Friday, April 25, 2008

San Andreas Downhill Run

Hey there fellers! Here's another quick video of the other days downhill run at Lake Atitlan. Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trail of the Quetzal

Trail of the Quetzal
We just rolled back in from one of our newest trips, a 4 day walk across the Sierra de las Minas. This is a full on off the beaten track kind of trip. Not many travelers make it this far back into the Guatemalan wilds. The Sierra de Las Minas is Guatemala's most progressively protected national park. Administered by the Defensores de la naturaleza the park is Central America's crown jewel celebrating the largest intact track of pristine cloud forest in the area.
After just a few minutes on the trail leaving civilization behind you enter into a lush green world full of amazing bird and wildlife biodiversity. The walking is pretty hard going but the pay off is well worth the effort. The Sierra de Las Minas is a nature lovers ground zero.
There is no where else in Guatemala that you can walk for days on end and not see or hear another human being. We chased Tapir trails and jaguar tracks through rivers and across the lush sierra. While on the top of the ridge in the Core area or "zona nucleo" we saw 5 quetzales, and I'm not talking about the local currency. I'm talking about the elusive bird that everyone comes to Guatemala to see but never does.
This is the real deal. Come check it out. Places this amazing dont stay hidden forever. Get here and see it before the word gets out.
Get in touch with us so we can get you on the next trip.

Adios -

Monday, April 14, 2008

Bird's Eye View

So this is what its like to wake up at 13,000ft, and poke your head out of your tent on Volcan de Acatenango. You can see across the valley pacaya Volcano is smoking away, and last night we saw lava spouts shooting out from the cone. Pretty amazing to be that high up and have your very own firework show.

Acatenango is the countries 3rd largest volcano and let me tell ya, it definitely ain't for the under achievers of the world or the weak hearted. This is a full on kick ya in the arse kind of walk. Now having said that it is very worth doing. It shares a saddle with Fuego Volcano that with a bit of luck will make you shake in your britches. Its only a km or so away but it feels as if its just right there. That was the view right at sunset before all the action started.

Its about a 5 hour walk up to the top of the volcano, but luckily for us our porters carried our gear

and headed down to the "double secret" campsite nesteld in the pines. After an amazing dinner by the Old Town Crew, we settled in to watch Fuego do its thing. If you've never had the chance to see an active volcano blow its top, this should be high on that life list of thigs to do. Give us a bell at the shop or drop us a line and we'll get you out on the next Acatenango fuego doubel header.
See ya on the trail

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Caving Lanquin, Guatemala

During the Semana Santa holiday, I jumped on one of our premiere trips, a caving trip to Lanquin. I wanted to learn the trip and get away from the Antigua crowds. Personally I haven’t caved since I was a kid and we visited some volcanic caves in Idaho. Let me tell you the Lanquin and Can’Ba caves north of Coban in Lanquin are a different story entirely. Humid, muddy, wet and full of bats!

For our second day of the trip we visited the Lanquin caves. In the morning Juan and I gave the rest of the group a lesson in Rappelling. This group requested the fullest caving adventure possible so we broke out the rope and harnesses. After our lesson we headed off to the Lanquin caves. The outer caverns are well traveled and well lit so we cruised past the crowded part and headed into the dark where we set up our rappelling anchors and proceeded to drop into the darkness well away from the disturbing sounds and lights of the surface world.

In the inner caves we did a fair bit of exploration and saw some things Juan had never seen before. His new extra bright light was eye opening, so to speak. After 5 hours in the dark depths we finally surfaced and made our way down to the Lanquin river to rinse off and float back to El Retiro. Natalie and Juan revisited childhood with a game of ring toss with inner-tubes in the parking lot. The local kids loved it! It was a little late, thanks to our long hours in the cave, but we floated up to El Retiro just in time to grab a warm shower before dinner and then settle in to a chair with a beer in hand.

For the third day we headed to Semuc Champey. Pretty amazing is all I have to say. One river flowing under the other seems simply uncanny, much less, to swim in one and look down at the other raging river disappearing underneath. Following our Swim we headed to the water caves called Can’ Ba. Juan calls it the Goonies Cave, because there’s a natural water slide and lots of cool features. My wife and Lauren even collected a bunch of clay to make pottery with. We’ll be seeing the results in a week or two. No photos of this cave though because we used a disposable in the water cave and didn’t get digital versions. It was however a stellar topper to the trip and we all enjoyed every minute of it. The only regret I have was getting in the car for the long ride home. I think I could spend a week or two just relaxing and floating rivers in the Lanquin area.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Night owls

I guess this is what happens for those of us at old Town Outfitters when we cant sleep at night, some pace back and forth, others hit the bars, for us it was a trip out on the mountain bike, not important that most people with any sense have laid their bikes to rest many hours ago. Luisa and I climbed up to our favorite day training ride to see what it would be like at night. To our surprise, and most everyone else's we came across, it was equally as amazing to us as it was to everyone we passed. Although to be fair, we probaly had more candle power on our helmets than most have in there homes, enough to freeze a deer, thats is of course if there were anymore left around here. Hope you guys had as nice a night as we did!



Rio Lanquin

Hey check it out, I'm in process of sharpening my skills on the river. Who knows maybe this will turn into another great direction for us at Old Town Outfitters. We are hoping to partner up with the lads out in lanquin Alta verapaz to start running some river trips this summer. With a little luck, I'll be able to run as a support kayaker on the trips.

This particular shot is from the ledge drop rapid on the Rio Lanquin. I swam this one the first time around and was able to nail it the second go around.

The Rio Lanquin meets up with the Rio Cahabon just down river from here and thats where the real fun starts. We're starting to run logistics supporting multiday river running expeditions, so if youre a padler let us know and we'll get you out on the river.
Talk to ya soon,

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Hangin' Out

We rolled down to Escuintla this morning to get some time on the rock. The climbing is pretty stellar, all sport routes about 5.10 but with amazing exposure. Enough so to make your backside pucker just a bit. This route is a spire seemingly precariously perched atop another mass of rock. Toppng out you have huge views back up to the Antigua Altiplano. In the fotos you can see Volcan de Agua in the distance and the sugarcane plantations of the pacific coast. After a few hours down in tropic sun, it was definitely time for a soak and a cold beverage.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

River Tracing!

Check it out! In an effort to continue searching out the fresh....we just got back from a weekend trip canyoneering Guatemala's upper Coyolate River. It was a pioneer trip creek walking with a couple rappels mixed in to keep things ineresting. I can assure you we were the first gringos to see the folds and canyons this river has to offer. A 4 hour 4x4 truck ride got us up to the head waters of the river and then a 7 hour slosh through her canyons dropped us by the road side just in time for a cold beer. This canyon is only passable during the driest of the months so we'll have to wait another year to get back in here. This will soon become one of our seasonal favorites for those who like to get as far back into the backcountry as possible. This one even surprised us!