Paricutin meaning “to cross” in the language of Purépecha.
My guide told me that there used to be a town with a bridge crossing a river where today is the volcano. The bridge and the town were called Paricutin and therefore the volcano shares the same name. Paricutin is the youngest volcano (1943) in the world and, according to CNN, one of the seven natural wonders.
10 am: I am on my way to Angahuan
I am sitting on a bus, heading for the volcano. The sky is clear and the landscape is remarkably forested. I feel like being in Endor, a planet of the Star Wars universe, but the bus driver plays Mexican folk music to remind me where I am.
I am very curious about how this day is going to evolve. Last night, when it was raining, I was worried. Paricutin is a two-hour horse ride away from Angahuan. My worst fear is that I will not see the volcano and that a sudden rainfall will drench me.
2 pm: I did it!
I am sitting at the edge of the crater and I feel relieved. Clouds surround me and I can hear nearby thunder. From up here I can see lava fields and the surrounding countryside. The landscape seems untouched by modern civilization and everything is darkly lit by a stormy sky. The beauty of the landscape amazes me, all the shades of green and blue are united here to create this incredible view. My guide is very excited about the fumaroles, which are visible today. They create vapor by reacting with the humidity of the air and hot steams blow around the edge of the crater. I have to stop writing now and go to the other side. Apparently, there is a sandy slope waiting for us to slide down…
We are reunited with our horses. Going up took one hour, going around another and the way down only took 5 minutes. I have just been sliding down a steep, sandy volcanic slope and my blood is full of adrenalin. I feel like waking up from a dream… the magic slowly fading away.
Last stop. I am sitting on a lava rock, looking at the ruins of an old church. The church towers are the only things left from the village of San Juan Parangaricutiro, which used to be here before the eruption. In the distance, the thunder has started again, while I am marveling at the panorama. I can see the church, the lava field and Paricutin in the background. I am grateful for this day and the experience I just had. Yesterday I felt low and I was questioning myself. Now, not even 24 hours later, I am totally amazed by the beauty of our world and the divine creation. How fortunate were we not to have been in the middle of a thunderstorm? Maybe we had a little guidance from above? All I know is that this is the perfect time and place to thank the Lord for being alive and for this marvelous experience.
To get to Uruapan I took a bus from Guadalajara. There I stayed at the “Casa Chikita”, which I highly recommend. To get to Paricutin, I took an early morning bus to Angahuan. At the bus stop, there are guides waiting for customers and they will happily arrange everything you need.