some weird plants such as moss several feet high and long cactus vines hanging down from very tall trees. Kessler and I made the true summit before having lunch (there were two other summits that we climbed as well). After lunch we returned back down the mountain and were back by 3:30 PM.
Later that evening the owl returned and landed above the tent and I again photographed it.
Today we were to descend the mountain, but we took a more challenging route down. We took a wrong turn and had to backtrack for 1.5 hours. After getting back on track we made the descent down the mountain in four hours, but we had to walk much of the road back to Gracias before finding a ride.
The climb of Montaña del Celaque was a very scenic and exciting trip, but everyone was glad to get back down. It was also special because it was Kessler's 100th mountain that he had climbed.
Cerro Carambola-December 30 2008Shaylee, Kessler, Kimberly and I climbed Cerro Carambola (a.k.a. Carambola Mountain) on the island of Roatan. Cerro Carambola is a small but interesting peak. We completed the loop hike and much of our climb was in the pouring rain, but the trail was not overly slick and the rain isn´t cold at this elevation and latitude. If anything the rain felt pretty good.
Although Cerro Carambola is a small peak, it has nice scenery and many interesting plants and animals.
Pico Bonito December 31 2008-January 1 2009December 31: Pico Bonito (Honduras)
Shaylee, Kessler, Kimberly and I did a really nice hike in the Parque Nacional de Pico Bonito though the thick rainforest. We also rode the zip lines part way down and across the river.
January 1: Cascada El Bujeco (Honduras)
We went to bed early New Year's Eve, but we started the new year with a bang. Kimberly, Kessler, Shaylee and I climbed to the Cascada El Bujeco in the Parque Nacional Pico Bonito.
We took a local guide and crossed the Rio Cangrejal before reaching the climbing trail to the falls. In retrospect the river crossing was hazardous with kids and I wasn’t happy after I found out we could have taken the bridge a few kilometers upriver (apparently the [unethichal] guide thought we would just give up and wouldn’t go all the way to the falls, so wasn't planning on us making it that far). The climbers trail to the falls was a real challenge with the kids, but other than the river crossing was fun. After reaching the falls (quite an accomplishment via the route we took up) we descended by the standard route through on the National Park trail and the bridge across the river. It was a fairly good trail and less rugged than the route we took up.
Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas/Punta Sal-January 3 2009Kimberly, Kessler, Shaylee and I visited the Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas/Punta Sal. Because most of the park is covered by a huge lagoon (Laguna de los Micos) we visited most of the park by boat and walks were confined to shorter hikes along the coast. We ended up seeing many tropical birds and many White Face (Capuchin) Monkeys. This was our last adventure on our trip.
After this is was time to head back to San Pedro Sula and prepare for our journey home. It sure was a fantastic trip!