May 17, 2008

Butler Volleyball In Nicaragua

May 17, 2008

Butler middle blocker Melody Austin documents the Bulldog volleyball team's sixth day in Nicaragua.

Today we got a really early start on Omotepe Island. We had breakfast around six in the morning and grabbed some sandwiches and water for the climb up the dormant volcano Maderas.

We were really excited for the hike, because we didn´t know what to expect. The first hour of the climb wasn´t very tedious. Our guide Douglas pointed out landmarks along the way. We saw a family of Howler Monkeys, some petroglyphs, and the native tree of Nicaragua, Guanacaste.

It took us about two hours to finish a fifth of the climb to the top. As we went farther the climb got more difficult, but the scenery´s beauty grew more and more. We took a rest half way up and ate sandwiches while we gazed at the beautiful view. It was amazing to see how far up we were!

Douglas gave us a little more of the history of Volcano Maderas as we continued the climb. The other volcano on the island is called Volcano Conception. Five years ago he said Conception erupted and caused a level 5 earthquake on Maderas, and that´s the last recent activity to happen on Maderas.

As the hike went on I asked Douglas about his life on Ometepe, and how long he had been guiding people up and down the mountain. He told me he comes from a very large family, but none of them live on Ometepe.

He does enjoy the island life and being a guide. He´s been doing it for eight years and guides people up the mountain at least twice a week. I couldn´t believe it when he told me that he runs to the top sometimes on his own. Normally it takes people around 10 hours to go to the top and come back down. When he runs the volcano it takes him an hour to the top, and another hour back down!

It was interesting to hear about island life from someone who lived there all the time and we really enjoyed the opportunity to learn a little more about the culture.

The team reached the top of Volcano Maderas at 11:09. We went continued on the trail about 20 more minutes to a lagoon formed in a crater of the volcano. Douglas warned us not to get to close to the water, because you can sink in the sand surrounding it.

We finished the rest of our sandwiches in the grass of the crater, and took a little break before heading back down. It only took us three hours to get back to the bottom of the volcano, and I have to say that the journey down was more interesting than the journey up Maderas.

Yes it was easier, and took less time than getting to the top, but it was more than that. On the way down I was able to take in the serenity and beauty of where I was. I thought it was beautiful on the way up, but on the way down I noticed how much I really missed. It finally hit us that we had accomplished something together that we never would have done on our own.

The climb really made me think about the season and how we work so hard together to accomplish something that we just can´t do by ourselves. It also hit us that four years isn´t along time, and we really want to take time to enjoy the trip as well as the up coming season. Maderas taught us to work hard through team work to reach our goals of the Horizon League championship, but it also taught us to enjoy the journey to get there.

After we got back to our hotel we took showers, and had a well deserved dinner. We slept well on our last night on Ometepe Island in preparation for the next day in San Juan Del Sur.

Go Dawgs!! Bark!! Bark!!