Friday, July 29, 2016

Climbing the Cosigüina Volcano with guide Marvin Meléndez

A couple of weeks ago, we took Sunday off and climbed Cosigüina, the westernmost volcano of the Maribio chain. Forming the end of long peninsula that juts out into the Pacific, it creates a looming headland that guards the entrance to the grand Bay of Chorotega. It's a large, complex shield volcano capped with a  low stratocone.

In 1835, Cosigüina exploded. According to Briffa et al. (1998), the volcanic explosivity index of the eruption was 5, making it one of the most powerful in recorded history. The violence of the eruption demolished part of the cone and changed the contour of the mountain forever. Today the cone is lower, about 900 m, and it encircles a deep crater over a kilometer across which harbors a beautiful lake.

Some friends introduced us to a great guide, Marvin Meléndez. He is director of rescue operations for the municipality. He said that when people get lost on the mountain, they call him, so why not cut out the middleman? He was a very genial companion as well as a very professional guide who put safety first. He knows every inch of the mountain and is very experienced. I recommend him highly. His number is 8775-5594. Don't climb Cosigüina without a guide. Every year, people get lost on the mountain, and sometimes they die, usually from dehydration. If you go, bring much more water than you think you'll  need, and then throw some Gatorade in your backpack.

It's a lovely climb, steep towards the end. The young and sprightly will enjoy it. Those who, like me, are older and more sluggish, will struggle, but the end is worth the effort. The view is spectacular. Even from the eastern rim of the crater, you can see west across the mouth of the Bay to El Salvador, where the volcano Conchagua  stands watch upon the other headland.  You can see the Honduras across the Bay to the north.

Looking back toward Nicaragua, you can see the whole length of the Peninsula of Cosigüina lying as a road leading back to El Viejo and Chinandega. You can see from the Bay and the magestic Estero Real to the Pacific on the other side.

It's very beautiful.

Cosigüina crater lake

The Estero Real from the rim of Cosigüina

The Estero Real to the left and the Pacific to the right.

The Gulf of Chorotega

Marvin Meléndez

Reference cited

Briffa, K. R., P. D. Jones, F. H. Schweingruber, and T. J. Osborn (1998). Influence of volcanic eruptions on Northern Hemisphere summer temperature over the past 600 years. Nature 393:450-455.

No comments:

Post a Comment