Shortly after having my hernia surgery in November, I asked my surgeon (Dr. Decker) if I could climb a volcano.  He kinda laughed and said, "Well, you may wanna practice.  I'd hate for you to get halfway up and realize it was a really bad idea!"  Hey, Doc!  I didn't spend 8 months of the year doing incline training on the treadmill for nothing.  I didn't have three holes poked in my lower abdomen and risk losing body parts to sit around the house all Christmas!  See, I knew I was headed to St. Kitts during my annual December cruise and that I was going to tackle Mt. Liamuiga, the island's beautiful, but daunting volcano.  And I did it!  And I have the photos (and the inhaler) to prove it.

Look at this!  This is what Mt. Liamuiga looks like from the ground.

Paging Iron Lung. Paging Iron Lung!

This is what it looks like from the top!  And that sweaty beast in the picture is what I looked like after spending 2 and half hours climbing the thing.  I was ripe!  I may have been glowing, but I really smelled.  If a wild dog had been there, he would have rolled on me.

Someone, anyone! Toss me some Right Guard! I'm scaring the birds away.

Is that not gorgeous?  Not me, silly.  Though I do look pretty sexy sleeveless and wet.  The view.  LOL!  That's the view we had looking to the outside of the volcano.  This is what it looks like inside it . . .

Mt. Liamuiga is an active volcano, but hasn't erupted in over 500 years. So, basically, this is a photo of me playing the odds.

Now, I must tell you.  The views were spectacular atop the volcano, but they were also spectacular on the way up.  At times, my heart was beating about 375 times per minute and it was hard to hold my Kodak EZ Share still, but I managed a few good shots.  Check this out.

I wanted to pull a Tarzan SO BAD!!!  At times, we were actually making our way up the volcano by using the root systems of trees as stairs.  See . . .

At times, I swear, I felt like that kid in "The Jungle Book." Of course, the other tour guests were glad I wasn't walking around in a loin cloth. That would have been an eye full.

The guy in the photo is Al, who was our guide up the volcano. Al was great.  He told us that his father is actually the "King" of Mt. Liamuiga, having made the most trips to the top than anyone else in St. Kitts.  Of course, if his dad is the king, that makes Al the prince.  And I called him that all day long.  Prince!  Oh, Prince!  Sing "Little Red Corvette" for us, Prince!  I'm not sure if he thought it was funny or if he wanted to push me off a cliff.  LOL!

Al was very knowledgeable about the volcano, the rain forest and its residents.  We came across this . . .

I'm guessing walking in that would be a mistake???

I was delighted to learn that the forest was full of monkeys.  In case ya'll haven't noticed, I am basically the missing link.

The Rise of the Planet of the Ape!

I realize that I look dead-up like a chimp and, if I liked eating bananas, I could just convert and be a gorilla in the mist.  So, when Al told us they lived in abundance on St. Kitts, I was really excited about seeing monkeys on the way up Mt. Liamuiga.  But, I didn't see any and that contraption in the photo above is likely why.  It's a monkey trap.

The areas at the base of the volcano are leased by the government to farmers, who grow a variety of fruits and vegetables.  The monkeys like to eat those fruits and vegetables.  So, guess what that means.  Yep!  Winner winner monkey dinner.  The farmers set traps to catch the monkeys and, as Al explained, two things can happen.  #1-  They'll be kept as pets.  #2-  They'll become soup.  At this point in the conversation, the Sarah McLachlan song started playing in my head and I emotionally went to a safe place.  Given the fact that I resemble the simians, I suddenly saw myself simmering in a stew pot with a plantain in my mouth.  Moving on . . . to this!

Excuse me. Are we in "The Hobbit?"

A lot of the trip up the volcano featured very narrow and natural corridors like this.  Like I said, the climb was daunting and exhausting.  But, it was spectacular in every single sense.  I knew going in that climbing Mt. Liamuiga was going to be a challenge.  One Trip Advisor contributor wrote about the climb, "Not for the faint of heart."  And that was no joke.

But as rapidly as my heart was beating during the climb, it completely stopped when we got to the top.  The view was glorious!  And, as many times as the prince has climbed to the top, he still appreciates it too.  For me, this is the coolest photo I took from the journey.

One slip away from an extreme episode of "Wipeout"

There's Al, who's climbed that volcano more times than he can count, sitting at the top of it, looking out, exploring the wonder, admiring the beauty and reclaiming his place as the Prince of Mt. Liamuiga.

This climb was one of the coolest things I have ever done.  My friends Craig and Lori and I huffed and puffed.  At times we felt like extras in "The Little Engine that Could."  But we did it.  And Al was there every step of the way to guide us along.  He knew that what awaited us at the top would remain with us forever.

The mountain climber on The Price is Right has nothing on this crew!

If you ever travel to St.Kitts, I cannot encourage you enough to climb Mt. Liamuiga with Poinciana Tours.  It will simply take your breath away . . . twice.  LOL!  Up the hill, then at the top of the hill. To check out the Poinciana Tours website, CLICK HERE!

And tell the Prince I said "Hey!"  Then ask him to sing "Little Red Corvette."  :)