On my first visit to Ometepe Island, I ran Volcano Maderas. On my second, I climbed Concepcion. Joined together by an Isthmus, they are like two sisters sharing the same past but experiencing different realities. Formed by volcanic activity during the Holocene Epoch, together they shape Ometepe island. Named in the indigenous Nahuatl language, Ome and Tepetli means two mountains. One is taller at 1610 m and perfectly round, perfectly cone shaped. The other is smaller at 1394 m and more organic. The two sisters sit side by side mirroring each other, competing for popularity and at the same time balancing. One is cooler and calmer and more grounded, more fresh, the other is hot and proud, more exposed and tempestuous. They are black and white, dark and light, yin and yang, masculine and feminine.
Maderas is jungle wet, jungle roots and swinging vines. Peekaboo views and rolling trails. Tree trunk bridges and blockades. Mud slicks and soft descents. Obstacle crossings. Shade and puddles. Protected petroglyphs. Stop and rest and breathe in humid jungle. Cool mists weaving through fincas of banana trees. An encompassing caldera with a warm lake. Butterflies and cows in fields. Lift leg high steps over enormous webs of tree bases. Holding mother earth in.
Concepcion is steep and rocks climbing terrain grab and pull stepping light and quick footed. Weight leaning forward, don’t look down. Rocky crevices carved into dark wet dirt walls, capuchin monkeys peeking and bouncing on limbs. Encroaching jungle scratchy giant leafs of Nicaraguan geraniums. Noxious fumes, growth dying back, revealing hot gravel and fissures fuming. No firm footing. Mist and smoke and sulfur smelling, gurgling and bubbling noises spewing from below. Tired leg careful placing descending.
The clouds know no differences, they smother, and wrap around them equally. At night the two sisters rise like shadows in the sky blanketed by shifting flowing shapes. Backlit with colors of the setting sun. They gently hold the island inhabitants like a cupped hand from fingertips to wrist. In the morning, they will be there waiting, living, breathing, ever changing. Mirroring, complementing, competing. Challenging and calling, me, no me, no. Me.
**Note: It was cloudy and gaseous on top of Volcano Concepcion when I climbed. Views of Volcano Mombacho towards Granada were not to be found. Upon my decent 4 hours later, the mountain was clear.