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The Toasty Mallows

Kyle Sundman
Central America
kyle sundman the toasty mallows

To be totally honest, it is not weird for my feet to sweat. Or any part of me, really. I prefer snow over sand, and sleep best with a fan on my face full blast. Consequently, Central America in the summer has been about 20 degrees above comfortable for me since I landed.

But this kind of foot sweat was different. I was hiking outside Antigua, Guatemala, distracted by the dramatic landscape and ignoring my warmth-induced discomfort as usual, when I finally stopped for water and fully appreciated that I was about to have a healthy serving of holiday mini sausages where my toes used to be. Quickly, it dawned on me that the heat was coming from the rocks beneath my feet. Some pockets of rock were even smoking. Several locals had warned me this was possible - in an active volcano like the one I was hiking, lava can run beneath the volcanic rock, sometimes heating it so much you could use it to cook.

No wonder my feet were feeling like the inside of a beef empanada.

I was fascinated, but suddenly uneasy about the true activeness of this volcano. When did they say it was expected to erupt? It seemed silly. Was I really worried this ancient volcano was going to erupt the one day I was out there stomping around? Yeah right. I had a better chance of being attacked by a three-toed sloth. But still, the fact remained: hot molten lava was currently flowing deep under my feet. I couldn’t help it…I was a touch uneasy. (If you’re a lady reading this: I wasn’t scared at all. It’s just Hollywood, babe. Creative liberties make a better story.) I may have even turned back had I not noticed a group of men sitting about 50 yards ahead of me, waving. I hurried towards them.

The men were locals, friendly as nearly all Guatemalans are, and laughed when I casually brought up my very real concern for an impending eruption. “Thank God not today, maybe tomorrow is not so lucky!” one of them joked, clapping me on the shoulder. He offered me a small stick with a fat marshmallow stuck on the end and made room for me to join the circle around a particularly smoldering group of lava rock. “You’re killin’ me, Smalls,” I said, laughing. About 2 seconds later I remembered that I was on a Volcano in the middle-of-nowhere-Guatemala and perhaps The Sandlot hadn’t achieved cult classic status here just yet. Or maybe its because I said it in English. Whatever, semantics.

My feet have cooled down considerably since then, though they do still sweat from time to time between the dense rain forests, volcano-boarding, zip-lining, colorful chicken buses, and pungent meat markets that make up the incredible region of Central America.

kyle sundman the toasty mallows
kyle sundman the toasty mallows
kyle sundman the toasty mallows

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