Okay, you guys this is such an exhilarating experience. If the idea of flying down an active volcano at 30mph doesn’t get your heart pumping I don’t know what will. I’ve been snowboarding down some seriously steep slopes and I’m the reigning champ of my neighborhood sledding races, but nothing can compare to
sliding shooting down Cerro Negro.
Picture this: You arrive to the historical city of Leon, Nicaragua. It’s hip and happening and full of delicious food markets. You spend a few days taking in the sights, but cabin fever kicks into high gear and your adventure meter is dangerously low. So you do what anyone would do. You sign up across the street to fling your delicate body down a volcano. Next thing you know you are hopping into a truck that looks straight out of Jurassic Park (after a T-Rex stomped on it), and heading out of the comfort of the city. The bumpy one-way dirt road is just a sampler of the jolting your bones are about to take. And you can’t wipe that silly grin off your face.
Once you arrive to the base of the volcano you are given a backpack full of safety gear and the “sled”, which will soon be the only thing between your precious booty and the porous volcanic rock. You swing the pack onto your back and slide your sled in sideways and start the journey up the side of the volcano. Now, as I mentioned, this is an active magma spewing and brewing volcano so it’s hot. Real hot. The hike is pretty steep but short, so you make it to the top in no time. You take a few pictures, because your Instagram followers have got to see the view!
Then the real adventure begins. You transform from presentable backpackers to mad scientists in the matter of seconds as you robe up in the provided “safety” garb. Complete with canvas onesies, lab goggles, chemical mitts and a bandana. You look like a real badass, let’s be honest. Your guide shows you where you are going to start and points at the bottom to show you where to aim. As if you can really aim… then she runs down the hill to take pictures. She’s gone just like that and you really have no idea what you are doing. You have no idea that you will be breaking sound barriers as you scream down the face of this massive volcano. You aren’t warned of the extremely abrupt catapulting stop at the bottom. And you definitely aren’t briefed on how much adrenaline is about to be pumping through your veins.
Basically you sit down on the rickety little sled and give yourself a gentle boost. Then it’s all a blur. You try to steer with your feet but rocks are flying everywhere and your giggling is making it hard to breath. As you pick up speed you start to think about how the hell you are going to slow this thing down. The guides are clocking you in at 35mph, but it feels like 100mph as you cheeks flap in the wind. Then you see it, a nice little mound of loose volcanic gravel. It’s sure to slow you down gradually and peacefully. You are wrong. Terribly wrong. You hit that mound with the force and fury of a tidal wave and all of the sudden you are head over heals and airborne. You hit the ground with a thud, rocks flying everywhere, including your ear canals and you briefly regret not reading the safety waiver before signing. Then, after finding the breath you just lost you laugh uncontrollably and lift your arms with pride when hear your speed. After exchanging a few “dude did you see how much air I got?!” and “bro that was sickkkk” phrases, you regain your composure and do it all over again.
Here’s a little video of what your ride might look like: (This is a very gentle crash)