Volcano Boarding at Cerro Negro, Nicaragua
Would you strap a plywood board to your ass and hurtle down an active volcano at breakneck speed?
When I found out that volcano boarding was a ‘thing’ here in Nicaragua I just knew that my adrenalin addicted self was going to HAVE to do it!
Cerro Negro is just one volcano in a whole string of them here in Central America. It’s not hard to imagine the ‘Ring of Fire’ being active in this region as you can see the volcano cones lined up across the otherwise flat landscape. Cerro Negro hasn’t erupted since 1999 but that doesn’t mean it’s dormant and signs such as these warning of eruption risk quickly bring the danger home.
The bus dropped us off near the top and left us to hike the last 45 minutes to the top. That’s Cerro Negro (Black Hill) in the background. It is such a young volcano that is has nary a life form clinging to it.
We hiked with our boards up through the rocky beginning.
Until it flattened out a bit into a well worn path.
Steadily up and up, battling the increasing wind that threatened to make a kite of my board and take me with it!
The last frontier; up on the ledge with the crater on one side and a quick ride to the bottom on the other.
The crater isn’t currently active. Little more than a couple of steam vents and some sulphur stained rocks. Still impressive, though, don’t get me wrong.
My first look at the run we’re to go down. It was a wee bit steeper than it looked from the bottom – in fact I couldn’t see the bottom of the run from the top. A few butterflies took up residence in my gut.
Suited up and ready to go. Safety first, right? Zoot suit, elbow and knee pads, and goggles; that should take care of any impending doom.
Here I come…
Honestly, I wish I had gone faster but it goes by so quickly that by the time I had it figured out, it was over. A tip for those who are thinking of going…pull up on the rope, use your feet just to guide you, and let it go…you’ll be at the bottom before you know it!
What a hoot! I wore this smile for days afterward!
One more tip. Use the sled, not the sandboarding option. Those who opted to stand and go down ended up slow and frustrated; it’s not at all like snowboarding and didn’t look like fun at all!