Volcano Boarding: A New Extreme Sport at Cerro Negro
Sledding down the side of a volcano sounds crazy but it was so much fun! Volcano boarding is an extreme sport unique to Cerro Negro in Nicaragua. Basically you rent a suit and a toboggan, hike up to the top of the volcano, and sled down. It was pretty nerve wracking, but ultimately it was a great experience that I'm glad I got an opportunity to try it.
The hike up Cerro Negro was short and sweet. This volcano is very dark in color and we were exposed for nearly the whole time. The footing was not great with lots of loose scree. With every step my foot sunk into the small pebbles and kicked pebbles down the side of the volcano. That being said, the hike all in all was only a mile, about thirty minutes, to the summit. The last half of the hike was on the somewhat narrow edge of the crater with great views down into the center. Once we reached the top the views of Leon and the volanic range were amazing. I could see over to Telica where I was a few days before. The ground beneath our feet was hot from the volcanic energy, and the hardened volcanic rock below looked like a black ocean flowing beneath us.
The wind was screaming in my ear and threatening to blow us over, so after a few quick pictures we made our way to the area where we would be going down the volcano. The rest of the group had decided to walk down the loose, pebbly face. I was the only one who wanted to sled down and I'm so glad I did.
When I saw the cliff that I would be sledding off of my stomach dropped. I didn't realize I would be sledding straight off what looked like a sheer drop with no end in sight. After dawning my denim onesie, I cautiously put the toboggan down on the rocky surface and sat gingerly. The size of the rocks varied, but most of them were about as big as a gumball. After a little encouragement from the group, I kicked off and started down the volcano. I started out slow but after a few adjustments I was flying down the slope. It was exhilarating, terrifying, and freeing all at the same time. At any given point I couldn't see the bottom and I knew that falling off my sled would spell disaster.
Luckily, everything went well and volcano boarding ended up being a really fun, unique experience. It reminded me of winter hiking and sledding down from the summit. It was really scary to begin with, but once I got the hang of it I forgot all about my fears and had a great time! It was so much fun!
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